As an intern, you have the opportunity to gain your first experience in professional life. You're given small projects and are supervised by an employee at the company. Vacancies are placed on internship exchanges online or can be found at international student organizations. An internship is a "short-term job". As a student, it can give you a consequence of what professional life is like. Not only can you gain work experience and finally apply the logical knowledge you've gained during your studies, but you also have the opportunity to become recognizable with the company structure and make professional contacts. You can complete an internship at a company or an organization. It can last between a few weeks and several months. Most internships are not well-paid, if at all.


As an intern, you're given small projects and are supervised by an employee at the company. German companies expect interns to complete small tasks on their own and provide suggestions and ideas. But be careful - although a healthy measure of self-confidence is a good thing, Censure the way your co-workers do their work on your first day isn't! "Only express censure once you've learned the ropes and above all, are familiar with the company ranking," recommends Maria-Theresia Jansen from the Federal Employment Agency in Bonn. She adds that interns should "feel free to ask questions, be observant, but don't be assertive!" "Take some time to get to know the company culture and pay attention how certain things are done," she advises. And most importantly, find out who is answerable for what. This can help you later on when perusing the job considers to understand what a "Systems Engineer for Electric Vehicles" is in charge of and what a "Project Manager with Component Responsibility" does all day.


Most small and medium-sized German companies demands interns to know at least a little German, as it fosters communication between co-workers and customers. At large international companies, the office staff frequently speak English with one another. It's not necessary to know German.

Many companies post internship offers on their websites. Vacancies are also posted on internship exchanges online. The job exchange at the Federal Employment Agency is another good place to look. You can also find internship offers at your university's Career Service, the International Office and at international student organizations, such as AIESEC, ELSA and IAESTE. If you don't find an offer that matches your interests, you can take the initiative and apply directly to a company.


For example, if you study at a German university, you are only allowed to work 120 full days a year without preceding approval from the immigrant Registration Office and the Federal Employment Agency. However, the 120-day rule doesn't apply if an internship is a compulsory requirement of your degree programme. And different rules apply for students at foreign universities. In some cases, you require confirmation from several authorities - which is why you should plan early for an internship.



There are many possibilities to earn money during your studies. You can find job ads on the "Schwarz's Brett" (notice board) on campus or on your university's website. Knowing German can slightly increase your chances of finding a part-time job. Make sure to observe with the legal regulations specifying how much you're allowed to work. An ideal way to improve your studies is to take a job at an institute, library or other facility at your university. Waiting on tables in cafes and pubs is a common student job. Other students guide visitors at trade fairs, work as delivery drivers or cycle couriers, or take on odd jobs cleaning, babysitting, working in copy shops, etc. Your chances at finding a job will increase automatically if you know how to speak German.

As you begin looking for a job, check out the "Schwarze Bretter" which are large notice boards with lots of information, centrally located at the university, libraries or supermarkets. There are job-finding services for students at many universities as well. For more instruction, contact your Studentenwerk or the Federal Employment Agency in your city. How much you earn in a part-time job largely rely up on your preceding knowledge, the region and the branch, in which you'd like to work. In larger, more expensive cities like Munich, Hamburg or Cologne, you can earn more money, but you also have to pay extra for rent and food. While cashiers in the supermarket or at fast-food restaurants earn around six Euros per hour, you can make up to ten Euros per hour working in an office or as promoter. Whatever you decide to do, remember that it's almost impossible to earn your living with a part-time job during your studies!


You are allowed to work 120 full days or 240 half days per year. If you take a job as a student assistant or research assistant at the university, it's generally no problem to exceed the 120-day limit. However, you are obliged to inform the foreign Registration Office if you do. The employment laws related to international students are very demanding. If you disobey them, you could be expelled from the country!


If you complete an internship during the semester break, it's considered "normal" work - even if it's unpaid. Every day of your internship is deducted from your 120-day credit balance. However, an internship is not concerned as regular employment if it is required by your degree programme (mandatory internship).

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