»I really want to create something different«

The dictionary on Konstantina Pavlous’ desk in a room in Mainz also accompanied her father 20 years ago. The truck driver from Lefkada drove all the way to Munich, the capital of Bavaria. In 2022 Pavlou decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and travelled to Germany for the first time in her life. Since November she has been working in a primary school in Mainz, gaining work experience and working to make a particular dream come true.

Agorayouth: Konstantina, you are 24 years old and in your final year of course to become a kindergarten teacher in Thessaloniki. How did you end up in Mainz?
Konstantina Pavlou: This is the result of a great coincidence: In the summer I work in cafes and restaurants on the island of Lefkada, where I come from. There I met a lady from Germany and we chatted a bit in German. I told her that I was doing an Erasmus semester in Vienna and that I would like to do an internship in Germany. We kept in touch and she arranged for me to come to Mainz for a five-month internship. As we have a slightly different approach to early childhood education in Greece, I am not working in a kindergarten but in a primary school in Mainz.

Is it your first time in Germany?
 Yes, and actually it’s only my third trip outside Greece in my life. I come from a small village, but I study primary education in Thessaloniki. After my internship ends at the end of March, I will graduate.

Have you been to a Kindergarten in Germany? What was your impression?
Pavlou: I have had the opportunity to visit a kindergarten here twice. I have never been with the very young children and it seemed to me that the focus was on looking after them and playing. They had very nice facilities and equipment, but it was a big surprise that there was no educational programme like I am used to. Personally, I think it would be great to have a plan with topics for each year to do a little bit more. Once I saw the children doing arts and crafts with scissors and one child couldn’t do it. So the educator came and did it for the child. That was hard to see because it is so important to show them how to do it.