The trained physiotherapist Andelina Budimir left her home country of Croatia in 2014 in order to seek out new professional opportunities in Germany. She obtained full recognition of her qualification in January 2016 and is permanently employed at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Clinic.
Andelina Budimir has achieved her goal. She works as a physiotherapist at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Clinic and thoroughly enjoys her work. “I love my job and I’m delighted that I’m finally able to work as a physiotherapist in Germany. I have found my dream job.” However, the route to success was not as easy as she thought. In Croatia, Andelina Budimir had completed a four-year programme of training as a physiotherapist and a recognition year at a hospital. Nevertheless, she felt that the prospects in her home country were not very promising. Whilst on a visit to Hamburg in 2013, she made at appointment at the Counselling Centre for Recognition of Qualifications (Zentrale Anlaufstelle Anerkennung - ZAA). This enabled her to find out about the necessary stages involved in obtaining recognition of her foreign vocational qualification. One year later, she moved to Hamburg to live near her aunt. “I couldn’t speak a word of German and didn’t believe I would ever be able to learn the language. But then I attended a B1 course. That worked out well and I was then ready for the next step.”
The 26-year old then returned to the ZAA, which helped her to apply to Hamburg’s scholarship programme to cover the costs of a special B2 course. In order to work in the occupation in which she had trained, Andelina needed to obtain authorisation to practise. For this reason, she submitted an application for recognition to the Authority for Health and Consumer Protection (Behörde für Gesundheit und Verbraucherschutz - BGV) in July 2014. When her documentation was checked, substantial differences were identified between the Croatian and German training. In order to ascertain these deficits in more precise terms, Andelina Budimir took part in a competence assessment procedure. She was informed of the results of this via a notice issued in April 2015, which also recommended that she should take part in six months of refresher training for the healthcare occupations within the scope of an IQ Project staged at the Academy for Training and Career at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Clinic (UKE) (UKE-Akademie für Bildung und Karriere am Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf). Andelina is an ambitious young woman, and she passed her adaptation period with flying colours. The programme focused on various deployments in the clinical areas of the UKE as well as including practical teaching and workshops. She received support from specialist lecturers, mentors, language teachers and colleagues. “During this time, I learned the German terminology and how to deal and communicate with doctors and patients. It helped me a lot.”
Although this was a highly instructive period for Andelina Budimir, it was also a real test of her nerves. “I couldn’t work in my occupation without achieving recognition. I was constantly worried about what to do next if I failed to obtain this recognition.” Her fears were unfounded. She was accorded full recognition in January 2016 and secured employment at a physiotherapy practice one month later. She has been working at the University Clinic since August and can now look back in satisfaction. “I was surprised at how long it took, but all the effort was worthwhile in the end.”
The interview with Andelina Budimir was conducted in January 2018. She was advised and supported in the recognition procedure by the Hamburg Authority for Health and Consumer Protection. During her refresher training, Andelina received assistance from two sub-projects forming part of the IQ Network Hamburg – NOBI. These were the Counselling Centre for Recognition of Qualifications (ZAA) run by the Hamburg Social Welfare Organisation of the Protestant Churches and the UKE Academy for Training and Career at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Clinic.