Getting a job can be one of those maturity tests that can leave you in a puddle of your own tears, like when you first do laundry and have to select a programme on the washing machine, or make your own doctor’s appointment.
Seeing how we’re barely grown-ups ourselves, we decided to help fellow students understand what steps they should take when searching for a job in Northern Europe, and what they might have missed while searching for the best place to apply.
1. Don’t worry about the language requirements
I think we can safely assume you are searching for a Master’s degree taught in English.
Fortunately, the Scandinavian region is one of the parts of Europe where almost everyone speaks English, and to know their local language is just an extra, not a mandatory job requirement.
So, if and when you decide to go and get a job, don’t worry about your lack of Swedish, Danish, or Icelandic knowledge, because nobody will care, honestly.
After clarifying this, you should check out each country in that region and apply to the universities that better suit you. You can check out:
- Master’s degrees in Denmark
- Master’s degrees in Sweden
- Master’s degrees in Finland
- Master’s degrees in Norway
- Master’s degrees in Iceland
2. Apply specifically to a job fitted for your studies
This should have come with a Duh! at the end of it, but it’s something a lot of people overlook.
First of all, if you have a degree that’s already hard enough, you should reconsider having a job during your studies. Although you say you can sustain a job and have the perfect life, while also studying, and, with Thor’s will, even have a social life, 9 times out of 10 this isn’t the case.
And the tenth student already went screaming for the hills, so we couldn’t get in touch with him, to ask how he’s dealing with this balance.
A part-time job for a student, with only 20 hours a week, is the norm for students, but you can also apply for a casual job, which basically has a “choose your own adventure”-type of timetable.
3. Know the legislation and the laws for your employment
We’re not here to tell you “You can’t do it” because we don’t trust you, but because we don’t want you to get in trouble for doing a great thing, like working.
Hear us out: the European Union has strict rules on students working. Besides finding out if your student visa or residence permit allows you to work, you should also have a quick read of the legally-allowed hours you may work.
Literally, working more than 20 hours a week can get you and your employer in a lot of trouble.
Because we’re really nice and helpful, the legal number of working hours in each Scandinavian country is:
- Universities in Sweden don’t have an official limitation for international students, but it’s frowned upon if you neglect your schoolwork, which should take a total of 40 hours a week (reading, writing, and working on assignments).
- In Norway, students must apply for a working permit, if they’re not from the EU, and have to work for up to 20 hours per week. European students can work for up to three months without applying for a work permit, but the 20-hour limit is available for them, as well.
- Finland’s working rules are lax for EU students, letting them work as many hours they wish, without a working permit. For non-EU, however, you can only work up to 25 hours per week, and only as part of your practical training within your degree.
- Danish universities allow students from the European Union to go wild and work as much as they wish, but they allow the rest of the international students to work only 20 hours a week.
- In Iceland, students from EU can work without first requiring a permit, while other international students have to apply for one. And, if my math is correct, students may only work 16 hours/week.
See? We’re looking out for you. It’s ok, you don’t need to thank us...
4. Calculate what salary you will need
A “high salary” is a very debatable term. What can be considered a huge salary in Poland can only afford you a loaf of bread in New Zealand, and, while you would consider it insane otherwise, you would like to know that teachers can be paid in vodka in Russia. I am dead serious!
Still, in order to get an appropriate feeling of the fairness of a salary, you should know the living costs in the Northern European countries. These would be:
- Tuition fees and living costs in Sweden
- Tuition fees and living costs in Norway
- Tuition fees and living costs in Denmark
- Tuition fees and living costs in Finland
For each country, student salaries for part-time jobs can be:
- For Sweden, between 730 and 1000 EUR/month
- For Denmark, between 800 and 960 EUR/month
- For Finland, between 560 and 840 EUR/month
- For Norway, around 850 EUR/month
5. Try getting a job in your field
Writing this is much more easier said than done. If you don’t want to waste time on regular jobs, without any connection to your field, you will have to:
- Use the dedicated websites for jobs in each country, applying as many filters as it’s necessary, seeing how the perfect job may be buried beneath a lot of filler.
- Ask your friends, mentors, or teachers if they know of any openings that might interest and suit you.
- Go straight to your university and find the page dedicated to jobs and careers opportunities.
The Scandinavian region of Europe is awesome. A lot of universities post the jobs they have within the organisation, as assistant positions or secretarial positions, or, even better, internships or part-time jobs within partner-companies.
6. Research from the top down
Instead of searching what jobs would suit you, you can always try first searching for companies, and then seeing what internships and positions they have vacant.
For instance, Hanken School of Economics has an ongoing programme for students called the “International Talent Programme”, where, once enrolled, you will be given a position within one of the partner-organisations, where you will be guided by both the company and university, in forming and molding your career.
Also, some big Norse companies that hire directly from universities are:
- Stora Enso Oyj
Let’s face it: all this sounds like a beacon of hope for international students.
Bottom line, working and studying can be achieved easily, as long as your time management skills are on point and your determination to become the best in your field is accompanied with a desire to grow and gain as much experience as early as possible.
Everything is doable, and so, without further ado, good luck, and never forget to have fun!