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Living & Working In Europe Growth Centre December 12th, 2017
Living & Working In Europe

Living & Working In Europe

If you want to live, work, or study in the EU for a longer period of time, then you have to bear in mind that there may be legal differences to your home country. Before embarking on your adventure abroad, it would be a good idea to gather some basic idea about the country where you intend to studyin: its climate, culture, lifestyle, job market, opportunities available to students, etc.

Having information related to the pointers given below will help you have an enjoyable time as an international student:

  • The university / institute you will be studying at
  • Academic Offices / International Student Support Cells
  • District Offices/Town halls/Local councils/Registry offices
  • Grants Authorities
  • Student Unions
  • Immigration Authorities
  • Social Assistance Offices
  • Housing Benefits
  • Banks
  • Consulates
  • Job centres
  • Job Advisors
  • Trade Unions/Associations


Living in Germany

Germany is a splendid place where students make up one third of the population. Germany has plenty of cafes, restaurants and entertainment centres, where students get a lot of opportunities to socialize with others and to involve them in community work. Universities offer lots of extracurricular activities that include arts, music, sports and cinema.

Students are never short of things to do. The activities vary largely from trekking and bowling to boat tours and visiting museums. Students are advised to participate in all the events and programs. This kind of participation would give you enough opportunity to interact and make your own social groups.

Housing is not a problem for students if they start searching early for a suitable accommodation. There is the option of university and privately operated dormitories for regular students. For food they can go to college canteens or they can cook themselves. They can facilitate internet access from the hostel where they stay, by paying additional fee or take advantage of the full internet access offered by university computer labs. Internet cafes are also easily available.

Germany has good transportation system. Students can purchase a valid pass to travel by buses, subways and trams. It is worth mentioning that Germany has one of the best transportation systems in the world.

Employment Prospects

Germany is home to various Noble laureates and education, Science and Research being the prime focus of the country, it is a leading choice for a person to grow professionally. The country also boasts of many Fortune 500 companies. With a strong economy and growing infrastructure, there is a constant demand for able professionals.

Employment while studying

According to immigration law, foreign students are authorized to work. The period is limited to 120 days or 240 half days.  This includes the preparatory period during the first year of the stay.

During the semester, the work week must not exceed 20 hours. Exceptions to this may be, if you are working mainly on weekends or in the evening and night hours. It is different in the semester break, during which period, there is no time restriction.

During the term, if work does not exceed 20 hours a week, then there is no social security payment towards state health care insurance, the state nursing care insurance and the state unemployment insurance. However, as soon as the income exceeds € 400 per month, mandatory contributions have to be made to the state pension scheme. The contributions are half paid by the employer and half paid by the employee.

For the assessment of social insurance, it is important that the student is properly registered and enrolled.

Employment Post study

Academics holding an employment contract and earning a minimum of €44,800 (US$59,000) a year (and with some professions, just €35,000 a year) will receive a Blue Card. With this, they can obtain a Permanent Resident’s permit after two to three years. And their next of kin will not require approval by the Federal Labour Agency when taking a job.


Living in France

Whether you come for special preparatory classes, a university technology course, or you are a born chemist or a budding electronics engineer, France is definitely a place to consider.

Many of France’s higher education institutions are located in city centres, close to cultural and social attractions. Museums, bookstores, movie theatres, stages, and cafes are never very far away. Your student ID card makes it easy for you get various discounts and facilities at shops, restaurants, cafés, theatres, cinemas, hairdressers, athletic clubs, etc.

As a student, for daily meals you cannot do better than 450 university restaurants. Prices at the “restau-u” are unbeatable: You get a complete meal for 3. Anyone holding a student card has free access to the entire network of restaurants. Some are open at night and on weekends. If you plan to prepare your meals at home you will find no shortage of specialized food shops, large supermarkets, and open-air markets.

As far as accommodation is concerned, the cost of housing varies widely, but international students, like French students, are also eligible for housing assistance.

Employment Prospects

International students have the right to work while studying in France as long as they are enrolled in an institution that participates in the national student health-care plan. Students who are not nationals of EU member countries must hold a valid residency permit.

The right to work applies to all students, including those who are in France for the first time, those who are enrolled in the first year of a university program, and those who are enrolled full-time in a language school. There are many different kinds of job opportunities in France because of its large economy.

Besides off campus jobs, international students are also eligible for student jobs at universities and other public institutions of higher education. Students are hired to provide the following services: assisting incoming students, helping disabled students, providing tutoring, providing IT support and assistance, coordinating and staffing cultural, athletic, and social events, working in the career centres, and supporting their institution’s promotional efforts.

French is not a required language for all jobs and people do find ones in English, although knowing a little French to get around will be quite helpful for students.

Employment while studying

The law allows students to work 964 hours in a given year, which corresponds to 60% of full-time employment for the year. France has a national minimum hourly wage, known as the SMIC. The SMIC presently stands at € 9.40 gross per hour before mandatory withholding for social benefits (i.e. taxes) are deducted at 20%. International student are entitled to work part time up to 20 hours a week off campus, whereas for on campus jobs, student employment contracts are offered for a period not to exceed 12 months. They run from September 1 through August 31. Students may work up to 670 hours between September 1 and June 30, and up to 300 hours between July 1 and August 31.

Employment Post study

After completing your course of study, if you plan to stay and work in the picturesque nation then you may request for a temporary residence permit (after your student permit expires) which is valid for six months and is non-renewable. But, even with a temporary permit you will be able to work only part time, up to a limit of 60% of the legally permitted working hours.

However, if you sign an employment contract stating that your employment is in a field related to your studies and where you are getting at least one and a half times of SMIC (French minimum wage), then you can work full time. You can then also apply for a change in status from student to employee. After the completion of your course you can also be recruited by a company.