Career Roadmap for International Students

What it is all about

Hey there! The Student Career Roadmap is a practical, customisable, and individualised tool we have developed in order to guide you through the steps leading to your job in Saarland, Germany and Europe. It works like a checklist and a map: you check the knowledge you possess so far, you identify the elements that you still need to integrate into your path and you create a series of interconnected milestones you want to achieve to reach your final destination: integration in your new society through the job you want. These milestones spread over time throughout your studies. Some of them will be crossed during your first days and weeks, while reaching others will take some more time. And don’t worry if you do not have an answer to every step of the map. You can count on us during the whole process! This Roadmap is a customisable support tool personalised to your needs, your field of studies and your professional goals.

Now it is time to explore the stages composing the Roadmap!

The Roadmap's Stages

First Stage: Planning Ahead

Getting informed: the basics for your new student life in Germany

Exploring your new environment will allow you to adapt much easier to your new surroundings. The more you know your surroundings, the more you will be ready to take advantage of what is there for you, but also how you can contribute to it, be it through a new student job, as a volunteer for a social cause or through your studies and research.

Pro Tips:

Setting your goals from the very beginning

Having an idea of what your goals are will help you identify the steps leading to them. This requires reflecting on how you see yourself in the next couple of years, that is, during and after your studies. Are you planning to do an exchange semester or internship? Are you staying in Germany once you complete your degree? What could be the steps that could be taken to reach your professional goal? How do your personal, social, and professional goals interact and influence each other? You will reflect on all these questions and more during the three-day-workshop "Design Your Student Life". The tools learned during this workshop will be useful for the rest of your life and applicable to all aspects.

Registration for "Design Your Student Life" workshop

Preparing for a job: application documents

Application documents are the basis for any internship or job you apply to. Knowing the specificities of these documents here in Germany will increase your chances of getting the position you want. We have a special section exclusively on this matter, where we give you tips for a complete and professional CV, cover letter and other elements related to internship applications. We strongly encourage you to have a look at it. 

Application Tips

Working in Germany: legal framework for international students

Depending on your country of origin, there are some regulations you need to consider before applying for a job. In a nutshell, if you are from an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, you can normally work as much as German students. If you are a national of any other country, you cannot work more than 120 full days or 240 half days per year. Good news: this limit doesn’t apply if you work as a student assistant at a university. If you want or have to surpass this limit, you must contact the Federal Employment Agency to get their authorization.

If you are a non-EU citizen about to complete your studies or have recently obtained your diploma, you can apply for a residence permit for the purpose of seeking employment valid for up to 18 months. For detailed information on the subject, please contact the university’s Welcome Center or the Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde) directly. You can also visit the following websites:

Study In Germany: Earning money during your studies

Make it in Germany: Prospects after graduation

Immigration Office

Income Tax
Every employed person in Germany has to pay taxes according to their income. However, if you earn 450€ per month or less, you do not have to pay taxes. This also applies if you have scholarships or grants (e.g.: DAAD). Moreover, if you earn less than 9.408€ per year, you will get back the taxes you paid if you submit an income tax return to the tax authorities.

Pension Insurance
All employees in Germany must make a contribution from their earnings to the state pension scheme. Usually this amounts to 9.45% of your income. However, if your income is:

  • lower than 450€/month, you are exempted from the contribution.
  • between 450€ and 850€/month, or if you work more than 20 working hours per week, you pay a lower contribution.
  • higher than 850€/month, you will pay the full share of 9.45 %.

Health Insurance/Nursing Care Insurance

Even if they have a side job, students are usually insured as students and not as employees. In this case, they do not have to make any income related contributions towards health insurance. However, if you work more than 20 hours per week, you have to pay a contribution to a health insurance. Clarify this beforehand with your employer!

Unemployment Insurance

Students do not normally pay unemployment insurance contributions. This means that they cannot claim unemployment benefit if they lose their side job.

Second Stage: Benefiting from the services and transitioning into your professional life


There are various services on and off campus that counsel students on a wide variety of topics, such as internships and applications, studying abroad, employment and immigration affairs, among others. Do not hesitate to contact them if you have any question related to those fields.

Career Center's Counselling Services

International Office

Federal Employment Agency - Campus Bureau

European Employment Service (EURES-Großregion)


Immigration Office

Searching for a job

Online job portals and recruitment fairs are among the best ways to find an internship or a job. The Career Center offers both services: a Career Portal as well as the Career Fair "next". For both of them you need to register and create an account. For more details, please visit the webpages. Moreover, there are external online portals such as that of the Federal Employment Agency, which displays job offers from all over Germany.

Career Portal

Career Fair "next"

Federal Employment Agency Job Board

Enhancing your key skills: events and workshops for you

Registering for courses and workshops that help you develop your language, writing, intercultural and soft skills is a great way of taking action towards reaching your goals. Have a look at the offers of each of the following services, while paying special attention to registration deadlines. All of these courses and workshops are free of charge for Saarland University students (unless otherwise indicated). 

Career Center's Events

International Studies Centre Saar (ISZ-Saar)

Center for Lifelong Learning (ZeIL)

Language Center (for languages other than German)


Extending your network in your new society is of utmost importance, and you can do so in a wide variety of ways.

Pro Tips:

Downloading and Editing your Checklist

Any Questions? Contact Us!

Cyra Sammtleben

Quality Management Studies and Practice, International Students
Education and Quality Assurance Devision
Building A4 4 (Campus Center) | Room 2.05
0681 302-3865
Office hours: Monday to Thursday, 7:00 - 15:30


Níkolas Gómez

Student Assistant
0681 302-71280

Office hours: Tuesday, 7:00 - 12:00; Thursday 7:00 - 11:00