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How I found my student jobs in Graz, Austria

Sara Krak as an electrical engineering student in her study environment at TU Graz. (Image source: Lunghammer – TU Graz)

How to find a student job in Austria, what is the best job for working students and how to balance work and study? Sara Krak, electrical engineering student at TU Graz, shares her story of working while studying.

Working as an international student: a challenge and a valuable lesson

Working as a student during your studies involves balancing academic commitments with work responsibilities. Many students have part-time jobs to support themselves financially and gain practical experience alongside their education. Being a working student is a journey filled with both challenges and valuable lessons. From adapting to a work environment to managing time efficiently, every day becomes an opportunity for personal and professional growth. While working, international students have opportunities to improve their language knowledge and communication skills and to adapt to a new culture. In the workplace you can connect with colleagues, create relationships and network with people. Working not only provides financial independence, but also prepares students to thrive in diverse settings.

From first steps in gastronomy to working in my field of study

At the beginning of my studies at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), I decided to find a job in order to improve my German and support myself financially. There are a lot of job possibilities for students in Graz, for example as a:

  • research or teaching assistant
  • student in your field of study
  •  tutor
  • food service worker (catering, counter service, etc)
  • cleaner,
  • nanny or au pair
  • pet sitter.

My first job was at Subway. My tasks included product preparation, food safety and serving customers. Being a food service worker not only allowed me to enhance my German language skills through customer interaction, but also improved my other skills including teamwork, multitasking and time management, as well as my work ethic and working under pressure. What I loved about this job was that the change of pace helped me recharge and get back to studying with a clearer mind. This was my first job and I feel it has influenced the person I am today.

Feeling the need to connect my studies with professional experience, I intended to start working in my field of study. I wanted to bridge the gap between theory and practice. This was not only a job change, but also an important step to immerse myself in the practical side of what I was learning at the university.

TU Graz supports students from Austria and abroad with scholarships from national and international companies. These companies often offer job opportunities to scholarship holders.

How to prepare for looking for a job as a student

Before I started applying for a job in my field of study, I was aware that without any previous practical experience this might be quite a challenge. My preparation included the following steps:

Mirza Camic, international student ambassador of TU Graz, writes about working in the IT sector in a blog post, which also includes useful tips on writing a CV and creating a portfolio.

Opportunities gained from working in your field of study

After applying for a couple of open student positions, I was invited for a few job interviews, one of them being at Magna Steyr, an automobile manufacturer, at their department for high voltage systems. After a successful interview, I received an offer to work there two days a week, which meant that I also had enough time for my university responsibilities.

Getting my first job in my field of study wasn’t easy, but support from my mentor and my colleagues, as well my determination to learn made all the difference. The initial steps were challenging, yet each obstacle became a chance to learn and grow. Working in various projects and supporting my team with research and development activities and requirement management tools has not only deepened my understanding of my company's development system, but has also clarified the professional direction I want to pursue. This job has helped me discover my passion for green mobility and showed me specific areas I’d like to focus on for further professional growth.

Tips for the first steps at a student job include:

  • Testing your commute
  • Confirming your schedule
  • Introducing yourself
  • Not being afraid to ask questions
  • Getting to know your team and work environment

In the blog post "Working as a student in Austria – 8 big tips", Ekrem Toroman, a graduate of Graz University of Technology and former international student ambassador, provides tips and insights on working while studying.

Balancing work and study can be demanding. Here I am with other students on the campus of Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). (Image source: Lunghammer – TU Graz)

Looking forward to my future career

Balancing work and study can be demanding and stressful. However, the hard work pays off and is a good investment for the future. Looking ahead, I'm filled with anticipation about the next steps in my professional life, as the path forward holds exciting opportunities. I’m motivated and enthusiastic about upcoming projects and the chance to further contribute to my team’s effort. As I’m getting closer to graduation, I’m looking forward to seeing where these combined experiences will lead me.

Sara Krak comes from Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She currently studies Electrical Engineering at TU Graz. She became an International Student Ambassador to advise and encourage international students – mainly from her home country – who are thinking about coming to TU Graz. Feel free to contact her with any questions regarding her or other degree programmes and anything related to studying and living in Graz.
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