Olga Gotjur is a teacher of German and English who came to Germany from Ukraine at the beginning of 2015. It only took Olga a few months to obtain a positive recognition notice, and she now teaches at the Johannes Kepler Community School in Mannheim.
Olga Gotjur was born in Kazakhstan and is of half-German descent. She was familiar with Germany because of the stories of family members who emigrated there in 1990 as “late resettlers” (immigrants of German origin from the states of Eastern Europe and from the former Soviet Union). She, however, went with her mother to the Ukraine, where she completed a degree in German at a University of Education and went on to work as a teacher at a general secondary school. 29-year old Olga had always harboured a strong wish to live and work in Germany. “Germany always fascinated me, and I had learned so much about the country at school.”
The dream became a reality in February 2015, when Olga arrived in the country with her husband and daughter, also as part of the late resettler programme. She did not, however, hold out much hope of being able to work as a teacher. For this reason, she completed a C1 German course at the Otto Benecke Foundation in Heidelberg and hatched plans to go on to a further course of higher education study. Then fate intervened. “My husband was doing an integration course at the Catholic Family Education Institute. His teacher also acted as an advisor for persons with foreign higher education qualifications, and she arranged for us to get in touch with ikubiz.
The ikubiz Intercultural Educational Centre in Mannheim advises and supports migrants like the Gotjurs who are seeking professional or occupational recognition. “I went along to the Educational Centre with documentation from my husband, who is an engineer. The advisor there, Maryam Shariat, also took the time to provide me with some guidance. It was her idea to submit a recognition application to Tübingen Regional Council.” Olga received her assessment notice only ten days later, and the result of the certificate comparison came as something of a surprise. “I don’t know how many times I read the letter. It said that my Ukrainian teaching qualification for the subjects of German and English at middle schools is comparable to qualified teacher status at technical secondary schools, lower secondary schools and intermediate secondary schools in Baden-Württemberg. Unbelievable.”
The first stage of the process had been achieved, but Olga Gotjur was thinking ahead. “It’s not enough just to be in possession of recognition. You need to know what to do with it next.” Olga spent four months observing at the Johannes Kepler Community School in Mannheim and applied to Karlsruhe Regional Council for a permanent position at the school. And her application was successful. She now teaches preparatory courses in German to pupils of various nationalities aged between 10 and 15. Olga is blossoming in her job. “I cannot imagine a life without lesson plans, teaching and pupils. I am so happy at being able to work as a teacher in Germany.” Olga’s husband has now also achieved recognition as an engineer. “We’ve now both truly arrived,” she concludes with a smile.
The interview with Olga Gotjur was conducted in November 2017. During the recognition procedure, she received advice and support from the ikubiz Intercultural Educational Centre in Mannheim, a sub-project of the Baden-Württemberg IQ Network.