Guest Article: Danish People Abroad
This article was originally written in Danish, by CA Karrierepartner og a-kasse for højtuddannede i erhvervslivet. The article has been translated by CBSLife writer, Mette Møller. To read the original piece and find out more – click here.
The CA members have been asked about their experiences with living abroad – and about their advice to others, who might be considering settling somewhere else. Here, you can see some of their experiences. If you want to read more of the study, you can check out this article (in Danish) with good comments and experiences.
The network is far away
The biggest challenge of living abroad is being away from family and friends and having to create a new network. This is the opinion of almost every second expatriate Dane in the study. It can especially be hard to be far away from both network and career for a spouse coming along.
“It usually takes 6 months to get “up and running”, regarding children in schools and institutions, new network etc. But it is hard to get two careers to work together, so the non-working person has to be very proactive and create a substantial everyday life” – comment from the CA-study “Danish people Abroad”
Adjust the management to the country
Every second CA-member abroad is a manager. But you cannot merely take your Danish management style abroad. There are differences in the working culture in most countries, but the difference is biggest in relation to Asia, where there is much more hierarchy and top-down management.
“My Danish boss manages me after Danish principles of self-management. I cannot manage the Chinese in that way. They expect, that the manager knows everything and tells them exactly what to do and what not to do. And if they do not know how to do, they will not say it in order to not lose face. This does not mean that we should not try to find a middle path” - comment from the CA-study “Danish people Abroad”
Career on standby
It can be hard to go home again. Every third person has been sent by a Danish employer, but there are only a few cases where the employee has made a career plan with the company about what happens when they return home. Every third person has a time-limited job and jobs in projects and has no job to come home to. The same applies to most spouses that come along, where the career has been on stand-by during the time abroad.
“My own career in Denmark has been put on standby – I have no idea whether there is a job for me when I one day return to the company in Denmark, so it is a gamle. And will the Danish employers understand and appreciate the competencies I’ll come home with one day?” - comment from the CA-study “Danish people Abroad”