I’ve had an opportunity to interview Mr. Kenny Padalla, a nurse in Berlin, Germany. Given his occupation, I understood that Aeken is busy, but he is too kind to accommodate my request.
Aeken celebrated his first year anniversary as an OFW this 2021. He studied in Germany and got his nursing license by undergoing Kenntnisprüfung. He gave details on his experiences in Germany, how he dealt with racism, some insight on his work environment and his journey as an Overseas Filipino Worker.
What I really admire about Aeken is his palaban spirit and his strong faith to God. His advice on not losing touch with God, ourselves and our loved ones really resonates with me. Having interacted with Mr. Kenny, I gained perspective on how it was like to work as a health worker in Germany.
I will not delay this any longer. Here’s our conversation.
Before we get started could you please introduce yourself the way you like to be introduced
I am Kenny Padalla po. 33 years old from Baguio City. Currently a starting nurse here in Berlin, Germany. I can be called Aeken or Kenken po.
Nice to meet you Kenken. How long have you been working in Germany and how did you get there?
Been working for a year here. I studied German language and took the language proficiency B2. Utang made for my study and application.
Upon arriving, the first facility were mostly racists. They abused us Filipinos that made us resign and relocated to new employer. I took the licensure examination to be a nurse din po here. Work 8 hours then self study for 3-4 hours per day.
Ohh really? That’s interesting. What made you decide to study German language?
I studied Finnish for one year since I applied for Finland as a practical nurse. But the agency faced a lot of controversies. That’s the reason I switched to the German path. I passed the initial interview and started learning the language. We are on our B2 level when the agency closed due to management issues. Then switched to another agency. Then last Jan. 15, 2020 we arrived in Germany.
I salute you po for not giving up. Majority po kasi is once they faced issues, especially with agencies, they lose heart. Would you mind elaborating your experiences with first facility? How were you able to deal with it?
We are the first Filipino group to be employed in this facility. We got no proper trainings and were treated as dumb people. They call us using fingers, made gossips about me. Made me do tasks alone and them smoking outside. There are 2-3 people who are helpful but the whole journey was terrible. We were tasked to work 5 hours then study for 3 hours but the coworkers didn’t allow us to study. They let me work 8 hours straight. Didn’t follow the contract. Then Corona came. They pulled us 3 Filipinos to take over the Corona unit. 12 hours a day. We were not yet licensed here in Germany but we do everything ourselves. Preparing the food, doing body care, medications alone. We took care of 17-20 patients and we are not given time to study that led us failing our exam. The reason they let us do the Corona care is that they have families here.
Rest days were on schedule but they let you work. If you are on a sick leave they will not believe you are sick.
Taking care of 17-20 patients alone on a straight 8 hour shift, prep meals, doing body care and medications. While they take care of other areas in 3’s.
After the resignation they tried to persuade us to go back and promised us good things but we declined. We were transferred by our agency in Berlin.
Here, at least, I was given time to study. I needed more time but at least I was given. We help each other as a team. And I was able to pass my exam finally with good remarks.
It’s FAITH and support from my family and loved ones that made me stronger. Being an OFW is really a butas ng sinulid for me.
Pero Pinoy tayo eh. Lalaban. I never knew I could do things like this. Sanay ako sa Pinas na kumakanta lang pero may kita na. Nag e-event may kita na. But this is a total different path which I already embraced. Made me a stronger and better person.
It must be really difficult. I do commend your determination and patience. I’m glad to know that you’re able to move to a new facility. By the way po, what kind of program are you currently taking, since you’ve mentioned that you’re also studying?
I am done with study and I already passed the exam po. I undergone Kenntnisprüfung. Iba iba po kasi offer ng employers and needed to follow German authority for licensing. Yung sa amin, oral and practical exams po.
Ohh! Congratulations po for passing the exams. That’s a new insight to me. How different was the exam po as compared to the licensure exam here in the Philippines?
I never worked as a nurse since graduation kaya aminado ako nakalimutan ko concepts ko. Though it would be easier to review in English kaso German kaya harder sya. Plus they have their own rules and policies regarding health care so dagdag nanaman yun. But by God, nagawa naman after all. Ready na ako to pack my things pabalik sa Pinas in case bumagsak kasi ako.
Wow. Ang galing po. I feel na para sa inyo po talaga yung opportunity. So does that mean po ba na right after graduation, you pursued na po yung pag-aabroad?
Nope. I worked as an English teacher for Koreans and Japanese sa Baguio po. Then I sang for events po. Did some commercials po and theatre din po. Worked sa sales corporate ng SMDC then AXA investment-insurance advisor.
Ang dami nyo po pala ding career na napsukan. Mejo malayo po yung nursing! Ano pong naging motivation nyo po pala and nag nursing po kayo?
Gusto ko po mag tuloy medicine kaso mahal masyado saka tinamad na po ako kaya di ko na tinuloy kasi may mga kapatid pa me na need mag-aral. Panganay kasi ako po.
Ganun po ba? At least po natapos nyo na po yung dream nyo 😊. By the way po, how were you able to adjust sa Germany? Meron po bang difference sa work culture ng Germany and Philippines?
Here lesser ang palakasan. You earn what you work for. Though racism is still in play nasa akin na if patatalo ako. I can say na competing talaga ang mga Pinoy nurses and mejo mas malambing sa mga pasyente.
Madami nga pong nagbibigay ng great comment sa mga Pinoy nurses. Do you have plans po ba in settling sa Germany? Or you’d still like to come back home, eventually?
Uuwi pa din po siguro ako pero mag-iipon muna. Let’s see po sa plan ni Lord for me 🙂
Ok po 😊 Pray po natin yung success nyo po. Kumusta po pala yung holidays jan? May namimiss po ba kayo sa Philippines?
Food! Iba ang food natin sa Pinas. Family and jowa and friends. Here kasi work – bahay lang ang buhay po. No work, No pay. Mmmmm sa nurses walang holiday holiday like Pinas pero may dagdag na konti sa sahod naman po.
Food talaga!! Ahaha. I feel you po. Ohh wow. Ganun po pala jan. Work lang ng work. May time naman po ba kayo to rest, socialize or explore? What’s your normal off day looks like?
Wala po masyado. Itutulog na lang kasi minsan once in 7 days lang rest po eh kulang kasi sa nurses talaga
I see. Ganun po ba? Ang galing nyo po ahhh! Kaya nyo po yun. Pwede ko po bang i-ask kung how much po yung nagastos nyo sa program nyo and sa preparation nyo po sa pag-aabroad?
All in all siguro from studies hanggang makaalis 150k po. Inutang ko po lahat yan hehe.
Ohhh ok po. Thanks for disclosing po 😊 Would help the readers po if in case interested din po sila na magapply. How’s the Coronavirus situation over there? I hope that you are well taken care of by your facility.
Well we get tested in our facility weekly. That’s mandatory. Proper hygiene and protective measures are strictly implemented.
Great to know po 😊 What’s your greatest lesson po pala since nagstart po kayo abroad?
Mmmm whatever obstacles po fight lang and have faith in our beloved God and in ourselves. Strive harder if failure occurs. And always smile.
I agree po. Go lang po ng go and trust po talaga kay God 😊. Do you have any tips po for any OFWs and aspirants na gustong mag take din po ng study and work program abroad?
Let faith, love and passion be your driving force towards your goals. Maraming hadlang pero laban lang para sa pangarap. Parang Bonakid lang tayo ay mga batang may laban.
Great advice po. Thanks for that. We’re almost done na po 😊 What can the Philippine government do for Overseas Filipino Workers, like you?
First, the issue of the Philhealth Bill must be settled. The corrupt officers must be put in jail, the robbed amount be returned for the People to believe in system again at wag nila ipasa yung lugi nila sa OFWs since Pinoys went abroad to ease their lives sa Pinas. Mas mahirap trabaho ng OFW. People suffer from depression and physical disabilities due to heavy workload abroad.
I think the Gov’t must prioritize Health for all Filipinos not only OFW’s and let Corona be a lesson.
100% agree po. 2nd to the last na po for the interview. What’s a piece of advise or something that was said to you by someone that will stick with you forever?
Actually I do watch daily encouraging videos and prayers po. Then I pray always plus from my partner. Don’t focus on the problem but on the solution.
Great habit po. That’s pretty useful po specially now. Last na po 😊 Is there anything else you wish to share to our readers?
Throughout our journey we only have God, ourselves and our beloved. Never lose your touch to the those people. And fight lang tayo. God will never give us a challenge we can’t handle.
So there you have it! Hope you’ve gain insights on this interview. Please show some support by liking and sharing this post.
Follow Kenny / Aeken on Instagram @aeken_zhou19.
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Thanks for reading!