Many friends envy me this idea: You fly into an exotic environment and work a little bit on the side. That’s how they must imagine my activities in the Philippine island paradise. There is no other way to explain their shining eyes and excited voices as a reaction to my professional intermezzo. But the reality is slightly different.
At the beginning there is always a long, very long flight.
In the past I have had the opportunity to make different experiences with different airlines and flight routes. As a typical German, I have to admit, I turn up my nose when shoes are taken off in a confined space ignoring the possibility of cheese foot alarm or when people eat with great enthusiasm. That’s why Chinese airlines don’t go to my favorite means of transportation. Also comfort and rest during the flight are rather scarce. There may be people, I have heard of them, who can sleep anytime and anywhere. Now I, of all people, am not one of them. For me, sleep is a private matter and it is correspondingly difficult for me to spend the night in a plane.
After almost 24 hours I finally arrived in an exotic paradise. Now it’s all about mastering the balancing act between backpacking and business trip and to show me my own role once again. My big adventurer’s heart says, negotiate with the cab drivers or hitchhike for a little thank you and – despite all the potholes – get on a foreign moped with your backside and luggage. But since I am not strolling through the airport with a backpack but with a suitcase full of weighty exam papers, I quickly remember the actual destination of my trip: To carry out language tests for foreign nurses at our foreign cooperation partners – so called outpost examinations! Once again with the awareness of a professional mission and appropriate to my task, I set off in search of a proper vehicle, a cab.
Arrived at the hotel (usually it is already in the middle of the night), I move into my really nice hotel. I greet the staff, who are almost familiar to me from my previous stays, and finally fall into bed completely tired out. Not without setting the alarm clock first – a necessary way to work against the jet lag. Another aspect, which sometimes conjures the most beautiful rings under my eyes into my face.
In the first few days after my arrival, I prepare for the upcoming exams in spite of the jet lag, meet our partners on site, inspect the premises for the exams and in doing so I pursue my professional responsibility in exotic surroundings. Sometimes there is also the possibility to jump into the hotel’s own pool after work to get a light travel feeling.
Then the Telc exams finally start!
Even though I have already checked everything for correctness before, I show up at the exam location on time. Experience has taught me that in Asian countries, people like to be served little surprises. And here, German punctuality and forward thinking can be helpful and easy on the nerves. Depending on how many candidates are tested, I spend the next one to four days exclusively at the examination location. The rooms are often shaded with curtains and cooled with air conditioning. So I only see the sun during the lunch break. But I enjoy it all the more and let it shine directly into my face (knowing that Germany is now experiencing the most disgusting autumn weather ever).
But back to the topic: Every person who has ever travelled through Asia probably gets an idea of the kind of challenges you are sometimes confronted with. May the much-vaunted German virtues be half-laughed at in some places, here they certainly help with my mission. After all, I am responsible for dreams of the future, of a professional career and a new life in Germany. The Telc exam is an important milestone for Filipino nurses. Passing it is the basis for being able to start in a hospital or other care facility in Germany. A lack of care would really be out of place and disrespectful.
That´s already it…
The test documents will be destroyed on site, so that I will only fly to Germany with the test sheets (and the hopes of all participants) in my luggage. So the 25 kilos of luggage from the outward flight will turn into a comfortable 15 kilos in no time at all. A one to two-week business trip ends with a slight sunburn and much lighter luggage. Even though the whole undertaking is sometimes exhausting and challenging, I am always glad to have such an exciting and varied job.