Open minds open doors: How EURES can help broaden your choices

11.04.2008

The sheer range of options available to workers in an enlarged Europe – countries, job sectors, lifestyles – can be intimidating. EURES Advisers helped a German lawyer with wanderlust in her blood discover where her skills and aspirations could lead her. Bärbel Müller, a 30-year-old German lawyer, always knew she wanted to work in Europe. With an impressive range of language skills and a Norwegian boyfriend, Bärbel was presented with a choice of destinations upon completing her higher law degree in February 2007, but was unsure of how exactly to tackle the next step.

In stepped EURES. Bärbel contacted Achim Dürschmid, EURES Adviser Germany (Saarbrucken), for help, and he arranged for her to attend a EURES information day targeting Germans interested in working in Luxembourg (Fit für Luxembourg) in March 2007. Bärbel had never heard of EURES before, and was intrigued to learn about the wide availability of information and advice. Achim Dürschmid also mentioned that his EU-wide colleagues stretched as far as Norway, and Bärbel was hooked: ‘I was excited to hear that EURES Advisers could even be found outside the EU, and decided to try my luck in the north that summer’. In fact, you can find EURES Advisers in all EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries – Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein – as well as in all EU Member States.

In Oslo, EURES Advisers directed Bärbel to local and national employment contacts and provided her with a ‘welcome package’ of useful information. She used this information to search for jobs when she moved to Hammerfest later that month to live with her boyfriend.

Meanwhile, Bärbel’s five languages (German, English, French, Spanish and Italian) quickly grew to six as she studied Norwegian. This array of skills enabled her to get an interim job as a multilingual tour guide in Hammerfest. She even managed to get a taste of celebrity life, guiding international authors around the city on behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Bärbel was offered a secretarial job in Norway by Adecco, but decided to turn it down in order to pursue legal vacancies. In the end these proved easier to find in Luxembourg, Bärbel’s original destination. Luxembourg’s good international transport links meant that she could stay in close contact with her family and boyfriend, and it wasn’t long before the offers started flooding in. Bärbel accepted a job at Kremer Associés & Clifford Chance, where she now works with colleagues from all over Europe.

Although Bärbel’s route to her current job had some twists and turns along the way, she’s grateful for the possibilities opened up by the EURES network, and for the opportunity to live abroad: ‘I am very often reminded of the Fit for Luxembourg training, as the information we got was really excellent. EURES meant that I could make a start on exploring the possibilities offered by other countries, and I’m interested in exploring yet more of Europe in the future. I was very lucky to meet Mr Dürschmid, the Saarbrucken EURES Adviser, who was active, informative and helpful. Without him I would have missed out on a lot of information on the opportunities open to workers in Europe, and my time in Norway would have been a lot more difficult.’

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