Finding Work While Studying: Challenges and Solutions
Let’s face it, while residing in the Netherlands as an expat student, finding work in Groningen can be very difficult if you don’t speak Dutch, and almost impossible if you don’t have a work permit. The first condition that you have to meet to be able to legally work anywhere in the Netherlands is having the permission to work in this country. Do you come from an EU (except Croatia), or an EEA country (i.e., Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway), or Switzerland? Then, you are free to work unrestrictedly. If not, you need a work permit. It is important to know that it is the EMPLOYER that has to apply for the job applicant’s work permit, and not the job applicant. Unfortunately, due to long application processes for a work permit, employers tend to refuse to apply for an applicant’s work permit if he/she applies for a low-skilled job such as a waitron or a dishwasher. But if you manage to have an employer obtain a work permit for you, then, you have two options to choose from; you can either choose to work throughout the year for a maximum of 10 hours per week, or choose to work as many hours as you want during the summer months of June, July, and August. You can't choose both.
Another major barrier to finding a job in Groningen is the Dutch language. However, there are some employers in Groningen who employ non-Dutch speakers as long as the job applicant is allowed to legally work. Some of those are mentioned here.
Working at the RUG
With more than 700 students currently working as student assistants, the University of Groningen offers good opportunities for its students to gain valuable work experience, develop their professional qualities, and earn some money next to their studies. Whether or not having a working proficiency of the Dutch language is a requirement for these jobs depends on the tasks and responsibilities that they entail. Having said this, there are many opportunities for those students who don’t speak Dutch in the university. For more information about student assistant vacancies in the RUG, it is recommended to regularly check the ‘Job opportunities at the university.’
Employment agencies (Uitzendbureaus)
Going to a job agency for finding work is recommended especially if you speak Dutch and don’t need a work permit. Students usually have a higher chance of finding work if they apply for jobs in construction, catering and housekeeping services through the agencies that have specialized in these sectors. Uitzendbureau JIJ and Uitzendbureau Pro-Attent offer jobs for those who are looking for on-call work and willing to do cleaning or other types of housekeeping jobs. These jobs do not require speaking Dutch, and, also, you can choose the days on which you want to work.
Working at bars and restaurants
O'Malley's Irish Pub, O’Ceallaigh Irish Pub, and Cafe the Crown are a few places that have a history of hiring students who do not speak Dutch. These bars usually prefer students who are planning to live in Groningen for at least a year. Some restaurants around the city are regularly looking for delivery personnel. So, if you have a bike or a driving license for a scooter you can apply for such a job. The Indian restaurant Taj Mahal is just one example of the places that welcomes students to apply for delivery jobs. Relatedly, FoodDrop is constantly adding to its delivery personnel to work in the evening time or on the weekends. If you are between 18 till 25 years old, and have a bike as well as a smartphone, you have a high chance of getting hired by this food delivery shop. The application process is simple! Give it a try!
Paid research experiments
Voluntary participation in experiments is a fairly easy way to earn some money every now and then. There are always some RUG students studying at the Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Economics and Business who look for volunteers to participate in their experiments as part of their study projects. You can create an account on the SONA systems for free and sign up for these experiments through its portal to see current experiments and their available time slots. Just click on SONA psychology and SONA FEB to get directed to these portals. Besides, keep an eye out for available time slots as well as for similar experiments on the Facebook group “Paid Research Participants Groningen.”
Where else to look for work?
Apart from being an online market, Marktplaats.nl is also a popular platform for job advertisements. Job openings come under the rubric of ‘vacatures,’ and there you can find great many opportunities including part-time and freelance jobs. This website is also a good platform to post your own job advertisements.
If you’re an avid Facebook user, it is recommended that you regularly check the job openings posted on the Facebook group “Groningen Student - Job Offers and Job Seekers.” Besides individuals who post their job ads, some employment agencies also share their vacancies there.
Last but not least, freelance work can be rewarding if you are confident enough about offering your skills. Translation, language lessons, baby-sitting, dog-walking and cleaning jobs are just a few examples of the services that many offer via Marktplaats and similar platforms. You can always post your job advertisements on public bulletin boards in the University of Groningen, Hanze university as well as in big supermarkets such as Albert Heijn and Jumbo.