Working beside studies - where to start?

Student ambassadors at Hervanta campus

Master’s degrees are full time studies and thus, are not designed to give a lot of space for extra working hours. However, the reality most of international students are living is calling for student jobs.

Master’s degrees are full time studies and thus, are not designed to give a lot of space for extra working hours. However, the reality most of international students are living is calling for student jobs. This being said, I would recommend new students to focus on studies and volunteer work during the first year as it is, usually, when most of the courses are completed. Summer and the following year could then more easily welcome part time jobs and internships. Another tip could be to take one or two courses of Finnish while completing your first academic year. This would help you immerse and communicate on a basic level in customer service jobs.

Enough of teasing, let’s get to it!

Student jobs in restaurants, cafés, bars, supermarkets

How to prepare?

As you might have heard, you will need to have certain certificates if you want to work in a restaurant industry. Those certificates are: the hygiene passport concerning food hygiene; and the alcohol passport which you would need in order to sell alcohol in pubs and restaurants.

I myself have studied and passed the hygiene test, so I can tell you a little bit about it! Here are my tips:

  • Step 1: Register online to the official website (link here)
  • Step 2: Choose your city, sign up for the date that suits you and in the language preferred (many languages are offered especially in Helsinki; however, the main ones are English, Swedish and Finnish) and pay (you will benefit from a student discount). I would recommend doing it in advance as there are not so many availabilities per month.
  • Step 3: Choose an online package to study or find the book in a library. I chose the 3 days package for a few euros and I can say that for me it was enough as I passed it on the first try. The package gives you trial questions that will cover all the potential questions/topics you may find in the real test.
  • Step 4: Bring your ID and student card and succeed the test! It is on paper in a test room with other candidates. Everything else will be explained to you when you take the test.

If you need to take the test for the alcohol passport, you can find the info here.

I got my certificates so where do I start?

  • Step 1: Check out the places who already have students working there
  • Step 2: Go to the place and leave your CV ideally to the manager.
  • Step 3: Call the places you left your CV too and show your interest in working for them.
  • Step 4: You can offer to show your skills for a short shift, if you feel that it could be a tangible decision-maker. However, it is not always a frequent practice especially if you already have experience.
  • Step 5: If you get an interview, show your motivation, be flexible but honest on your availabilities.
  • Step 6: When you get a contract to sign, read it carefully and verify that it is complying with the collective agreement that you can find

Other types of student jobs

Student jobs usually fall into employment where special education is not required such as cleaning, baby-sitting, transcription and/or punctual missions that you can find by scrolling through Facebook groups, subscribing to newsletters, having a look at employment platform and most of all, getting to know people.

Some useful links that you can have a look at:

Study & Stay programme

Symbiosis Tampere

Building Bridges

International House Tampere



Vacancies in Finnish, but you can just write the city or keyword such as: Lapland – to get to seasonal jobs :


About the writer: I am Meredith, a Leadership for Change master’s student at Tampere University center campus. Graduated from Political sciences and International Relations, I pursue my studies in European and Global Politics as well as gender studies and sustainability. Passionate about photography and video editing, I do a lot of these in my free time or during association work. French native, I always travelled a lot and decided to settle in Finland after my Erasmus at Tampere University in 2017. I am an intersectional feminist and advocate for sustainability! Also fun, cool, sportive and I love food, hanging out with friends and playing games! There is a lot to do in Tampere and I encourage anyone to come and try falling in love of this place as I did.


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