A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Many people arrive in Leiden hoping to get a part time job to supplement whatever meagre savings they bring with them as a student. However, it really is not so simple. When I arrived I started looking for jobs almost immediately, assuming that my years of experience standing behind a till and looking sullen would guarantee me a shop job. I was encouraged by the fact that ‘help wanted’ signs are often written in English. My hopes were quickly and mercilessly dashed as I was told that without fluent Dutch I would never again experience the joy of once again standing behind a till looking sullen.
I then tried the expat bars and pubs where I could utilise my years of experience of carrying plates and looking sullen. Sadly there were no jobs, I assume because all the other hard up English types had the same idea. I have been told that native English speakers have less trouble finding work in Amsterdam but sadly as a non-Dutch student I don’t have free student travel so that wasn’t economically viable. So for some time I gave up the search.
In a previous blog I wrote about my trip to the casino. Whilst there I had the good fortune to talk to someone who suggested I try looking for work as an au pair, aka, Mary Poppins. The next day I signed up on an au pair website and a few days later I was offered a job starting in December. What swung it for me was my native English speaking skills and, dare I say it, rather lovely accent.
So my advice for you:
1) Start looking IMMEDIATELY
2) If you want to stay long term then take up Dutch because without it you are useless to society (apparently)
3) Take out Dutch health insurance because you cannot work in an office etc. without it
4) If you are native English speaking give nannying a go, it’s your best bet
5) Also you could try teaching English but I personally have no background in it and don’t really want to take money off people for sub-par ‘lessons’
6) If you have the means you could try shops in Amsterdam or possibly The Hague
It’s not impossible, just don’t expect it to be easy. Good luck!