International Students: Work in Estonia

Why Work?

Many of us face the choice of attending school and work at the same time due to numerous considerations: different internship opportunities, experience, a need to pay one’s bills, etc. Let’s be realistic: working during your studies is not easy. Naturally, it may result in stress, lower grades or reduced quality of work. Time is the biggest challenge. Nevertheless, you will only benefit from working while completing your degree, as long as you keep it balanced. Here’s why:

  • Early work experience answers all burning questions, especially if student’s job is related to the field of study: is this what you would like to focus on in the near future?
  • University work experience is essential in terms of networking: the best time to start developing your career connections is now.
  • The opportunity to learn how to withstand a pressure, manage your time, and meet the deadlines; it is priceless in terms of gaining hands-on knowledge while pursuing your degree. Ultimately, this will put you ahead of any competition.

Student Jobs: Quick Facts

But first things first. In Estonia, there is no need for international students to obtain any additional working permit. Moreover, there are no restrictions associated with working hours either on condition that the job does not interfere with one’s studies. On average, it is €6.51 gross per hour for a full-time job as for 2015 (source: Study in Estonia).


Top sources of finding a job in Estonia:

Ksenia Neradko, a Russian student currently completing her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, has something to say about how things work here in Estonia when it comes to applying for a job:

“According to my own experience, the main source is your own initiative. If you contact the company or organization straight via e-mail or phone, employers are more likely to notice your deep interest in working with them, while the absence of vacancies might not be a problem, too. Just introduce yourself,  start talking about your motivation, ask questions about the company”.

What time is it? Language apps time!

However, what kind of jobs available on the market if our knowledge of the Estonian language does not go beyond “tere!” and “aitäh”? Gaganmeet Singh, a student from India currently pursuing his Master’s degree in International Business Administration, says that Estonian is likely to be required for high-profile and customer-oriented positions or at least considered as a big plus. “Yet there are all kinds of English jobs available in Estonia in almost every sector and industry, whereas the Scandinavian languages prove to be in a great demand as well”, added he. Mykyta Tsylyuryk, the Ukrainian student enrolled in the same course, confirms: “If you know any other European language, there is a bigger chance you will find a job”. Indeed, there is another thing Estonia can be proud of: so many companies show a remarkable tendency of becoming more and more open for hiring international students. Isn’t that cool? Fais tout ton possible!

Organize Your Life

Let’s get back to Mykyta. Why did he choose to work while completing his degree in the first place? Isn’t that quite a challenge?

“I think it’s really important to set priorities that will help you to understand what your goals are, so you know how to follow the plan. I am currently working full-time trying to support myself independently: that’s the reason why I chose to work. Besides, this will help me to make a better decision regarding my future specialty, as long as this job is relevant to my studies”.

Totally agree with that. Nonetheless, here you’ve got to be an exceptional manager of time. What are the tips for keeping studies and work well-balanced? “Determination and commitment”, commented Johnson Oluwafemi, a student of International Relations coming from Nigeria.

“I have a part-time job, so that I can pay some bills and get more work experience in Estonia. I work mostly on weekends during semesters and four days a week throughout the vacation”.

Sounds cool to us!

Obviously start off with scheduling your working days in accordance with the classes you attend at the university. But there is more to it. Try to learn some more about your own personality, daily routine, and study habits. Are you a quick reader? A slow writer? A morning person or rather a night owl? Are you punctual or being late is becoming second nature to you? Study yourself.

“I work part time so that I can give more time to my studies and thesis project as my first priority”, says Gaganmeet. “Still it is very hard for me to sit idle at home the entire day, for all my classes start at 5:45 pm: my course has been designed this way in order to suit working population. It gets noticeably easy once you know how to prioritize your tasks. First studies, then work, then gym; all other things follow after”.


(source: Minimal Setups)

Secondly, start using calendars, planners or any other tools that help you to keep your classes, work shifts, and meetings in one place and never let them go. Apply color code, set phone reminders, consider sticky notes hanging above your desk. Easy-peasy.

Finally, prioritize and do not procrastinate (although, people say, procrastination enhances creativity, but who knows…). Do things beforehand (for instance, I set my own deadline a couple of days before the actual due date in case it coincides with my work shift). Know your limits, too. Working 10, 30 or 40 hours a week is completely up to you, but it is important to say no on time: cut your job hours and keep work for the summer break. And remember: working hard for something we do not care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.

Stop doubting yourself and make it happen. Bonne chance! 



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