Working while studying: 3 tips for a successful academic year
Being admitted to a prestigious university is one thing, getting by in academic life is another. In this blog, Lucien gives you 3 important tips that will help you adapt to your academic life in the Netherlands.
One of the questions most prospective students ask is whether it is possible to combine school and work. The answer to this question is yes! The cost of living in the Netherlands in general and in Amsterdam in particular is high and students often work to support themselves. More importantly, working allows you to gain good work experience alongside your studies and this can be useful in your future career. In most cases you will be working in a mixed, international team which will allow you to make contacts and learn from different cultures and experiences as well as find new friends.
The course coordinators are aware of this and plan the courses in such a way as to give the students the possibility to study but also to work on the side. However, finding a balance between work and school is essential for a successful academic year. Here are some of my tips that will help you achieve this:
Choose your job well
There are many opportunities for student jobs in the Netherlands. Some require physical strength and others only require time and/or attention. It is advisable to choose a job that allows you to continue to have the time and energy for your studies, since it’s very difficult to concentrate on your classes when you are tired or stressed out from work. This may mean taking shifts that allow you to sleep early. For example, you may choose to work only on weekends or to work a few hours spread out over the week.
Be smart about how many hours you work
In the Netherlands there are different kinds of contracts: you can choose between a part-time contract and a full-time contract. Some jobs have fixed hours while others are flexible. As a full-time student, it is very convenient to take a part-time contract, preferably a flexible one. This will allow you to have enough income and time for weekly assignments and classes.
Organise your schedule well
In most jobs you will be asked to submit your weekly or monthly availability. This gives you the opportunity to choose to work extra hours and earn more money. On the other hand, you will find in most cases that you only have two days of classes on campus and only for a few hours. This may tempt you to take on more hours of work. But while submitting your availability, consider the time you will need each week to work on your assignments and prepare for your exams because most of the time, some assignments are required to participate in seminars or to pass the course. And that's ultimately your goal, isn't it?