Working whilst studying a masters degree in Barcelona

Working whilst studying in Barcelona - An interview with a German Masters student

Welcome to my brand new blog and already blog numero 5!

 

Below, we’ll be covering a very interesting topic – having a job whilst studying. As everyone knows, living and studying abroad can cost a lot of money and lots of students are looking for part-time jobs. But the question that’s on everyone’s mind is ‘what is it really like to work whilst studying?’

 

In this blog I am interviewing a friend of mine (Riekje Cordes), who worked during her Masters degree in Barcelona. She will share her experience in it’s entirety, from the ups and the downs, to useful tips you need to know about working in a start-up whilst studying.

 

Hopefully this blog/interview will give you more clarity about how working alongside studying is for students in Barcelona, and will give you an overview on the pros and cons of choosing to do this.

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Maud in Barcelona.

Riekje Cordes

M.A. Corporate Communication Management @EAE Business School

24 years old, from Germany. Passions: learning new languages and about other cultures, these were my primary reasons to go to Barcelona. I love spending time with my friends, meeting new international people, playing sports of course and travelling.

Where and what are you studying?

I am studying Corporate Communication in Spanish at the EAE Business School in Barcelona. I did a specialisation in Neuromarketing (also in Spanish) and am now writing my Masters thesis.

Where did you work besides studying?

It’s called Clouberry, this is a German start-up located in Munich. My position in this company was that I was responsible for manufacturing development. It was a remote job in Germany; so I worked from home in Barcelona.

 

I was a working student, which is very common in Germany; this means I am working part-time alongside my studies.

How did you get this job?

My friend recommended the position to me (she is also from Germany). She found the position advertised on the internet on a site called ‘Campusjäger’.

How many hours did you work besides studying?

I would say 15-20 hours a week. I did this directly after going to college. I had to structure my day well, so I went to class from 9-2, had a little lunch break and worked from 14:30 – 18:30. After work I would take a little break and then do school work and presentations at night time, which was tough sometimes.

What are the pros of working besides studying?

  • Gaining work experience in a start-up – I really wanted to have work experience in a startup, to be able to get to know the structures of a startup company and compare what this was like to working in a larger company. I liked the company’s business concept as well as it was sustainable and innovative. 
  • What is nice about a start-up is that you have the opportunity to take on a lot of responsibility which is super cool and that you are really integrated in all the processes. You feel like you can really can make a difference in the team.
  • Having the flexibility of working remotely.
  • Applying 3 languages in my job.

What are the COns?

  • Although it is nice to have the flexibility of working from home, I do prefer going to the office as I am a very social person.
  • There can be missing structures in the start-up.
  • Working alongside doing a full-time Masters degree which contains a lot of projects, group work, assignments and exams can be very time consuming. I had the feeling that I could never complete my work for my university tasks. Because my university course is also in Spanish and I am not a native Spanish speaker, coursework and projects can take more time to complete.
  • There isn’t a balanced work-life lifestyle. It was hard and exhausting sometimes due to the long working hours and the full time Masters programme. I didn’t have that much free time which meant I didn’t have much time to discover the city and travel and do nice things with friends.

Will this working experience help you in the future you think?

Yes definitely, especially due to the extremely valuable experience I got from getting to work in another type of company with fewer colleagues. I felt like I could evaluate what kind of job I want and what type of company I want to work for when I complete my Masters.

Would you recommend working besides studying?

I would recommend working while studying because you can easily understand all the content that you are learning and apply this directly. But make sure your Masters degree allows you to work. Mine was too intense to be able to finish and meet all my objectives both at university and work. 

 

I would keep this in mind and focus on one thing at a time, instead of focusing on too much. If you are studying for longer than 1 year and the program allows you, I would recommend working because of all the pros I already mentioned above!

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