Culture shock can happen to anyone, regardless of how often he or she has traveled to other countries. Entering a new country /culture involves stress and surprises that he or she had not anticipated. Suddenly the familiar sights, sounds, tastes, ways and behaviors from home are missing. You need to have an open mind and be ready to experience something new – the Danish lifestyle.
Helpful Link about Denmark: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denmark#Climate
Map link: google map Denmark
The way that people interact in Denmark are different. It may surprise, confuse or even offend you. For example, you may find that people seem cold or distant. Typically, people do not say hi to each other on the street if they do not know each other. Don’t take it personally; this is just a part of the culture. Most Danes are modest about their own accomplishments and are more concerned about the group than their own individual needs.
You may find that relationships between men and women are more equal – meaning that a women can be the boss as well as a man. Women are highly respected in business and generally receive equal pay and have access to senior positions. A general rule is to listen, observe, and ask questions. Find out what the normal or expected ways of interaction are at your job and respect those, even if you disagree with them or find them strange.
It is tiring to communicate all day long in a language which is not your native tongue. It takes a lot of energy to understand what people are saying and to express yourself clearly. You will need to ask questions to clarify your understanding. If necessary, ask people to repeat what they have said, or ask them to SHOW YOU. Sometimes, it can be frustrating to be in situations where you cannot understand the local people. Different English accents and fluency levels can also be difficult to understand, even for people who speak and understand English fluently. The ear needs time to adjust to new words and expressions. And remember, what is funny in your own culture might not be funny in the Danish culture, and vice versa.
Health care in Denmark
After you have registered with Immigration / Statsforvaltningen, in 2/ 3 weeks, you will receive a confirmation letter. After you receive your “letter from immigration / statsforvaltningen” you will go to the local kommune to register with them. Your CPR card will be mailed to you. (It normally takes around 3 weeks) You will have access to health care services after you are registered within the immigration system.
Denmark spends 9.8% of GDP on healthcare. The life expectancy in Denmark is 78.6 years. There is 1 doctor for every 294 persons in Denmark.
Helpful link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Denmark
They say that above the clouds the sun still shines. This is definitely true in Denmark. It rains one out of every 4 days in Denmark. It is also windy. You may find that you are sensitive to the differences in climate. You will need rain clothes and some good, warm work clothes.
You may find that the food tastes quite different, or strange from what you are used to. It might be spicier, or blander, or even with no taste. Danish bread is a hearty brown color and is nothing like Romanian or other Eastern European breads. Soup is not eaten on a daily basis.
Rules of Behavior
In Denmark, there are unspoken rules in how people decide what is important, how work is organize and how time is respected. (Time is money for both you and your farmer) Be sure to carefully watch others and ask questions to help you understand what these unspoken but expected rules of behavior are.
Helpful Link: http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/denmark-country-profile.html
Regardless of your previous work experience, you need to know that there are many “unspoken rules” associated with working in Denmark. Often things that would be considered normal in Eastern Europe are not acceptable in a Danish work place. Here is a list of things to do:
- Come to work on time. Punctuality is very important and coming late when get you fired
- Smile. Danes are prone to smiling.
- Work quickly and efficiently. Time is money.
- Be willing to try new things like Danish food, and other cultural habbits.
- Take care of your personal hygiene. Danes tend to be very concerned about cleanliness.
- Communicate with your boss. Show enthusiasm in you job!
- Be patient. You may feel that the Danish culture and language is overwhelming at first. Keep in mind that with time, you will learn and understand more.
- Dress neatly and conservatively.
DO NOT LIST – Things to avoid so you do not lose your job
- Write extra, un-worked hours.
- Waste money by using too much heat / energy in your house, job, etc.
- Expect special treatment because of your education or that you are a girl.
- Ask to loan money, to borrow the farmer’s car or to take something that is not yours.
- Come late to work, steal, drink on the job, disobey employee work rules, or become apathetic / careless towards your work
Removing any item from a shop or store without first paying for it is a crime, and will result in your being arrested and charged. Most stores have security cameras and personnel who make sure that shoppers don’t shoplift.