1165 København K
Tlf: 35 32 28 98 (mon-thurs)
1,200 people had signed up for the welcoming reception for internationals at the City Hall. University Post was there, but the Lord Mayor was not
»The City of Copenhagen hosts receptions for new international students and expats because they want them to feel welcome when they arrive. They are very important for Denmark’s competitiveness,«
It is Jakob Hougaard, the mayor for employment and integration, and he is speaking from the rostrum at the City Hall.
He is the first speaker. People around me seem confused. But shouldn’t Lord Mayor Bjerregaard talk to us? Isn’t the Mayor a lady?
Fact of the matter is. Ritt Bjerregaard was originally billed for the event. But for some reason she has been replaced.
But Hougaard knows how to the please the crowd: Who wouldn’t like to hear that their presence is of great value to the city?
The banquet hall is packed. Most came in pairs and groups, with just a few individual attendees embracing their refreshments.
After the speeches the time has come: The whole crowd hustles outside the hall to the 1,200 pancakes.
Around the buffet, representatives of the city’s sports clubs and expat-organisations fight for attention. They want to tell the newcomers about their activities and services.
Was everyone here for the pancakes? The inside-look at City Hall? The opportunity to meet Lord Mayor? We ask Mette Justesen, who is in charge of today’s event.
»If I put myself in their shoes, I would as a newcomer – student or not – take advantage of all the networking opportunities possible in the beginning. I have studied abroad and know first hand how important finding a new network is,« she says.
Surprisingly many newly arrived internationals want to grasp the chance to mingle with the other internationals inside the City Hall. Too many, in fact:
There are already 400 people on the waiting list for the next Welcome Reception on November 23rd.
We leave the City Hall, the last guests stand in groups at the entrance, discussing plans for the evening. It’s raining but nobody seems to care.
The organisers would be happy to hear of this waterproof attitude: It seems the newcomers are well on track to becoming Danish.