Work Opportunities for International StudentsCopyright: © Andreas Hermann
International students may take up work in the private sector during the semester or the semester break for up to four months without having obtained a work permit. Students thus may take up full time work for 120 days or part-time positions (up to 4 hours per day) for 240 days. This regulation is also stated on the residence permit.
In term-time, students are allowed to take up jobs with working hours of up to 19 hours a week. During the semester break, students may work full-time but only for a maximum of 13 consecutive weeks. To give an example: A student takes up a job at a restaurant. He is to work for 19 hours per week. According to the above stated regulation, the student is allowed to work for 48 weeks of the year. The student's employer is advised to register the number of working days of the student in order to avoid difficulties with the Immigration Office.
Student assistants are more flexible as regards working hours, as the 120/240 full and part-time regulation does not apply. As a student assistant - the so-called HiWi -, you are allowed to work up to 19 hours per week throughout the year.
Job adverts for student assistants can be found on the faculty bulletin boards or by browsing through RWTH's searchable online vacancy database.
Students taking a German Language Course and students attending the Studienkolleg - a one year preparatory course prior to the degree programme - may take up jobs during the semester break only.
This regulation should also be stated on your visa.
Internships and placement semesters required as part of your degree programme are not considered to be "gainful employment". For this kind of job you don't need to get hold of a work permit.
If you wish to take up a job in the private sector, you may wish to contact the Aachen office of the German Employment Agency:
Agentur für Arbeit Aachen
Roermonder Straße 51
Phone: +49 (0) 241 897-0
Monday, Tuesday: 8.00 am to 3.30 pm
Wednesday, Friday: 8.00 am to 12.30 pm
Thursday: 8.00 am to 3.30 pm
If you take up a job, you need to get hold of an income tax card. The card can be obtained from the Municipal Office for Public Order and the Local Residents' Office of the City of Aachen:
Einwohnermeldeamt der Stadt Aachen
Tel.: +49 (0) 241 432- 0
Scholarships, Loans, and Allowances
Generally, it is quite difficult for international students to be awarded with a scholarship by a German funding institution.
If you are participating in the German language course or the Preparatory Course for International Students - the so-called Studienkolleg -, you are typically not eligible for a scholarship. Usually, applicants who have not as yet obtained their preliminary diploma or passed the intermediate exam are also not considered. If you have passed the intermediate exam or received your preliminary diploma, however, you may try to get hold of a scholarship.
By contrast with scholarships, which are typically awarded for several semesters, allowances are short-term grants given to students experiencing financial hardship. While scholarships are given to highly qualified and talented students, allowances have more of a social function in alleviating the situation of students in severe financial difficulty.
- German students from low-to-medium income families are entitled to receive financial support according to the Federal Training Assistance Act ("Bafög").
- International and stateless students are eligible for funding only if they meet one of the following requirements:
- Internationals eligible for asylum in Germany
- Internationals who are granted permanent residence through having a parent or spouse who is a German national
- Foreigners one of whose parents has been employed in Germany for the last three years and is still in a paid position
- International students who were employed in Germany for at least the last five years.
Internationals who are thus eligible for BAföG funding should apply at the local BaföG agency:
- For students enrolled in a degree programme: Studierendenwerk, Turmstraße 3
- For participants in the German language course or the Preparatory Course for International Students (Studienkolleg) as well as for students eligible for asylum: Youth Welfare Office of the City of Aachen (Jugendamt der Stadt Aachen)
Especially for internationals, there are several important points and special regulations which have to be taken into account. Please contact the International Office for advice!
Generally, it is quite rare that international students are awarded with a scholarship by a German funding institution. If you are participating in the German language course or the Preparatory Course for International Students - the so-called Studienkolleg -, you are typically not eligible for a scholarship. Usually, applicants who have not as yet obtained their preliminary diploma or passed the intermediate exam are also not taken into consideration. If you have passed the intermediate exam or received your preliminary diploma, however, you might want to apply for a scholarship. For scholarship opportunities of the various funding bodies, please take a look at the overview given on the web page concerned with Scholarships and Funding Opportunities.
Grants and Allowances
The International Office does not have any funds at its disposal to award grants or offer allowances to international students in financial distress. There is however an International Students Hardship Fund to aid students who are facing a sudden financial emergency. Applications for financial support in these case are to be made to the International Office. A student committee decides on whether or not financial support can be granted. For further information, also refer to the web pages providing information on Scholarships and Funding Opportunities. Please also get in touch with the Students' Union (Foreigners Representation, Social Welfare Advice Centre) for further information. In some cases, the Protestant Student Community (ESG) and the Catholic Student Community (KHG) also offer student loans and allowances.