Sun, Sea and EURES…the alternative student summer holiday!

05.11.2008

Students often need summer jobs, but that does not mean they need to be boring! Have a look at how a Finnish student earned money over the summer working in the north of Germany thanks to EURES. Janina Laaksonen was born in Turku, Finland but already at 21 is no stranger to living abroad. She is currently living in Lund, Sweden where she is studying economics at the university. This summer she decided to leave both Sweden and Finland behind for a three month adventure to the north of Germany to work as a waitress in a coastal holiday resort in Grömitz, Schleswig-Holstein.

Along with her academic training in economics Janina’s language skills are also impressive: Swedish is her mother tongue and she has an excellent command of Finnish, English and German. “I have always enjoyed a challenge and I also want to do what is best for me. I came to study in Sweden because the courses offered here appealed to me more than the ones in Finland.” This was not Janina’s first extended stay in Germany either: after finishing high school she spent a year in Northeim, Niedersachsen living with a family as an au pair. “I really enjoyed my time there and it helped my German a lot, so when I saw the opportunity to return to Germany this summer I jumped at the chance.”

Janina’s waitressing job was advertised on the EURES section of the Finnish Employment Services website and the application process was very simple as all that was required was for Janina to fill out an on-line application form. Recruitment was coordinated by Annette Zellmer, a German EURES Adviser and once Janina’s skills had been matched to a position she had a telephone interview with her future employers. Her language skills, motivation and confidence clearly impressed them because shortly after that her contract arrived in the post.

“I have always worked during the summer holidays to earn some money for the year to come and this job seemed perfect: I could earn money while practising my German and make lots of new friends because I would be working in a holiday resort.” Janina worked in the Strandhalle Grömitz and her work included making cocktails and serving ice-creams and drinks in the terrace bar. She had a full schedule, working between eight and ten hours a day, six days a week and she absolutely loved it: “I have had such a fantastic summer; I would recommend this experience to everyone. It’s a great international environment, I’ve been using my German and English and we have had so much fun!”

Janina believes that with this collaboration between EURES, herself, and her employer Stephan Kohler of Strandhalle Grömitz everyone is a winner: she has earned money (particularly because her accommodation was included as part of her contract), had an international experience and made new friends and the bar has benefitted from her enthusiasm, experience and dedication to her work.

As the holiday season ends it is back to studying for Janina, but next summer she thinks that she will once again head abroad for her summer work, maybe to an English speaking country this time. In the long term although she does not know exactly what she wants to do professionally she is sure that it will be abroad, for at least a couple of years, and Germany is currently top of the list of potential destinations!

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