Because there is no standard recognition procedure for the occupation of ‘political scientist’, Emma Jover García was absolutely delighted to receive official certificate evaluation of her degree qualification.
“Don‘t worry, Mom, I’ll be back in a year at the most.” These were the words used by Emma Jover García to comfort her concerned mother at Barcelona Airport. This was 17 years ago. At the time, Emma Jover García was 23 years old and on her way to Germany to take up a job as an au pair. The North of Germany has been her home ever since. “My mother has had to come to terms with the situation,” she laughs.
Having completed her studies in political science in Barcelona, Emma’s aim was to visit Germany in order to improve her German. “Whilst I was looking for a reciprocal language learning partner, I met a new boyfriend and decided to stay in Germany for the time being.”
After working as an au pair for six months, Emma found a job with a Spanish company group in Bremen. She was able to make perfect use of her knowledge of German and Spanish to assist with customer contact. She went on to work for two further companies in the Bremen area. “It was always important to me not to reduce my role to that of a translator or interpreter,” explains Emma, who is now 40 years old. She addressed her continuing professional development from the very start and quickly expanded her area of activity.
Emma Jover García did not learn of the opportunity of seeking a certificate evaluation from the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) until after the new Recognition Act entered into force in April 2012. This law does not, however, regulate the recognition of higher education qualifications. Her ‘occupation’ of political scientist is not regulated in the same way as professions such as doctor, and she is also perfectly entitled to work in Germany without official recognition.
Nevertheless, recognition of her degree had always been an unresolved issue which she wished to settle. “The certificate evaluation finally provided me with an official document to include in my applications that showed my qualification in black and white. That’s simply a good feeling!” explains Emma Jover García. Only a few months after receiving the certificate evaluation, Emma was able to make a career change. Since September 2014, she has been working at the Coordination Agency for Migration and Participation in the local government district of Heidekreis.“I’m looking forward to the new challenges that will face me in an area that is very close to my heart. This is a field in which I have been doing voluntary work for many years,” she says.
Before submitting her certificate evaluation application to the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB), Emma Jover García sought advice from the “Integration through Training” (IQ) Network in Soltau. She initially received telephone information on which documentation she required. “I had to have the copy of my degree certificate officially certified and obtain further documentation such as my upper secondary school leaving certificate”. This process took almost six months due to the fact that she also needed to fly to Spain on one occasion. “I then has a personal meeting with the IQ advisor, during which we filled in and sent off the application.” Emma was very happy with the support she got from the ZAB. “Even though processing took a relatively long amount of time because of the high level of demand, I was regularly kept up-to-date with the latest status of my application. They asked me to be patient.” The ZAB now (since the end of April 2014) issues certificate evaluation within three months.
The current fee charged for certificate evaluation by the ZAB is €200. Emma incurred further costs for translations and certifications and for flights to Spain to procure documentation. “It was definitely worth the money. I’m glad that I now have the official document and no longer need to provide potential employers with long-winded explanations of my university degree,” says Emma.
She is now able to pass on her knowledge and experience in both her professional and personal environment. She particularly warmly recommends the “Recognition Finder”: “One of my acquaintances, for example, was able to see whom she needed to contact with her enquiry whilst still in her home country of the Ukraine. She can even submit her application from abroad. The Recognition Finder and the other information available on the website provide fantastic preparation,” says Emma Jover García.
The interview with Emma Jover García was conducted in August 2014. Prior to making her application for certificate evaluation, she received particular guidance and support from the IQ Recognition Advisory Centre at the Educational Institute of Trade and Industry in Lower Saxony Lüneburg (mobile advisory service available in Soltau).