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How is life in Denmark for the foreigners?

I saw this video on YouTube about how is to live in Denmark as a foreigner according to an American living in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I felt like writing my own answers to the questions of his interview.

Question: Do you speak the Danish language?
My answer: Yes, I do now.
It is possible to live in Denmark only speaking English all your life, but now that I can talk and understand the Danish language I can see that the difference it is really, really big.
Everything is much better for me now here in Denmark.
I will never be Danish and I don’t want to, but by talking the Danish language I feel much more comfortable living here in my second home Denmark.
To learn Danish is hard, but it is definitely possible to learn it.

Question: Why did you leave Mexico?
My answer: I was very happy living in my beloved Mexico. I had a great family and work there, but one beautiful day of March I met my half orange that happens to come from Denmark.
We lived together in Mexico for a year and then we took the decision to move to Denmark.
I was very happy living in my home country, and I came to live to Denmark only because I fall in love with my Danish wife, but having living here already some years I have to admit that I am also happy living here in Denmark.

Question: Have you felt our a place living in Denmark?
My answer: Yes, definitely, my Mexican culture and the Danish culture are two very different cultures. It has taken a big effort from my side to adapt to this new and different culture.

Question: How is the attitude towards Mexicans in general here in Denmark?
My answer: It is really, really, really good. I have absolutely no complains. All the Danes I have met have been very respectful of my culture and country. Actually I am surprise of the warm welcome I receive in all the places I go here in Denmark, when I mention I am from Mexico. All the Danes always try to say something in Spanish and many of them have been in Mexico on vacations at least one time.

Question: Someone wants to move to Denmark, what advice will you give?
My answer: Learn the Danish language as soon as possible. Be always very positive towards everything in general (Denmark has many, many, many good things and some few bad things). I believe that it is easier to adapt if one concentrate in only the many good things the Denmark has and just accept that of course it also has some bad things.

Question: What do you miss about Mexico?
My answer:
The food
The colours
The noise
My family
My friends
My language
My social life
The culture
My traditions
Being able to work in what I studied
The Mexican life style
The weather (I come form the Yucatan Peninsula)
The beaches
My car
Being who I was in Mexico
The friendliness and openness of the Mexicans

Question: Which are the biggest differences between Mexicans and Europeans?
My answer: Wow, there are a lot. I don’t even know were to begin. Ok, I will try to mention 3: We the Mexicans are more friendly, more family oriented and more religious.

Question: What is the biggest difference between Mexican girls and European girls?
My answer: Here in Denmark the girls are much more independent and much more career-oriented than the girls in Mexico. Oh and also the girls here in Denmark are definitely taller than the girls in Mexico.
Searching for something related to Denmark, Copenhagen, Aarhus, Danish products, etc? Type your keywords here: ( Examples : IT Denmark jobs, Copenhagen student jobs, Prices of Apartments in Denmark, Aarhus best Gyms, Free Danish classes, Cheap Copenhagen flights, etc)


Anonymous said...

As a foreigner in Denmark I find the average male Dane is not interested in becoming friends, they will be nice, but they probably won't want to hang out. The foreign communities are where I found the most friends here in Denmark. I can say of all of my "new" friends I've made here, none are Danish guys. The Danish girls are much more open to us udlanders. It's a bit of a shame. I haven't figured this phenomenon out yet.

Leonardo said...

Hi there. Thank you for sharing your experiences here in Denmark at this site. Is nice to read about other foreigners in Denmark experiences to know that I am not alone here in Denmark.

Regarding what you wrote in your comment, I will say that I agree and disagree at the same time. I agree because it is true. Becoming friend with the male Danes it is not very easy (in my opinion is not that they don’t like foreigners in Denmark, but is just that they have their own busy already structure lives and friends, so they don’t feel they have to much space for other people, specially if they cannot speak complete Danish). Sad but true, I feel the same thing is happening to me a little bit. After some years living here in Denmark, I feel I don’t have so much time to be hanging out with new people I meet (Danes or foreigners in Denmark), as I did in the beginning.

I have some male Danes friends that I met at my work, and some others that I met through my Danish girlfriend. I like the Danes. I think they are ok to hang out with. It will be nicer for me to know more Danes, but I guess it is ok with the number of Danes I am friend of. As I said before, even thought I meet more Danes now, I don’t really have so much time anymore to invest in their friendship.

And yes I also have many friends from the Expats in Denmark community. I have friends in Denmark from many nationalities. I have meet all these nice friends I have through my Danish language school in Copenhagen and in Aarhus, by playing football in the parks, in bars, in the University, at my previous works, at parties.

If the Danish girls are much more open to us the foreigners in Denmark, I couldn’t answer that. I haven’t really thought about it until now. Mmmm actually I disagree with you, I will say that for me Danish girls and Danish men are equally nice and equally difficult to have a long lasting friendship.

And again I repeat that having a Danish girlfriend or Danish boyfriend here in Denmark helps A LOT when it comes to having Danish friends (men or women) or just meeting Danish people in general and to feel integrated and part of Denmark.

And the Danish language hasn’t been a big barrier for me to have Danish friends. In the beginning I talked only English and it was ok with them, and now that I can speak Danish it is of course also ok and even a little bit better (because I am still not 100% fluent a Danish speaker yet).

What has helped me, I guess, to meet and make Danish friends here in Denmark (men and women) is to put my self in their shoes. I try to think what will I want or expect from a foreigner in my home country that wanted to be my friend and that is what I try to do here. For example: try to learn my language, try to be interested about my country and culture, try to be informed about the local and national news (and international news), try to have an opinion about the local and national football teams, try to have an opinion about the weather, to be funny, to be an interested person, that the foreigner helps me understand his/her own culture, have a stable job and life in my country, have some money, that has plans to stay in my country for a long time, that already knows some people and places in the city, that is positive (and not complaining all the time about my country), etc.

Wow, this was a long response to your comment. I hope it makes sense.

Adams said...

I've been in Denmark for quite a few years now, and almost all of my friends are foreigners. None of them like being here, the only ones who stay are married to a Dane. Those who came here for work or who got divorced have all left.

Denmark looks okay on the the surface, but after a few years the veneer wears off and you realize that it's practically impossible to be fully accepted if you migrated here as an adult. No matter how well you speak the language or adapt to the culture, Danes will only accept people who were raised here from childhood, and with a totally Danish culture. If you're happy here, that's great, but you're definitely in the minority.

Leonardo said...

Hi Adam.

I hear you and believe me I am aware of this situation. I have heard it also from other foreigners living here in Denmark. I just think that life as a foreigner it can also be difficult in other countries besides Denmark.

Life in Denmark as a foreigner it is also difficult for me, but I still think that life in Denmark is acceptable enough, and I believe it would just get better and better with time.

marcinsen said...

Adam - but what u say about not being accepted by locals - doesn't it apply for all countries? I lived in UK, Ireland and Spain, now Denmark, and as immigrant I don't feel fully accepted anywhere. And belive me - if u are from Eastern Europe it is much worse. Usually people think that u are halfwit:))) It might be a problem in trying to make friends:)

Anonymous said...

Try Morocco!

Anonymous said...

The trick is not bothering to be accepted.Live your life,have a good time,be respectful of customs in your host country,but know your place.If they still do not accept you...fuck'em!That's what I've done all my life.And it works,they behave like that because they're complexed and afraid of foreigners,specially in countries with a feeble population.In the end they will try to get to know you,at least that's my experience.I lived in Holland,France,Spain,Thailand,Switzerland and Morocco.

Leonardo said...

@Marcinsen. I fully agree with you. Life in Denmark is as good and as bad as it would be in any other country, regarding relationship with the locals. I have also lived in different countries, and now that I live here in Denmark I experience also the same, which is that the locals are too busy with their normal life’s to pay to much attention to the foreigners. And yes, it is true; in my case it has helped me a lot to have a Danish girlfriend to feel integrated to life in Denmark.

And yes Marcinsen, you are also right with that issue of the prejudices’. I feel also a little bit the same sometimes for being from another country and living or travelling to different countries, like for example USA. But then again nationalities and culture prejudices’ exist all around the world and affect all the nationalities. Unfortunately some nationalities are more affected than others, but they all have prejudices’.

But I can concluded that even though I don’t feel 100% like home here in Denmark, than the Danish language is difficult and that I am also subject of prejudices’ some times, I think life in Denmark and the Danes are acceptable enough. Actually, I will even go as far as saying that I have it OK living here in Denmark. I have foreigners’ friends as well as Danish friends. The only thing that frustrates me the most here in Denmark is the Danish language.

Leonardo said...

This is probably one of the best advices I have heard regarding life in Denmark or life as a foreigner in any other country in the world: The trick is not bothering to be accepted. Live your life, have a good time, be respectful of customs in your host country, but know your place. If they still do not accept you...fuck'em!

TM said...

A sensitive issue.

After living in different areas of my own country (India) and in different European countries, I realize that "The trick is not bothering to be accepted" is absolutely right. I think it is almost impossible for local people with a strong sense of community identity to totally accept a newcomer as their own, until many decades have passed and that person has totally lost his original identity and has blended in. His next generation is better accepted. And if a person holds on to his original roots (which he has every right to), then he should not really worry about "being totally accepted". When a place is highly populated by people of different origin, and there is a lack of common community identity based on shared background and history, then new people just blend in. So it is easier for a texan to get lost/fit in in the NY city than a New Yorker to get completely accepted in a rural town of Texas.

In my country, my parents moved from their ancestral place to a different place for work, and I was born and brought up there. We spoke a different language at home, and another outside. Our cousins back in the native place (a large metropolitan city in another state) never accepted us as their own, they treated us like aliens, with sometimes weird questions like Do you get this product in your city? We live in the same country!

In fact, in our native language there is even a special term for the people who live outside- not in a different country- but outside our local state- in the same country.

so when my community cannot accept a local living in a different part of the country as their own, then why should a community treat a new person as "their own"- when I am not?

Leo, a suggestion. Please put a search box on upper right corner of your site - it would be helpful.

Copenhagen Denmark said...

Word TM. You are so right, about so many things. I can see that you are an experienced expat.

I agree with you that time makes adaptation in Denmark easier.

I agree in that there are always 2 roads: blending in or holding to your original roots. In my experience here in Denmark, I recommend the first one. I am not saying that is the best option, but until now it has worked for me. Although I know, everybody knows and I will always known and everybody will always know that I am not a Dane or a Dane wanna be. I am just a person proud of its nationality that is here in Denmark because my wife is Danish, that tried very hard to adapt and have a good life living in Denmark.

Actually very soon I will have the opportunity to obtain my Danish passport, but I am still in doubt if I will take that opportunity, because that will mean losing my own nationality. And I don't want that. I want to be very well integrated in Denmark, but I want to know and that everybody knows that I am actually originally and still a national from another country.

In my experience all the Danes I have meet respect the fact that I try to integrate to Denmark, but still hold very close to my hearth the country from where I came from.

I hope this makes any sense. Good luck with your life in Denmark. And thank you for your very good comment related to this article about life in Denmark.

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