How do you finance your study?
Work, loan, parents
premaster strategic innovation management
call centre agent
Income: 1,800 euros a month
Crystabelle Meulens knows it can be difficult to juggle studies and a side job. She used to work at Primark, but had to eventually quit her job. ‘Even though I just worked for about sixteen hours a week, it felt way longer because it took me three hours in total to go back and forth because I live in Winschoten,’ she says.
I had to live on bread and butter for about two weeks
The premaster student strategic innovation management has now found a part-time job at a call centre for a phone provider that she can do from home. That way she can make about twenty hours per week. ‘If you want to buy or end a subscription you will probably get me on the line,’ says Crystabelle smiling.
In the past, Crystabelle has experienced the struggle of financing her studies, like many others. ‘I had to live on bread and butter for about two weeks in the past because it was the only thing that was affordable,’ she says. Eventually, she realised she couldn’t go on like this and asked her parents for help. ‘I can’t imagine how I would have survived that if I didn’t have the option to ask them,’ she adds.
Luna de Rou
European languages and cultures
Iza de Wilde
no side job
Income: 890 euros a month
Luna de Rouw, who studies European languages and cultures, does get support from the Dutch government to finance her studies and borrows the maximum amount of money each month. ‘I get about 890 euros and I’m able to pay everything with this,’ she says. Her studies take up so much time that she doesn’t have time to work, which is why Luna works at a pancake house on one of the Dutch islands during the summer months.
I don’t like to ask, but sometimes I have to borrow money from my parents
She and her friend Iza de Wilde have heard of unconventional ways to earn money, such as selling pictures of their feet. But that’s not something they’re considering doing themselves, they say. ‘I’m not that desperate yet,’ says Luna.
Iza also borrows the maximum amount. ‘At the end of each month there is nothing left,’ she says. ‘I don’t like to ask, but sometimes I also have to borrow money from my parents.’ The medical student tries to save money – her goal is to put about ninety euros aside at the end of each month – but she rarely manages this; she usually ends up spending the money.
international and European law
looking for work
Income: 2,000 to 2,500 euros a month
Syahna Sasyifa has just started with her studies in international and European law but has already experienced what it’s like to be broke. ‘I’m pretty much down to do any job but I’m not sure how to get one because I would need to speak Dutch to work in a café or a restaurant,’ she says. Because she wants to be financially independent, Syahna is still looking for a side job.
There was a time where I barely had any cash left because I used up the sum my parents gave me
Syahna was lucky enough that her parents in Indonesia were able to finance a big chunk of her studies. Because she came to Groningen from outside of the EU, her parents had to advance a hefty amount of money: in addition to transferring a year’s worth of living costs, they had to cover the tuition as well. In total this sum amounted to about twenty thousand euros.
‘After that, my parents said they won’t give me much money in the first few months of my studies,’ says Syahna. ‘I’m good now, because I got the money back from the university, eventually. But there was a time where I barely had any cash left because I used up the sum my parents gave me initially.’
Income: 1,500 euros a month
Student of business administration Ibrahim A’mema has had multiple side jobs and likes to use freelancing platforms like Temper and YoungOnes. On these platforms, people looking to pick up single shifts can match with companies. The jobs range from hospitality to retail, and cleaning.
I had to either put boxes on the conveyor belt or take them off of it: it made me feel braindead
Ibrahim has had more than a hundred shifts using these websites, he says. These jobs pay well, on average nineteen euros per hour. Another benefit of these temporary gigs is that freelancers get their salary within three days, instead of having to wait until the end of the month.
But the work is often tedious. ‘When a lot of things were closed because of corona there weren’t that many options. I had a job in Zwolle at a DHL package centre but it was the most boring job ever. I had to either put boxes on the conveyor belt or take them off of it. It made me feel braindead,’ he says.
Another job, which had Ibrahim delivering televisions all over The Netherlands and Belgium, nearly killed him. ‘I woke up at 5 a.m. and then worked for almost twenty-four hours straight without a break. I got in a car accident. The car overturned because I fell asleep behind the steering wheel when I was driving about 100 kilometres an hour. Luckily, nothing happened to me. Afterwards they fired me,’ says Ibrahim.
international relations and global communication
was a night club promoter
Erasmus student Eloísa Machado is lucky to get funds from the Spanish government to finance her studies. When she was in Madrid, she didn’t want to touch these funds yet, but she did want to be able to go out to the more expensive clubs. So she got herself a side job. In a nightclub.
We always got paid in cash and everyone kind of knew that they were laundering money
Eloísa worked at the only nightclub in Madrid that is open from Monday through to Sunday. She worked shifts behind the bar and as a promoter. In the second position, she was essentially paid to go out. ‘I made about fifty euros a night just by being at the club,’ she says. The idea was that she brings more paying partygoers inside ‘so it looks like it’s crowded with pretty girls,’ she explains.
Sounds like easy money. But: ‘It was really shady,’ she adds. ‘We always got paid in cash that was in envelopes and everyone kind of knew that they were laundering money,’ says Eloísa. ‘There were also multiple police riots,’ she adds.