"...I finally realised how valuable my previous work experiences are: I have lived and worked in three different countries and I worked together with people from different cultural backgrounds. Working in an international community made me thrive. Not only did I learn a lot about myself but it also enabled me to teach people about the beauty we find in our differences."
"Hej! Jag heter Andrea" and I came to Sweden as the result of a promise I gave my husband. When we got married I promised him to move with our family from South Africa to Europe once he has landed a job. Our family has moved to Malmö in December 2021.
My hometown is Dresden in Germany. After growing up in the German Democratic Republic with no or only limited opportunities to travel, I knew that I needed to start an adventure and move abroad. After I have finished studying Social Pedagogics, I gained some working experience in my profession in the education field. To start a job at an aftercare centre in Windhoek, Namibia, was an opportunity I would not want to miss. Later, a job opportunity opened up at the "Deutsche Internationale Schule" in Johannesburg, South Africa. Here I found my passion for teaching and used every chance to train my skills.
In order to make my husband's dream come true I gave up my dream job as a primary school teacher at a wonderful school with an incredibly diverse community. In Sweden I found myself in an unknown situation - starting a new life in an unknown amazing country and being unemployed. Although I have experiences in moving to new countries, this was the first time I experienced unemployment. So my plan of action contained two important points: 1) making sure my son integrates well at school and feels at home quickly and 2) learn the Swedish language as fast and effective as possible.
A short time after our arrival in Sweden I got connected to the International Citizen Hub Lund and was happy to be able to participate in the Kick-Start Program Spring 2022. Not only did I meet wonderful people who found themselves in a similar situation but I also got a lot of important information and knowledge which would have taken me ages to gain on my own. During the program I also felt my plan of action being confirmed as the right path to follow. When listening to the presentations about the Swedish and Danish work place culture I finally realised how valuable my previous work experiences are: I have lived and worked in three different countries and I worked together with people from different cultural backgrounds. Working in an international community made me thrive. Not only did I learn a lot about myself but it also enabled me to teach people about the beauty we find in our differences.
So far - after the first 3 months in Sweden, I am proud to say that the two points from my plan of action have developed into a positive direction: 1) My son likes his school and our family feels at home already and 2) I have gained basic Swedish language skills and I am continuing with the “D-kurs” at SFI. I feel great and ready to take on the next challenge.
/ Andrea Schmidt-van Niekerk