Friday, November 1, 2013

Greek Kindergarten Teacher in Stockholm

Working with children in Sweden

Having studied, lived and worked in a greek island, Rhodes, 
Stella decided to transfer her life in a different country. 
This is the way she found to combine two of her greatest loves: children and travelling.

Name:  Papalexi Stella
Age:    24
From:  Athens, Greece
To:      Stockholm, Sweden
For:    Work (kindergarten teacher)

1. Why Sweden?

"I had done a project to my college about the educational system in Sweden and I really wanted to be a part of it. Furthermore, the opportunities in Sweden are more than in Greece and the quality of life is better."

2. Your life before your decision to live.

"I was leaving in a greek island and I was working as a kindergarten teacher but I was feeling stuck. The economical crisis doesn’t let you to be financial independent and do more things as well like travelling."

3. How easy was to find a job in Sweden
Were there any bureaucratic difficulties?

"It is not easy at all to find a job in Sweden. It is really essential to speak Swedish. There are few jobs that you can do speaking only English. I am lucky because as a kindergarten teacher I can work in English schools or in families with bilingual children. 
To register as a Swedish citizen you have to get the Personal Number. This is the most important thing to have rights in Sweden. Without that number you can’t study Swedish in the public school for foreigners called SFI (Svenska For Invandrare ) which means Swedish For Immigrants. Then without Swedish you can’t get a job and without a job you can’t get the personal number, your Swedish identity. It is a circle and imagine for EU citizens is easier to get the number. That’s why the most of the greek people here they work in cleaning companies as cleaners and the most of these companies are greek. It is hard but admirable as well when you meet people in the same age with you, with bachelors and masters, who need to do that job until to learn Swedish. When you get the decision to emigrate you have to be ready to face everything and start from the beginning."

"Oxi" day
4. The working environment.

"I work as an Au Pair here which means that I live with a family and I help them with their children. I have free accommodation and food and a salary.  I help them in their everyday life, I help the children in their English and greek lessons and I talk to them in greek because their mother comes from Greece and she wants them to speak in greek as well. At the same time I study Swedish for kindergarten teachers in SIFA program which is the same with SFI but for academics and they focus to each labour sector. What is more I work as a kindergarten teacher on Saturdays to the greek school."


5. Your favourite activities with the children.

"We like very much to cook together. We play football, basketball and games on the board."

6. The Greek community in the city.

"There are three greek communities in Stockholm and two greek schools."

7. The most difficult thing to get used to in Stockholm.

"The most difficult thing is the cold and the dark during the winter."

School's 90th anniversary
8. The most extra-ordinary thing about Sweden.

"The sun goes down at one o’ clock at night during the summer."

9. How easy was to find a place to stay? Is there relevant state welfare?

"When I first came here I stayed in a city two hours way from Stockholm in a house I had found when I was in Greece. In Stockholm the biggest problem is the accommodation. There are no apartments to stay and the most of the citizens stay in second hand apartments. That means that someone who has an apartment and will be away for some months or year, rent the apartment to someone else. This is illegal but is the only way to find accommodation. In addition the person who needs the apartment knows that in some months has to look for another one. In Stockholm the prices for rents are really expensive even to the “low” areas but if you want to live here you don’t have any choise. It is very common to have a roommate or to rent just a room in someone else’s apartment."

10. What do you see from your window?

"I see the back side of the house that I live, a big beautiful garden."

11. The people of the city in 3 words.

"Kind, limited and moody."

12. The best thing to do alone in the city.

"Walking in Gamla Stan or in Slussen by the port."

13. The Swedish food.

"They use a lot of crème in their food  and they eat a lot of salmon. Their food in general is not very interesting but it’s nice. They have really tasty sweets and nice chocolate .The children are allowed to eat sweets only on Saturdays."

14. What is exceptional about the Swedish educational system, on the degree you have experienced it.

Learning the alphabet
"It is more organized than in Greece. They are more careful in keeping a clean environment for the kids and those are more free in school. They try for the children to be more in contact with the nature and whichever the weather conditions are, they will play outside. They give rights to well education to everyone. At the high school the students learn to cook, to build and to make or fix things and furnitures for the house. They prepare the children for their life and they do not stress them about what they are going to do with their future."

15. Your thoughts about going back to Greece.

"Even if your life is better in another place than it was  before, you always miss your country. Your family, your friends, the place, the smells... I have in mind that I will return but first I want to experience different things and unfortunately Greece doesn’t give you the chance right now."

16. The most important lesson you have learned by living abroad.

"The most important lesson for me is the help that people gave me without knowing me. There is a connection between emigrants. The old generation of Greek emigrants help a lot the new one. The new ones help each other. We feel sympathy for each other and this is a way to say thank you."

1 comment:

  1. My name is Naoko, a kindergarten teacher in Japan. I'm interested in your blog!!
    I wanna work in Sweden as a kindergarten teacher like you. I'm applying for my visa and waiting for the reply from immigration office.
    I heard that if you really wanna work as a kindergarten teacher, you have to enter Swedish university.. Don't you?