Working part-time not only allows you to have more financial freedom, but also gives you a great chance to understand Finland and Finnish working life better. As I have had my share of struggle when it comes to job hunting in Finland, I figured this post would provide prospective students a better understanding about working part-time while studying in Finland.As I was working as an International Student Ambassador for Finland University, there were many times I got asked questions related to part-time job and internship opportunities in Finland for international students. Some of the most frequently asked questions were whether it is even possible to find a part-time job without speaking Finnish language, and if it is, how to do so. Let me present you the options!
Working while studying full-time
According to Migri, international students have a right to work without restrictions if the work is related to their studies. Students can also work other jobs but only for 25 hours per week (part-time) on average during the academic year and work full time with no restrictions during holidays.
That means if you can find a part-time job that fits your studying schedules, it is totally possible to maintain a part-time job while studying full-time. It is very common that students work less hours during the school year, then work full-time during summer and holidays.
Depending on the jobs and personal situations, some students are able to manage to work enough to finance their everyday expenses. However, as recommended by Study in Finland, one should not rely entirely on the income of part-time jobs and the possibility of successfully finding one.
TYY office at the University of Turku campus where students can find Counselling services.
Work related to your studies
The most ideal jobs would be the ones related to your study field. In generally, there is usually some research work available at faculties that might be fitted for Master’s degree students.
The work could be considered as an internship or related to one’s Master's thesis. If you have a strong interest in research, it is highly recommended to discuss about your wish to join a research team, or to do a commission work for your thesis, with your supervisors or professors at the very beginning of your study.
Do not be afraid to approach your professors, teachers, or friends and talk about your desire to work in research. Professors in Finland are usually very helpful and approachable. They may not look for an intern or assistant at that moment, but they might know some other resources, or they can give you valuable advice based on your current situation.
Xu Qiao, who came to Finland from China, is currently a Master’s degree student at the Bioinformatics Program at the Department of Future Technologies at University of Turku. He started his research job in the Bioinformatics Unit of Turku Biotechnology Center in June 2017. He found out about the job opportunity from a friend who was working in this unit. He shared with us his experiences while working there:
“Initially, it was only a three-month summer job, and I intended to make this summer project into my Master thesis since the topics from the research group are closely related to my study field. However, I am still here and taking more projects to work on, people here are very helpful at work and we also have regular social activities organized by our group.
The stereotypes about Finns are still valid here, but they are really nice people to work with. With rapid process of learning here, from a shy student who was not sure what I was capable of, I have become a young scientist who can execute research tasks with clear targets and achieve results.
Photo provided by Xu Qiao
From this job, I have accepted the offer from the research group to do my PhD here after my Master's degree. They have scientists from various backgrounds, with bits of help from different aspects, I think it would be very convenient to proceed with most work.
Regarding job hunting, it really depends on various factors, such as the subjects one is studying, and how one's ability is. If most of the factors match, I think it is not really hard to find a well-paid job in Finland.
For instance, there are quite a lot funding for biomedical researchers, since this is a hot topic in both academia and industries. So, it is quite common to see a medicine or biology student already have a job when his/her second year has not even started.”
There is also non-research work available, depending on your field of studying. In every university or faculty, there are career services and career days where you can find more information related to your interests.
It is very important that students are active in job seeking and building their skills through different activities. Going to talk to your international consultants, professors, or attending career days are some of the first steps to deepen your understanding and expand your networks.
What are the other options?
Depending on where you live, the options can vary greatly. Generally speaking, it is easier to find jobs in big cities than small towns. However, there are also some exceptions.
For instance, in early spring and summer, there are quite many farms located in more remote areas looking for seasonal workers to help tending gardens, picking berries, flowers, or packing fruits. These jobs are suitable for international students, since the farms often offer workers accommodation and boarding, and workers have free time to explore the area after working hours.
Since this kind of jobs require somewhat understanding about farming and good health, it is especially fitting for those who love nature and enjoy working in the countryside.
Picking strawberries in Finland; photo by Sylvie Truong
In bigger cities, there are quite many part-time job opportunities for students, but it is also quite competitive depending on what sorts of skills one has. Being able to speak Finnish or Swedish is a great asset, you will have a lot more chances in landing a desirable part-time job.
In some cases, having limited working Finnish proficiency also helps. There are also jobs that don’t require Finnish or Swedish language skills, however. It is possible to work as a waiter / waitress, bartender, kitchen helper, etc. if you have “hygiene passport” or “alcohol passport”. These licenses allow you to work in certain fields, and the tests can be taken in different languages, not just Finnish, Swedish or English.
Tourist Info in Naantali, where many students come to work during the summer.
Delivery jobs (newspapers, food, Posti, etc) are also popular among students. Some work requires driving licenses, for instance, working for Posti (=the post office) as a delivery person.
Some work only requires good health, and some sort of personal vehicles (bicycles, scooters, cars, etc) like working as a delivery person at Foodora or Wolt. Working in cleaning companies is also a very popular job option for students. The work is usually done in hotels, cruise-ships, hospitals, private residences, etc.
Working in cleaning industries usually does not require language skills or extra licenses, working hours are flexible and workers are given training before starting the work. Working conditions vary, but all jobs offer the same benefits that applied for every worker in Finland like healthcare, safety training, holidays, etc.
It is impossible to really know if you would be able to find a part-time job in Finland, however, hopefully the above-mentioned content gives you an overall picture of the situation. There are part-time jobs, and there are many international students who have successfully acquired jobs for themselves.
Indeed, looking for jobs abroad is a frustrating process, and it is a valuable experience to learn how to handle negative emotions during this period. It is also essential to remember your ultimate goal is to study and harness your skills to prepare for your future.
Don’t compromise your studying or health to work more than you can afford. Working overtime, or not passing enough credits might jeopardize your studying as your residence permit might be revoked.
Learning to balance studying and working would be very essential later on in your career, and hopefully the skills that you gain from working part-time would be beneficial for personal development.
Learn more about studying in Finland
Finland University serves as a gateway to one of the finest Finnish multidisciplinary Universities on offer. If you are interested in studying in Finland and would like to find out more, the downloadable Finland University guide provides a quick starting package about how to apply for International Master’s Degree Programmes and Scholarships at the member universities of Finland University.
Interested? Download the guide and learn more!