Studying at public universities in Germany is free . However, although Germany is one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe, you will need between 400 and 800 euros per month (depending on the city) to lead a fairly comfortable life. So here are five ways to support yourself during your studies in Germany .
1. Minijob In the Private Sector
The minijobs shops, bars and restaurants are popular among students in Germany. They offer up to 450 euros for part-time jobs with schedules compatible with student life (there are people who work three hours a day, or only on weekends), so they are an option to consider to finance your studies.
The downside is that they are sometimes relatively physical or energy-intensive jobs . Finding the time and willingness to study after hauling boxes or serving annoying customers can be challenging.
2. Work At the University
The university usually offers part-time jobs for students that are quite well paid (about 10 or 12 euros per hour). There are vacancies to monitor libraries, to organize activities and events, to administer the university’s website, to act as a guide on trips organized by the university, to teach language courses, to teach undergraduate and graduate classes such as «Teaching Assistant », to investigate in the teachers’ departments, for purely administrative jobs, etc.
Find out on the website of your university to obtain a complete list of the possibilities that you would have. On top of that, it never hurts to talk to your teachers to see what vacancies there may be. There are often no online advertisements for these types of jobs and teachers are often very helpful.
3. Werk Student
I do not think there is a word in Spanish that reflects this concept (if you know it, I will appreciate it in the comments). Basically it is about signing a contract with a company where you work part-time ( maximum 20 hours a week ) in activities related to your studies . You usually earn more than a minijob and it also gives you relevant work experience and the opportunity to stay with the company afterwards. They are kind of part-time internships.
I take this opportunity to make a point about the practices. Normally, internships in Germany are not paid if they are carried out for a period shorter than three months or if they are mandatory for your studies. Working as a Werkstudent gives you the option of financing your studies at the same time that you gain experience, which is not always guaranteed with internships.
4. Scholarships From Public, Political or Religious Organizations
There are a huge number of scholarships to study in Germany , this page allows you to search for the one that best fits your criteria. I have put the link in English for people who do not speak German, although I recommend having notions of the language if you are going to apply for one of those scholarships.
Some scholarships are offered by the German government (like the famous Deutschlandstipendium ), others are organized by trade unions , by political parties , by religious groups , by private foundations , and a long etcetera.
The lucky ones who receive the scholarships are entitled to a monthly amount of money (this amount differs from one scholarship to another), as well as the obligation to attend seminars with the other scholarship recipients of the organization during the year. Generally, the scholarship lasts the same as your studies, on the condition that you pass X number of credits each course). These conditions may differ from one scholarship to another.
As advice, I would say that you inform yourself about the philosophy of the organizations before requesting a scholarship and that you limit yourself to requesting funds from those organizations with which you most identify. First, because the selection process includes an interview and you’re going to have a hard time pretending to believe in something you don’t believe in (and surely you won’t be able to convince any interviewer). Second, because the seminars that you are going to have to attend will have an approach in accordance with the ideology of the foundation.
This is a monthly aid for German government students that will cover most of your expenses (if not all) during your studies and that you will then have to pay back when you start working . It is more affordable than a loan because it has no interest and you only pay a part of what the state has given you (the maximum amount to be returned is € 10,000). Also, you choose when you start paying back the money.
However, to apply for these funds you have to have resided in Germany for at least 5 years