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With the right mentor and the right attitude, a job in Denmark may be attainable
This year, Kubulus, the alumni association of the University of Copenhagen, is accepting 20 international students into their mentor programme.
One such student, Elizabeth, was accepted under an earlier programme. For her, learning under her mentor was just the beginning of her success in the Danish workforce, she says. The rest was up to her
Elizabeth originally heard about the Kubulus mentor programme after coming to Copenhagen to study the Danish welfare state, She was placed with a mentor from the Ministry of Immigration.
After a little initial awkwardness, says Elizabeth, she and her mentor quickly developed a friendly relationship. She thinks this was due to a genuine interest in each other’s academic, international and professional experiences.
»I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was nervous, but I became really impressed by him and the work he does,« she says.
While there are initiatives to attract international students to stay after their studies are over in Denmark, »internationals are constantly being told how hard it is to get a job,« says Elizabeth.
Apparently, the Danes are still not open to giving jobs to foreigners, she says
However, students can also try harder: Elizabeth urges students to learn the language, attend the seminars Kubulus has to offer and to show an early interest in working in Denmark after graduation. She adds that students should specifically target companies or organizations that are serious about hiring internationals.
According to her, the good Danish employers judge prospective employees as a whole, not just by their accomplishments and potential for productivity.
Unlike in her home country, colleagues at work truly want to know someone who they are going to spend eight hours a day with, Elizabeth learned.
Although Elizabeth plans to return to her home country for her PhD, she hopes to continue her study of the welfare state. Her contacts in Denmark will be helpful when she returns.
Applications are due on 8 November. Details can be found on the mentor programme’s website.
Due to personal reasons, Elizabeth prefers only to be referred to by her first name in this article.
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