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The winter semester begins on 01 October and ends on 31 March, the summer semester begins on 01 April and ends on 30 September. The semester times are not identical with the lecture times. Lectures are cancelled on public holidays in the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Lecture times in winter semester 2023/24
16.10.2023 - 16.02.2024
Lecture-free time: 27.12.23 - 5.1.2024
There are several opportunities for international students in Germany to earn money while studying (e.g. as a research assistant, in tutoring, in the private sector). However, there are also some restrictions:
Students from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland have free access to the German labor market and are practically equal to German students. If they work more than 20 hours per week, they also have to pay certain insurance contributions (just like German students).
Special legal rules apply to students from all other countries:
(1) International students from other countries are allowed to work 120 days fulltime (or 240 half-days) per year. They are not allowed to work as self-employed entrepreneurs / on a freelance basis.
(2) Those working more than 120 days per year will need an approval by the Employment Agency and the Foreigners' Registration Office. Success depends on the market situation: In regions with low unemployment, chances are higher.
Work as a scientific / artistic / academic assistant (a.k.a. Hiwi, Hilfskraft or SHK) is exempt from this, and possible for an unlimited period of time. However, the foreigners' authorities must be informed. If you feel uncertain, seek advice from student services or the International Office.
The regional contact points of the Federal Employment Agency often have a job placement service for students. At large universities, there are also job offers published by the Studierendenwerk.
Online job exchanges can be found on university websites and in the web offerings of the Studierendenwerke, e.g.
Sometimes it is also useful to look at bulletin boards of universities (like KIT, Heidelberg University) or job offers by regional newspapers.
“Hiwi” jobs: Many students work as assistants (colloquially called “Hiwi”) at their university, e.g. in libraries, studios, as tutors or teaching assistants. Hiwi positions are a good supplement to your studies. If you are interested, you should ask for open positions in the secretary's office of your own institute and pay attention to notices at the university.
Off-campus / private: Typical student jobs off campus include jobs in bars & restaurants, trade fairs, courier services, as private teachers or babysitters etc. As a matter of course it is more rewarding when the job is related to the field of study, e.g. if you can work as an editor, media designer, writer etc.
It is hard or even impossible for students to finance their entire living costs by part-time jobs. Also consider working fulltime during the lecture-free period, notably the longer summer break.
Germany has introduced a minimum wage in 2015. Since 1st October 2022, it has been raised to € 12 per hour. However, your income largely depends on personal skills, experiences, relations, and market demand. In cities like Munich and Hamburg, hourly wages are usually higher, but so is the cost of living. For Hiwis, industrial employees, or service staff at trade fairs, the average hourly wage is often slightly higher than the minimum wage.
Students can have a “mini-job” and earn up to € 520 per month without paying taxes. Those earning more than € 520 will need a tax number. In that case, a certain percentage is subtracted from the salary every month. Students will get most of it reimbursed at the end of the year by filing an income tax return.
Those who are permanently employed in Germany pay social security contributions. These include contributions for health insurance as well as for nursing care, pension, and unemployment
insurance. Those who do not work for more than three months at a time, or for less than 70 days spread over the year, do not have to pay social security contributions. Those who are employed for a longer period are subject to pension insurance. Students usually pay small amounts – and only if they earn more than € 520 per month.
Jobs that take up more than 20 hours a week not only affect student benefits, but also require health, unemployment and long-term care insurance.
Further infos can be found here