Last year’s Breaking News Editor Suzanne Craig chronicles her adventures while studying abroad in Sweden.
This leads to money-saving efforts. Walking instead of taking the bus, remembering to bring reusable bags instead of paying two kroner for a plastic bag when you shop, small things like that. Another idea was to get a job.
Getting a job in a foreign country where you don’t speak the native language is pretty difficult. Depending on your skill set and what you want to get out of it, you could just be out of luck. Thankfully, my main concern was the high cost of food and boredom. Spending hours a day consciously wondering ‘Should I really go for another run around the lake’ is not conducive to immersing yourself in a culture. It’s conducive to going insane.
On campus there were a few student-run options for me. Getting paid directly wasn’t in the cards with the work visa requirements being very strict for American citizens. Thankfully the student-run café needed volunteers for the evening shift and their incentives were free coffee and tea while working as well as a free meal and some snacks. There were also discount cards given every time you took a shift.
At first I signed up for a shift every other week or so, just to see if it was worth it. But the food and company were great so I signed up for more so I’m now usually signed up for two shifts a week. After around three days one of the supervisors said, ‘Hey, you should be a shift leader’.
First I made sure they knew my Swedish left a lot to be desired, but after they assured me it was no problem and told me the benefits, I was sold. Free coffee and tea whenever I wanted, and a twenty-five percent discount on every purchase, not just the ones I had a coupon for. As well as the whole free food and snacks when I was actually working.
So this week was the first incarnation of Suzanne the Shift Leader and it went smoothly. It helped that it was a Thursday night and there was a party going on at the student-run club, making the place pretty dead. I spent most of the time working on a crafts project and drinking hot chocolate since I couldn’t start cleaning until eight.
Making it even more official, I got a set of keys today so I could lock up without stealing the spare key from its hiding place and then waking up early to return it the next day. The better part about being a shift leader? You’re in the front of the pack for covering day-shift jobs when workers can’t make it. Those are paid positions, below minimum wage so no work-visa required as long as you don’t cover more than 40 hours a week. The café day-shift doesn’t even hit 40 hours a week, so no worries there.
Currently there’s a paid spot with my name on it Nov. 1 and a few more nights in October with free dinners earmarked. The quest to make balancing my checkbook a little less painful wasn’t entirely successful, but I still count it as a win.