After finishing her studies, Kirsten was working as a primary school teacher in ‘a great job’ in her home country of the Netherlands. ‘I had a really nice apartment and I liked my life,’ she says. ‘But I still had my dream to move to Sweden.’
Kirsten saw a job advertisement through EURES, looking for a teacher in Sweden. ‘It wasn’t necessary to speak perfect Swedish, so I thought “this is my chance”.’
With the help of EURES, she found a job in the Mora Municipality, where she has been since January 2018.
Similarities and differences
Merlijn Scheperboer, another Dutch EURES beneficiary, has also been working as a teacher in the Mora Municipality since August 2017. For Merlijn, however, the choice to work in Sweden was a more practical one.
Merlijn was studying in the Swedish city of Linköping in 2017 when she received a ‘wonderful opportunity’. ‘I had never thought about staying after my studies, so I wasn’t even searching for a job’, admits Merlijn.
Nevertheless, she decided to take the chance, as she knew it would be difficult for her to find a full-time teaching job in her region of the Netherlands. ‘All I could have done was to be a substitute teacher, with no security at all.’
‘After the government raised the retirement age, older teachers had to work longer and there were few places for younger teachers. That was not the case in the whole country, but it was the case in the area where I lived.’
‘We need to look beyond borders’
According to Lara Feller, the EURES Adviser at the Swedish Public Employment Service Arbetsförmedlingen who advised Kirsten and Merlijn, Arbetsförmedlingen has been cooperating closely with the Municipality of Mora since 2016.
‘We are facing a worrying shortage of teachers in Sweden and we need to look beyond borders,’ Lara explains.
‘As I myself speak Dutch, and we have seen that the Dutch in general do not have much trouble learning the language, it was the first country of choice.
‘I wrote an advertisement in Dutch and advertised on social media, and I soon came in contact with Kirsten and Merlijn. We invited them over for an interview, showed them around a school and around town, and they got job offers.’
‘EURES helped me with almost everything’
Lara and EURES helped with various aspects of the teachers’ moves – ‘almost everything’, as Merlijn puts it.
‘Lara Feller speaks Dutch, just like me. So it was really easy to communicate with her,’ says Kirsten. ‘Besides helping me with getting a job, she helped to find an apartment.’
‘I would absolutely recommend EURES to other people,’ says Kirsten. ‘I got all the help I needed and Lara is still interested in me and how my job [is going].’
‘I really appreciated the help of EURES and I would definitely recommend the organisation to anyone who is thinking about moving abroad,’ agrees Merlijn.
‘When you come to a new country, many things are a little bit different and you don’t know where to go or what to prioritise. EURES is a very good support to help you get going.’
If you’re interested in working abroad, why not contact your local EURES Adviser today?
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