Pursuing a part-time job while studying at Chalmers

​Three international students at Chalmers share how they manage their work-study balance at Chalmers.
Three ambassadors holding the phone with logos of the companies they work for in their hand

We were surprised to learn that all international students that qualify for a Swedish residence permit are also allowed to work in Sweden - with no restrictions on the amount of hours they work! It certainly opened up new doors and hopes in our minds, but also a lot of questions: Am I qualified enough to work in Sweden? What job opportunities are available at Chalmers? How will a part-time job affect my studies? Will my lack of proficiency in Swedish be an obstacle? To answer these questions, we are going to share our experience of having a part-time job while studying at Chalmers. 

Teanette discusses her experience in a technical job that is affiliated with the Chalmers housing, Nathaly shares how her tutoring job helps her to give back to the community, and Mohsen explores the flexibility and independence of a food-delivery job. 

Ambassador: Teanette
 Programme: Wireless, Photonics and Space Engineering
 Job: Software Development at Brainmill

I started working as a software developer during my second study period at Chalmers. My company is in charge of managing the internet connection to Chalmers student housing. I was lucky to find the job advertisement on the day I moved into my apartment – it was the first thing I saw on the noticeboard as I entered my building! The employees are made up chiefly of Chalmers students, both to create a space for students to start their careers and to have employees who are personally aware of the connectivity needs and challenges of our clients. 

I saw the job advertisement for this job on the day that I moved into my apartment. Applying for this job was a huge leap of faith for me – software development was not a job I had been trained for, and diverged significantly from my skillset as a Wireless, Photonics and Space Engineering student. However, I was surprised to find that many of the skills I had learnt during my time at Chalmers actually translate very well to my job. For example: our lectures deal extensively with making decisions based on engineering trade-offs between manufacturing time, performance, and the robustness of the final design. Many of my software development projects require the same type of decision-making skills. Furthermore, I was surprised in how much my job has helped me perform academically. In growing my confidence as a programmer, I have started to automate large parts of my engineering design process. In fact, I am in the process of designing my own personal Microwave Engineering design library – something I would never have pursued with my previous programming skill. 

However, my job has been more than an opportunity to hone my technical competence – it has become my looking-glass into Swedish society. Like many other students, I was cautious about entering the Swedish job market, partly because of my lack of proficiency in the Swedish language and partly because of my lack of experience in Swedish society. I was surprised by how accommodating the Swedish working culture is. My manager believes that the best performing employees are happy employees, and it really shows in the way he interacts with us. The company is focused on creating an atmosphere where people are comfortable enough to grow, learn, collaborate and speak up when they do not know something. Not only is this conducive to good work practices, but it also creates a platform for people to get to know each other without judgement. My work colleagues are some of the only Swedish people I have had the opportunity to build relationships with during the pandemic. 

Ambassador: Nathaly
 Programme: Biomedical Engineering
 Job: Tutor at Pluggstöd

I used to work as an Electronics Instructor back in Ecuador, after finishing my undergraduate degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The reason I applied to teaching positions is because of how passionate I am about giving back what I’ve learnt in my life. When I saw the tutoring position advertised on a banner outside of the Student Union building at Johanneberg campus, I was curious and immediately interested.

The work as a tutor consists of going to different middle-schools in Gothenburg that are associated with Pluggstöd after their regular class schedules or even before a sports practice. Once there, we offer our help with math and other STEM related courses. If they feel like they need someone to explain things one more time or to clarify some of their doubts, the tutors are there to help them. So far, I have had the opportunity to explain some math and biology, because those are the things that I’m familiar with as a Biomedical engineering student. One time I also got to help someone with their Spanish assignment. That was a very exciting experience for me since I felt like we were helping each other instead of just me helping them. I got to practice more Swedish words and they got to learn new Spanish words from a native speaker - this is what I consider a win-win situation!

You may be wondering if you need to be fluent in Swedish in order to perform in this job. Each job is different, but from what I’ve seen on LinkedIn, many companies have a phrase in common: ”fluent in English is mandatory, fluent in Swedish is preferred.”. I am not even on a intermediate level in Swedish, but I have a strong dedication and determination to improve my skills. I can help the students by communicating in English but, Google translate in Swedish certainly helps as well. 

And I would certainly add that, thanks to Pluggstöd, I’ve met wonderful people too! So if you are looking for something to work on while studying at Chalmers, I would definitely recommend this!
Ambassador: Mohsen
 Programme: Architecture & Urban Design
 Job: Foodora rider

As an Architecture student, it is quite common to suddenly become busy quickly. Therefore I was looking for aPicture of Foodora bag on a scooter
part-time flexible job where I can choose how and when I want to work. Fortunately, Foodora had just such a system. The company is basically a platform for food delivery where your role is to collect the food from restaurants and transport it to the customers. That’s all - nothing complicated! All I needed was a scooter and a phone. I found this job through an advertisement on Instagram, most of these platform companies usually advertise available jobs through social medias.

I enjoyed the job because it gave me a good opportunity to explore the city, the restaurants, and the different neighbourhoods around Chalmers. However, the most important thing for me was the fact that there was no need to be fluent in Swedish at all. This meant that I could start working soon after I arrived in Gothenburg, and could immediately start earning a salary to help me with expenses. 

The biggest benefit of being a rider is that you basically work for yourself: you enter your available work times on the application and get shifts for each week accordingly. You can swop shifts with other riders, but there are certain hours that should be fulfilled each week. The payment is hourly and order-based - the more you work, the more you get.

However, the job also offers its fair share of challenges. For instance, it is really hard to work as a rider during the dark and cold winters in Sweden, especially when it is raining or there is ice and snow. On the other hand, it can be a really interesting job during spring and summer when the weather is mild, as you can explore the city and enjoy Gothenburg’s vibe. 

Recently, Foodora signed an agreement with a trade union here in Sweden which will improve the working environment for riders. However, my personal opinion is that this kind of job works well as a temporary job for students. If you urgently need a place to make extra money besides your studies, or just want some extra pocket money, it should be perfect for you. 

Page manager Published: Mon 29 Mar 2021.