Working in Germany

During my studies in Switzerland (and even before), I have always worked somewhere – mostly in typical student jobs. For example, I was a waitress in a restaurant and after that I worked in a supermarket.

For me it was always a given to earn my own money and to be able to spend or save it in the way I want to. I never wanted to depend fully on my parents and working besides my studies has always been a good diversion from my daily student life (which consists mostly of reading and listening to professors…). Besides, gaining insight into working life is a great experience!

Before arriving in Germany, of course I had to quit my job in a supermarket and was quite happy about that – I have worked there for four years and already knew for a long time that it was time for a change. At the same time, I was sad because I knew or – better said – I thought I wouldn’t be able to work in Germany. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would have enough time to work, but my schedule turned to be not so busy, so I asked the Erasmus coordinator here in Germany if there was a possibility to work and luckily there was. From Switzerland, I started looking for student jobs online and immediately found a lot of job advertisements. I applied for an administration job in Human Resources because I am very interested in that field and will be working in it as soon as I am back in Switzerland. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job because they were looking for someone who could stay there longer than just one semester. I continued to look for a job and found an advertisement from a catering company which was searching for students. I applied for the job and got a call from an office worker at the company right after I sent my application. The woman told me that she had already checked my application and thought that I was suitable for the job since I had already worked as a waitress before. She also said that I could start working upon my arrival in Germany.

And so the events continue to be different every time, which never makes work boring – I never know what kind of event it is until I arrive at the location.

On the third or fourth day after my arrival in Germany, I had already completed my first day of work, where we catered for an afternoon  summer school event. They were provided with food and drinks and I mostly had to clear the tables. The next event was completely different because it was a 70th birthday party in the evening where I had to serve people at their tables. And so the events continue to be different every time, which never makes work boring – I never know what kind of event it is until I arrive at the location. Also, I am allowed to always eat the food which is served at the event and drink whatever I want (and I think that this is the best part about working at a catering company…).

It is also interesting to see how people work here and how things are being managed. For example, I always get an email with the upcoming events in the next month and have to tell the office worker when I am available and when not – I think that is somehow ineffective or just very complicated when I compare it to when I was working as a waitress in Switzerland: Back there I told the manager once on what days in a week I am generally available and that was it – he could make the work schedule without always asking his employees. If I wanted a particular day off or wanted to work more in my semester break, I could just tell him a little bit in advance. Also, the work schedule was always out for the next three weeks (at least) – here I get a separate email “invitation” for every event and sometimes only some days in advance.In conclusion, I am very happy to have found a student job here in Göttingen and would not want to quit! It makes the Erasmus experience even better and helps me to get to know more people, especially locals.

Saskia Gurtner

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