MOTHERHOOD IS COMPLICATED...
MOTHERS ARE OFTEN CONSIDERED COMPETENT, WARM, AND MATERNAL AND ADMIRED FOR THESE TRAITS. MOTHERS ON TV AND IN FILM SACRIFICE EVERYTHING TO NURTURE THEIR CHILDREN. BUT THIS NARRATIVE ISN'T REPRESENTATIVE OF ALL TYPES OF MOTHERS - EVERY EXPERIENCE OF MOTHERHOOD IS UNIQUE, MEANING SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO EACH PERSON.
MEET THE TEAM
EDITOR & FOUNDER
Lyndsay Jensen - email@example.com
MANAGING DIRECTOR & PARTNER
Kenneth Macalpine - firstname.lastname@example.org
MMOTHERHOOD IS A relationship, a full-time job and an identity. An estimated 85% of women have birthed a child, making motherhood, or at least the thought of it, a prevalent part of life for most women. So let's see how mothers are represented, not just the typical "tv mom" characters.
IT'S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT BIOLOGY
Mothers earn the title in many ways that aren't biological. The tasks and duties of mothers are often carried out by the people who didn't physically create them. Around 10% of children are parented by their grandparents, and about 3% by other family members. Millions of children worldwide have been born using assisted reproductive technology, some of which include donor eggs and sperm. Men can be mothers, too. Transgender men and other gender non-conforming people can become pregnant and birth a child and have many of the same parenting desires as cisgender mothers.
Motherhood requires love and dedication to be responsible for a child — most moms will tell you that the origin of a child's DNA is not essential.
THE DESIRE TO BE A MOM
Some people don't feel a pull toward motherhood. Others want to focus on other priorities. Academic achievement and participation in the workforce are two of the main reasons women choose not to become a mother. Motherhood isn't for everyone, and although being childfree by choice can be empowering, childfree people are often viewed as selfish or materialistic and stigmatised for their choices.
For women who are mothers, maternal regret is a taboo subject, but it's important to know that some women regret their choice to become a parent. Other women who willingly pursue motherhood grow to regret their choice when they find the social promises of motherhood are unfulfilled.
Many women make the purposeful choice to become mothers, but they find themselves unable to become a parent or maintain parenthood. This can occur due to inability to conceive, death of a child, loss of stepchildren to divorce, loss of custody, and loss of ability to parent.
In addition, some people feel that becoming a parent is impossible for political, financial, and environmental reasons. Unemployment, underemployment, and unstable housing leave many people delaying the transition to parenthood or avoiding it altogether.
MAKING SPACE FOR MOMS
There are many paths to motherhood, and none of them are smooth. The transition to motherhood is a beautiful, transformative time for some people. Still, for about 20-25% of women, perinatal depression and other mood disorders make pregnancy and postpartum a scary and threatening time. In addition, traditional gender roles and gender inequities make motherhood difficult and cause some to delay or avoid motherhood altogether.
Although mothers need social support from their friends, families, and communities, busy schedules and lack of structured support systems leave many mothers without the necessary support. Conversely, mothers who are well-supported are less likely to experience postpartum depression.
Celebrating moms comes down to much more than sending cards on Mother's Day. It also includes making space for mothers of all genders —LGBTQ parents are underrepresented in the current dialogue surrounding mothering. Changing how we talk about motherhood can make space for all moms - the moms who choose not to breastfeed, the moms who are depressed, the moms who had scary pregnancies, the moms who don't have partners, and the moms who are moms even though it wasn't their choice.
Motherhood is never easy or simple, and while it's hard to make sense of all of its complexities, making space for all moms can make the path a little bit easier. So we wish all our moms a happy Mother's Day – not just one day a year…but every day.
EDITOR & FOUNDER
Ophelia Wu; Vanessa C Petersen; Alexandra Beck; Mariano Davies; Monika Pedersen; Sara R. Newell; Michaela Medvedova; Shani Bishop; Natasha Liviero; Heather Storgaard; Lasse Frimand Jensen; Jane Elgård Petersen; Natália Šepitková; Luke Hannon; Nanna Hauch
Terumi Mascarenhas - www.fjordfoto.dk
SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM
Head of SoMe
Shivangi Singh - email@example.com
Neelam Gahlaut; Michaela Medvedova; Aina Masood; Ane-Sophie Custura; Terumi Mascarenhas; Leslie Noygues; Shelly Pandey; Shivangi Singh; Ritika Jain; Pavlos Tsiakoumis; Sakib Akhter; Rashmi Jadhav; Gemma La Rocca; Isabel Pereira Lima
The International is published online 12 times a year. This issue was published on 11 May, 2023.
Notice: The publishers regret that they cannot accept any liability for error or omissions contained in this publication. The opinions and views presented need not necessarily reflect those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek special counsel before acting on any information contained herein. All rights reserved. No part of this publication or contents thereof may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publishers. Published by and © 2021 The International ApS. Registered in Denmark / CVR Number: 39118181
MAY EVENTS AROUND DENMARKLYNDSAY JENSEN EVENTS COORDINATOR firstname.lastname@example.org
Come to the dragon festival and beach opening party at Naturcenter Amager Strand!
On 14 May, we will be entertained by the skilled and seasoned pilots from Zealand's Dragon Club. They will have many large and beautiful kites with them and make displays and fly them in the beautiful beach surroundings. In true tradition, you can bring your best-stuffed animal or teddy bear with you and give it an experience of a lifetime. It can try a ride on the kite ferry, where it can see the beach from above and fly down with a parachute. At the same time, at Naturcenter Amager Strand, you can buy a kite kit and build your very own kite, so you can fly in competition with all the others, and let's not forget all the fish and sea creatures in the ocean!
Get out on the beach and unleash your inner kite flyer or fisherman.
It costs DKK 50 in materials to build a kite - of course, you are also welcome to bring your own and fly it too. We look forward to seeing you!
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SPRING DAYS AT GAVNØ
Experience Spring Days at Gavnø on the weekend of the 13th and 14th. May.
There will be a selection of different lifestyle stands in Slotsparken, where you can find inspiration and purchase great goodies.
It is possible to enjoy coffee and cake and a delicious lunch in Café Tulipanen in the middle of the castle park, or you can bring your own food, which can be enjoyed in our picnic areas.
Also, experience Denmark's largest Tulip Festival, which during these days adorns the beautiful castle park with beautiful tulips in all kinds of colours.
Sunday, 14 May, at 14:00, an exciting presentation from our skilled Dutch onion grower Michel de Bruine can be enjoyed. Hear about how the fantastic tulips from www. tulipstore.eu, where they are grown.
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Do you feel that you are caught in the hamster wheel? Do you have trouble sleeping, palpitations, or restlessness in the body? Do you feel that you are overloaded and do not have any time for yourself?
Yoga strengthens, flexes and balances our entire being, and with regular practice, problems such as bad backs, headaches, tension, difficulty sleeping, stress and other lifestyle issues can be prevented and remedied.
The degree of difficulty of Hatha Yoga is easy to medium - where I guide you through in a way where you can build up the degree of difficulty yourself. Hatha yoga is a more comfortable and calm form of yoga.
Flexibility, balance and strength are medium to high. So you get a large part of all the good things about yoga without putting pressure on your fitness.
PLACE: Vilhelmsborg, Main building, Bedervej 101, 2nd floor, 8320 Mårslet
Remember to take a mat, a drinking bottle and a blanket or extra shirt.
Registration and payment for both Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga is made by writing an email to irenehoellund@ gmail.com
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UPCYCLED ART WORKSHOP
What can you do with a reusable canvas? Let us show you! Whether it's for your home or a gift for someone else'swe are inviting you in to repurpose and give new meaning to old work!
Are you a painter or a creative enthusiast? If yes, you must know the struggle of arranging and rearranging everything on your walls to make room for new artwork and new ideas. Or maybe, like us, you have a stack of old projects, demo paintings and used canvases in the basement, screaming for a new life.
If you love upcycling and repurposing projects and have a wild and untamed sense of creativity - you're gonna love this workshop.
Recycled, upcycled and repurposed paintings can make amazing NEW decor!
This workshop will give you just that: the opportunity to come see how the 'OLD' becomes the new 'NEW!'. You will (re)create your own newly inspired artwork. Energize your creative brain, think outside the box & get inspired. Are you up for the challenge?
- Acrylic paint
- Collage materials
- Inspiration photos
- Drawing Supplies
As always, the first drink is on the house!
*Non-alcoholic drinks are also available This is not a guided event but don't worry our artists will be there to get you started!
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True to tradition, Aalborg Carnival hosts the International Parade on Friday 19 May, where carnival groups from all over Europe participate
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Look forward to a fantastic day in the company of the whole family at Children's Carnival 2023. We invite children, parents, siblings and grandparents to a pleasant day with lots of activities for the children. The day starts with a parade through the city centre, where everyone is encouraged to come dressed up. Several local and international carnival groups also take part in the parade.
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19-20 MAY FRENCH SPRING IN PRESTØ
An international market atmosphere with delicacies and specialities from all over Europe. Local market with produce, art, crafts and lots of music. The market is open in the old square in Præstø. Friday and Saturday from 10:00-18:00 and Sunday from 10:00-16:00.
Book a table by phone at +45 5590 9030 or by email at email@example.com
We look forward to giving you a warm welcome!
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23-29 MAY EUROPEAN STREET MARKET
The square in Ringsted will form the framework for the European Street Market at the end of May.
The square will form the framework for the European Street Market from 23 May to 29 May. Here, the city's citizens and guests will experience an extraordinary market atmosphere with many foreign goodies. There will be plenty of opportunities to have good experiences in the city centre, both young and old. With approximately 20 stalls from several countries, the market is expected to receive many visitors. In the stalls, you will find a lot of European specialities from Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Spain and many more!
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26-27 MAY BURGER FESTIVAL
Bring your friends, colleagues or family to Copenhagen's Burgerfest when we transform Den Grønne Kødby into a mecca of burgers, music, talks and drinks while the sun shines down on the capital.
Look forward to tasting the classic, the green, the special and the experimental burger - presented by some of the country's biggest burger enthusiasts, such as Gasoline Grill and Poulette or join us on a tasting journey when some of the burger fest's national and international friends dish up their bid for a delicious burger. There is something for every taste when we offer fun and music in the evening sun, delicious and exciting features about the history, culture and future of the burger. Free entry on both days!
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A value-driven community that welcomes students ages 4-16.
Rygaards has a strong reputation of a rich educational experience with a nurturing atmosphere where students learn to think for themselves, find their own voice, and engage with the world with confidence and curiosity.
THE DANISH-AMERICAN WAY OF MOTHERHOOD
FORGING YOUR PATH IN A NEW COUNTRY WHILE RAISING FOUR CHILDREN CAN CREATE A LOT OF DIFFICULTIES - BUT ALSO A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY ADVENTURE.
AANNIE SAMPLES ALWAYS knew she wanted to have four kids. Her husband's dream was to one day live in Denmark.
And call it coincidence or fate, but guess what - the family of six has been staying in Copenhagen for the past three and a half years, happily exploring the Danish way of living, parenting, and staying calm.
FROM COAST TO COAST…
Annie was born and raised in Texas. While it comes with a very conservative culture, her parents did not fit the mould. It might have been hard to fit in growing up, but she believes it prepared her for the future. "Something I heard a lot growing up was: You don't seem like you're from here. So it felt quite natural when I set out to move to other places. But Texas was a good place to grow up - at least at that time. I'm not so sure about now."
After graduating high school, Annie moved to Los Angeles - without even knowing why. "The American college experience is to graduate, go to college, and figure out your life right now. I was 18, and I didn't know what I was doing. Moving to LA seemed cool, but it was intense. I did learn a lot, though - I took a creative writing class and realised my passion for writing."
California was not the right fit for Annie, so she moved back to Texas and went to college there - and ended up meeting her husband. He's a designer, and she worked in the computer lab's art building. "We dated briefly in college and then broke up. I stuck around Texas after graduation, but many of my friends finished college, and we all decided to move to New York together. He moved there a year later, and we reconnected."
About five years later, they married and had their first son. "We meshed well together. We had a very similar upbringing. He always wanted to be a dad." And - foreshadowing - Annie knew straight off the bat her husband wanted to move to Denmark. At that
point, Annie had never been out of the US but wanted to live abroad. "He travelled to Denmark when he was 19. It wasn't as great as it's now, but already at that time, he recognised how great the city infrastructure is." While they both love Texas, at that point, the veil was starting to slip on the state, the Texan, and even the American lifestyle. "He knew it didn't have to be this way. He lived in France, travelled to Africa, and had a good global perspective."
But until the right opportunity presented itself for the move, the couple was still enjoying life in New York - until family priorities took over. "We knew we wanted many kids, and New York is not the most kid-friendly place. It's not very accessible, and difficult to get around with a stroller. So we started looking to maybe move back to Texas to be with family, but my husband loved the company he was working for, and they ended up opening an office in Portland, Oregon." A couple of days after moving there, Annie found out she was pregnant with their second son, and the third one arrived a year and a half later. "I was ready to stay in that environment, to have the suburban mom life. And I liked it."
…AND ACROSS THE POND
But Denmark has always been in the cards for the family, so when the offer came for Annie's husband to relocate to Copenhagen in 2019, they were all aboard. "I was thinking: oh, how hard could it be? I didn't think it would be such a big deal. I heard nothing but good things about Denmark and Copenhagen, so I was expecting this fairy tale experience. In many ways, it was. But we moved at the end of May, and the summer was great." But then fall started creeping in, and reality started to settle in with it. "My kids started school, and I was forced to acclimate to the culture. It was a lot. I felt very incapable as an adult and a mom, which was very unsettling."
It didn't help that the world shut down only a few months after they relocated, in
March 2020. "I remember seeing the news and just having this feeling of dread; that the world's going to end." Annie's husband got a free work trip from his company, so they planned to go to Texas, leave the kids with family, and go to Mexico. All planned for the start of March. "We were actually in Texas when the lockdown began. And there was a really weird part of me feeling like, good, now we'll be forced to stay here, and I'll be able to homeschool my kids, which is something I always wanted to do. I'll have this life again."
But after a few weeks of seeing what life would be like in the US, Annie started thinking differently: Oh God, we got to get back to Denmark.
Finally, after constant phone calls, they could get a flight back. "We were so grateful to be back. It sounds crazy, but we were grateful to experience COVID in Denmark as opposed to the US. Of course, it sucked a lot, but comparatively, we had it a lot easier."
The ever-present Danish calm and reason are not something Annie was used to at first. She feels like her whole family stuck out like a sore thumb after they moved to Denmark because they were still so high-strung. Now, whenever she's gone home or had friends visit, they tell her she seems so calm. "Well, not all the time - I definitely still have four kids," she laughs. "But this is the one thing that has rubbed off on me. It's such a safe country that cares about its citizens that we have the privilege to be calm and feel safe."
THE DANISH WAY OF PARENTING
After three and a half years, Annie and her husband are okay with Danish. But Annie's very motivated to learn more. "My kids all go to a Danish school, so when I go to school meetings, they have friends over, or we go to the doctor who is more comfortable speaking Danish to the kids - it motivates me to learn more." But having four kids makes it a bit hard to make proper time for language classes.
The kids, however, have taken to Danish perfectly. All three boys - aged 8, 6, and 4are fluent, and while they should speak English at home, Annie and her husband are trying to expose their 11-month-old - born in Denmark - to some Danish. "The boys didn't require any language assistance - they did full immersion through kindergarten." What they struggle a little bit with, though, is the contrast with American culture when they visit their family in the US. "The American way of life can be, on the surface, quite comfortable. For example, a kid sees going to a big house with a pool and driving everywhere in a car if it's raining outside as the norm. They're like: this is so easy - we want to do that." They sometimes ask to visit the US more or possibly move back, but Annie thinks that when they're a bit older, they'll understand the reasons for staying in Denmark be-
yond the fact they have friends here. "I think they say they want that, but if we actually moved back, there would be a lot of reverse culture shock."
What adds to this is that the kids have been raised the Danish way from the get-go. "The Danish Way of Parenting is actually a book that's very popular in the US, and it aligns with all these parenting styles and tips that I had hoped to apply to my parenting. So it's been seamless. When I lived in the US, I had a lot of pressure to be harsher with my kids or spank them. So it's been nice to live in a country where I can parent my kids the way I've always wanted to."
She points out some of the expectations that came with motherhood in the so-called "mommy blogger era" - kids dressed perfectly, the moms perfectly made-up. "We definitely felt the opposite - and I'm glad for it because it gives you some resiliency." And that's definitely needed in a family with four young children - although, as Annie says, four is easier than three. "They say that with three, you're just outnumbered. With four, you just relinquish all control," laughs Annie.
GREAT JOB, SEE YOU LATER!
Having had her daughter while already in Denmark, Annie's also uniquely positioned to compare the maternity journey in two countries. When she remembers her three pregnancies and births in New York and Portland, Annie says she lucked out. "There, they are progressive and open-minded. But you have to seek these experiences out in the US."
She experienced postpartum care to be different. In the US, she had to stay in the hospital for 24 or 48 hours after she had her kids. Here, she had her daughter, and four hours later, she was sitting at home on her couch. "In the US, you do get what you pay for. After I had my kids, they gently placed me in a wheelchair, cleaned me up, wheeled me to my nice room with nice food, and checked on me all the time. And it's not that I didn't feel cared for here, but after I had my daughter, they said, great job, see you later! So I was holding my baby and walking upstairs just a few hours after I gave birth, so I knew I could also just go home. Then, of course, the next day, the home visiting nurse came by, which was great. But if I was an expat and that was my first experience having a baby, I can see that as being kind of challenging."
When Annie got pregnant with her second son back in the US, she decided to be a stayat-home mom. "I just took time off work and was expected to return when the baby was six weeks old. But this wasn't paid - there was no maternity leave." When she moved to Denmark, while being a stay-at-home mom was still her primary role, she started work-
ing briefly at Sephora and got a job offer from a different company. However, it was right when she found out about her fourth pregnancy. She ended up being so sick she could not accept the job offer. "So I do a lot of freelance now. I know many expats here are stay-at-home moms, and I've heard from some that they wish there had more visibility in terms of compensation."
Annie is grateful for the flexibility freelancing gives her. Her youngest is still at home with her, but when others are at school and kindergarten, it gives her time to work on content creation, writing, and digital marketing. However, establishing herself as a professional in Denmark was not easy. Being out of the workforce for so long was tricky, and she lacked the time to work on her resume. So she started to take things into her own hands.
FITTING INTO EVENTYRLAND
One of the ways she did that was by starting her widely popular Instagram page @ annieineventyrland (Annie in Fairytale Land), where she shares her observations of what the life of an American family with four kids looks like - in Denmark, experiencing Danish culture. It started about a year ago when Annie started making TikTok videos about their life in Denmark to share with the family back home. But then they started getting more and more videos, and she'd get requests for topics to talk about - for example, babies sleeping outside, a video that ended up having 16 million views. "Things sort of took off from there. I love making content and seeing people's nice feedback. When I moved here, I saw no accounts of American moms in Denmark. I didn't know what to expect when moving here. A lot of what we do in our culture nowadays is learning about new situations through social media. I wanted to provide that as an American living in Copenhagen."
Stepping out of the digital world, Annie's excited to take her exploration of Denmark to a new level. "I'm going to be releasing guides and doing tours and events for families in Copenhagen - either visiting or living here. I'm really excited to be able to take control in that way because I really require so much flexibility. And now I'm excited to be able to use what I've learned and help other people have a good time."
Annie and her family are not yet ready to leave their Eventyrland. Denmark's just the right fit for their life right now. THE-INTL
"THEY SOMETIMES ASK TO VISIT THE US MORE OR POSSIBLY MOVE BACK, BUT ANNIE THINKS THAT WHEN THEY'RE A BIT OLDER, THEY'LL UNDERSTAND THE REASONS FOR STAYING IN DENMARK BEYOND THE FACT THEY HAVE FRIENDS HERE."
NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
USING A NETWORK TO FIND A JOB IN DENMARK.
YYOUR NETWORK IS your net worth. Cliche? Most definitely! Are they true? Most certainly! The fact is that many jobs in Denmark are never advertised and are instead filled by nods, winks, and whispers, which proves the importance of building a solid network.
So how do you do that, I hear you ask? Let me show you how!
BUILDING A PERSONAL NETWORK
Building a network is one of the most important things you can do to find a job in Denmark.
Before building a new network, the first thing you'll need to do is thoroughly review your existing one. Next, look through your Linkedin, reach out to friends, acquaintances and past colleagues and pinpoint those who might be able to help. This should always be your first point of call.
Once you've done this, it's time to start building your network. Identify companies that you would like to work with. Identify the key people that could help you find a job there. Usually these are recruiters but in smaller companies can be key decision makers or "heads of". I always recommend that people watch a Youtube video by Google's Jeff Su called "Reach out to Recruiters on LinkedIn (the right way!)".
Trust me, it will teach you more about building a network in six minutes and twenty six seconds than you will ever possibly need. He shows the best way to build your network of recruiters by:
#1 Requesting to connect with the recruiter so you can write them a longer, more personalised message.
#2 Asking the recruiter to put you in contact with the person doing the job you would like to do to find out more.
#3 Once you've been connected, always remember to follow up to thank them and keep yourself top of mind.
You can't go wrong with a message like this! Trust me, I'm a recruiter!
Nothing beats the personal connection you can make with somebody at a networking event.
If you're a student, then be sure to look on campus for any industry networking events that might be taking place on campus. For everyone else - Google and Meetup are your best friends. Search out events relevant to your experience, skills and interests and sign up. Most people don't realise that the hard work takes place before the event itself. Most events show the attendees in advance. Look up the people you wish to speak to, make contact and mention that you look forward to meeting them at the event.
Go to the event with a plan of action, who you want to speak to and a goal in mind. After all that all you need to do is show up, bring your most inviting smile, warmest handshake (even post-covid) and be ready to build your network.
If you want to build a network, there's no better place than at the right networking events!
MAINTAINING YOUR NETWORK
You've made connections on Linkedin. You've charmed them at networking events.
Now what? Now you need to MAINTAIN those relationships. Just like a garden becoming overgrown if left to its own devices, you need to be sure to keep in touch with these newfound connections. If you've made contact with people at networking events, it's always a good idea to message them a few days after to touch base. To really maximise this message, it's very important to provide VALUE in this follow-up message. Don't just invite them out for a coffee, show an interest in discussing their product, ask their opinion on something they mentioned at the event. Hubspot offers a number of useful templates for you to use to take the pressure off being creative. The bottom line is though, if you want to maintain a successful network then you'll have to put in the work.
Trust me though, it'll be worth it!
There you have it! By building your network you'll greatly increase your chances of finding the job your talent deserves!
Stay tuned for next month! THE-INTL
“Go to the event with a plan of action, who you want to speak to and a goal in mind. After all that all you need to do is show up.”
HANNON SENIOR TALENT ACQUISITION PARTNER
Luke is a Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at SYBO Games, the company behind the smash-hit game Subway Surfers. Based in Copenhagen (by way of London)!, he has been working to make SYBO grow. He spends his time finding the best talent that the games community has to offer!
He is always keen to build relationships by bringing passion and enthusiasm to the recruitment process. An advocate of Employer Branding, Luke works with the talented people at SYBO to let the world know how great a place it is to work.
When he's not hiring awesome talents for SYBO or cycling (he does live in Copenhagen, after all!), he's busy reading his favourite books and channelling his inner Hemingway as a writer!@Luke Hannon @ Hannon Recruits @ hannonrecruits
LEARNING THE LANGUAGE
As an expat, no matter where you come from, you have many things to consider when moving to another country. Of course, work or studies are among the most common reasons to relocate, but what about the language?
Jane Elgård Petersen takes us through the ups and downs of the language barrier.
WHEN YOU DECIDE to move, all the practical questions will come hand in hand with this decision. Even though you have prepared everything, many questions will arise during the first months in Denmark. You will have to get used to many differences from where you've moved from. However, the language is one of the biggest challenges for any expat. During the recruiting period, you might have been told that Danish is required.
I have to say that Danish companies can be quite stubborn, especially if you get a job in a smaller company. So the requirement for speaking Danish from the beginning will depend on what type of job you get. But don't worry - you will also get help with Danish language courses. However, even with help, many expats still struggle to learn the language. Usually, reading and writing are not the most significant challenge - of course, there will be grammar issues, but that also happens with Danes.
The biggest challenge is pronunciation. Understandable as native Danes are often lazy with that, as many words might have more meanings depending on the pronunciation and context. Furthermore, we also have so many different dialects, making it difficult for everyone. Some Danes even find it challenging to converse with people from other parts of the country as many dialects have entirely different words meaning the same, making it complicated for all. According to the University of Copenhagen, the official number of dialects is approximately 32, but there are more local dialects.
We also must accept that Danish is a small language, only spoken in Denmark. So no surprise when parents might choose international schools for their children. As one father mentioned, "We have chosen the international school for our daughter, as we are only here for two
Wyears, whereafter we are moving to another country, so she will never speak Danish anywhere else". That is an understandable comment, as he was working on a short project for an international company.
SOCIAL AND BUSINESS LANGUAGE
In the workplace, you might see a significant number of differences. For example, there are two types of conversations with your colleagues - business and social. On the other hand, business Danish might not be challenging in many organisations, as several terminologies are in English.
When it comes to the business language used in an organisation, you will also learn that there might be differences in technical and business terminology, which can be confusing.
As a newcomer to an organisation, it would serve you well to understand the professional business language so that all correspondence with the market, customers and suppliers, has one tone. Just remember that some businesses are more formal than others!
The social part can be much more chal-
lenging, as individuals all have their own way of expressing themselves – but don't worry, you'll soon learn about Danish dark humour.
LANGUAGE IN THE CLASSROOM
Many expats have their first Danish lessons in a language school. Fortunately, that works great for most, as they get confidence with basic grammar and daily conversations with others on the same language level.
I once met an expat who felt so confident with the language that she wanted to meet locals in a social setting. We attended the event together, and I agree that my expat friend fell entirely behind, as no one was sensitive to the fact that she and other guests didn't have Danish as their first language. In addition, she didn't understand as much as she thought she would, even with her high level of sprogskole (language school) Danish. So I recommend that you always try to speak to as many people as possible to get used to listening to different tones and accents to help you settle in with the language. THE-INTL
JANE ELGÅRD PETERSEN CULTURAL DETECTIVE
Jane is a local and grew up in Denmark, apart from a few long-term stays abroad, whilst travelling extensively. For the last 10 years, her business has supported relocating internationals to Denmark and helping businesses onboard their employees. She loves a challenge and feels there are many different expectations of moving to Denmark, depending on who you are and where you come from.
THE POWER OF MOVEMENT
MOVEMENT! A TOPIC THAT CAUSES A LOT OF THOUGHT AROUND HOW MUCH OF IT WE LACK. DESK JOBS, HOME OFFICE SET-UPS, BUSY HOME LIFE, AND DEADLINES ALL SEEM TO BE PREVENTING US FROM WHAT WE WERE BORN TO DO: MOVE FUNCTIONALLY!
WWE MOVE EVERY day, but possibly in ways that create more pain and injuries than benefits for our health. For example, we sit on a desk chair and move our fingers on the computer keyboards, get up to grab a coffee and sit back down. Well, I think you get the picture - it's not ideal.
Movement doesn't just mean moving from one place to another - it means being able to do all the valuable things in life that enable us to stay independent for as long as possible. Picking up the kids as they grow, reaching for the vase on the top shelf of the tallest cupboard, carrying all the groceries up the stairs at the same time and being able to get up from the floor without any assistance. Moreover, physical movement increases positive well-being and self-confidence and can reduce stress and emotional exhaustion!
Movement is powerful. Movement is great. But for movement to be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, it needs a little nudge.
The best way to ensure your body stays strong and functional for a very long time is to train it to do so. There are seven basic movements the human body can perform, and all other exercises are merely variations of these: Pull, Push, Squat, Lunge, Hinge, Rotation and Gait. By performing all of these movements, you will be able to stimulate all of the major muscle groups in your body, and here are some basic strength exercises to do so:
A simple resistance band around a door handle or on the bottom of your feet will do the trick. Make sure to use a full range of motion and squeeze the shoulder blades together for a few seconds. Do this a few times a week and feel the postural differences!
Do these against a wall and progress to the floor as you get stronger. You needn't do hundreds of these but focus on your 8-10 best repetitions.
#3 BODYWEIGHT SQUATS
You can use a chair for these. Sit and stand 10-12 times, pushing through your heels, and you rise up.
Walking lunges are my favourite. However, if you suffer from knee pain, I would use a chair to support the movement and statically perform 8-10 single lunges on each side. Alternatively, you can step up on a chair, as this will engage the same muscles.
You can use a long-looped resistance band here too. Anchor the band around a heavy table leg, place yourself inside the loop at hip height and press your glutes back while leaning your torso forward.
The core (specifically the obliques) is the main contributor to this set of movements. Again, a long resistance band will be more than enough here. Fasten an elastic band high up. Grip the band with both hands, step away, and stand sideways to the band's anchor point. With almost straight arms, make a sweeping, chopping-like movement diagonally downward. Return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
Lastly, we have gait, which is the walking technique. This might seem insignificant, but walking is a fundamental movement. Gait combines multiple movements (involving lunging, rotating and pulling with the hamstrings). To perform this, you could do farmer's walks using two buckets filled with equal weights (or dumbbells/kettlebells if you can access some).
A strong body is the key to a lifetime of mobility, and that mobility will provide you with a great sense of well-being, self-confidence and energy, so don't neglect all the types of movement your body needs to stay healthy! THE-INTL
ALEXANDRA BECK PERSONAL TRAINER & NUTRITION COACH
Alex is a Swiss/Brit mom and wife who has lived in Copenhagen since 2009. She switched from corporate life in communications to the independent life of an outdoor personal and group fitness trainer. She coaches people of all ages and fitness levels to find fun and consistency in movement through individual and group workouts. Delivering entertainment and spreading group fitness magic is her superpower. Alex encourages you to high-five her if you see her in the capital!
CAREERS IN NORTH DENMARK
THE REGION HAS MANY GROWING INDUSTRIES LOOKING TO EXPAND AND BRANCH OUT, AND THESE COMPANIES ARE HAPPY TO LOOK OUTSIDE DENMARK TO ACQUIRE THE BEST EMPLOYEES FOR THE JOB.
AAALBORG IS A city recognised by a European Commission study that is home to the happiest people in Europe. This sense of contentment is reflected throughout the region, making North Denmark an ideal place to live, work, and study.
GROW YOUR CAREER IN NORTH DENMARK!
In Denmark, companies are recruiting from abroad to address the shortage of qualified professionals. North Denmark is no exception. Denmark's Business Promotion Strategy from 2020-2023 highlighted that finding the right workforce is essential for the future development and growth of companies in the North Denmark region.
North Denmark offers a range of career possibilities including in the four specific business sectors expected to grow, which are called the blue (maritime industry and fishing), the green (energy and green transition), the smart (ICT and digitisation) and the attractive (tourism). In addition, the region is home to highly acclaimed jobs in sectors such as the health sector, the agricultural and food industry, the building and construction industry, and entrepreneurship and innovation. There are also opportunities in emerging technologies such as Power to X, robotics, and space technology.
These significant sectors have large and international companies always looking for new skilled labour, such as Siemens Gamesa, MAN Energy Solutions and Centrica. But a large part of the job market is made up of small to medium-sized enterprises looking to strengthen their workforce with international workers more and more. As the productivity in the region grows, so does the need for capable, skilled and diligent workers who are, in larger and larger part, sourced from the international community.
One of the most significant advantages of living and working in North Denmark is its excellent infrastructure. The region's location and connectivity to highways and motorways E39 and E45, sea transportation, and Aalborg Airport make it an attractive destination for companies and industries. In addition, despite being the northernmost part of Denmark, North Denmark has excellent connections to the rest of the world.
STUDYING AND STARTING YOUR CAREER
In addition to excellent career opportunities, North Denmark offers top-quality educational options. In 2023, Aalborg ranked in Denmark's top three best places to study. Aalborg is home to two of the most prominent higher education institutions in the region, Aalborg University (AAU) and University College of Northern Denmark (UCN), where UCN also has several locations across
the region as well. Both offer globally recognised education, especially in engineering, healthcare and IT.
Coming to North Jutland isn't just a great choice to further your career but also gives excellent opportunities for getting started or changing it. There are many internship and education opportunities where you can get the experience and skills needed to thrive in the Danish job market. Like many other companies and organisations, International House North Denmark (IHND) often hosts internships and actively helps international students and workers find internships. Our newest intern at IHND is an American expat who came to Denmark with her husband. After finishing her master's at Aalborg University, she gained great connections and skills as a project coordinator intern at IHND.
Evidence shows internships as a viable entry into the job market made viable because of the focus put on it by the job centres, the willingness of companies to employ and train interns, and the opportunity to gain public benefits while working as an intern. For this reason, North Jutland isn't just an excellent destination to advance your career but also a great place to start it.
North Denmark is a region that offers many opportunities for those seeking to build up their career. With a diverse range of educational institutions and schools, various job opportunities in many industries, and excellent infrastructure, North Denmark is an ideal place to call home.
You can contact IHND as a one-point entry for any questions or aid you might need, whether you need answers regarding documents or immigration, networking and events or for getting a personal one-on-one consultation about your CV and how to apply for jobs. IHND offers excellent services for people and companies looking to explore working and living in North Denmark. THE-INTL
LASSE FRIMAND JENSEN
TEAM MANAGER AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBER
Team Manager at International House North Denmark.
City Council member in Aalborg Municipality.
Group chairman for the Social Democratic Party in Aalborg.
Chairman of DANVA and Port of Aalborg.
Father of three kids and married to Kirstine.
Worked and lived in Africa as an expat.
Takes an active part as a volunteer for the international community.
Believes in international solidarity and wants the international community in Aalborg to be more aware of their rights.
NORTH DENMARK IS A REGION THAT OFFERS A WIDE RANGE OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUR CAREER.
NOVO NORDISK - WEGOVY®
NEW REVOLUTIONARY WEIGHT LOSS DRUG!
WWEGOVY® WAS RECENTLY introduced to the market by Novo Nordisk and looks like being one of the most effective anti-obesity drugs to date. This product could result in Novo Nordisk becoming a leading global pharmaceutical manufacturer.
Obesity can lead to severe health problems and many obese people experience difficulty trying to lose weight. This new product is effective at reducing weight, and the side effects are manageable.
It is an example of a new generation of medications based on a better understanding of the biological underpinnings of obesity. While previous pharmaceutical treatments resulted in weight loss of 5-10%, clinical trials of this new wave of drugs are reporting initial weight loss of 15-20%. They work by suppressing appetite and slowing down digestion, so we feel full for longer. One of these medications is “semaglutide” and is sold under the brand name Wegovy®.
These drugs are so effective because they address one of the many complex causes of obesity. When we eat, our bodies usually release “satiety hormones” to make us feel full. However, for people living with obesity, this doesn’t always happen, which can result in uncontrolled hunger and heightened responsiveness to food. Prolonged restriction of food – also known as dieting, and something most people living with obesity will face pressure to do – can further weaken that satiety hormone response. It contains the satiety hormone GLP1, which steps in where the body’s hormones may have failed, boosting sensations of fullness, suppressing reward-driven eating and increasing feelings of control.
However, caution is needed. Semaglutide side-effects can include nausea, bloating, diarrhoea and wind (potentially others), which is why close medical supervision is advised as the dose is increased beyond the first four weeks.
While there is no doubt that these drugs are an important tool in managing obesity, they are only that – one tool. The drug fulfils a biological function but doesn’t provide mental health support or treatment for an eating disorder. Drastic weight loss can have unpredictable effects on mental health. One study found that almost one in five people who receive bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) later experience depression.
Some people living with obesity have used food as a coping mechanism to deal with stress or underlying mental health issues – they will need support once that coping mechanism is removed. Weight-loss treatments should be implemented as part of a much wider support programme that includes advice on nutrition and eating behaviour, psychological support and supported physical activity.
Obesity is complex and is becoming widely recognised as a lifelong, chronic, relapsing disease. We can get better at management, but scientists have not yet found a robust cure – not even with this new product.
Healthcare practitioners need training in obesity management, access to a range of clinical tools and options to work with, and an evidence base to help inform treatment plans to meet individuals’ needs. We also require considerable investment in specialised weight management services within the communities which need them most.
And while most people appropriately prescribed the drug will experience some benefits, clinical tests have shown that the new drug will not work for everyone. The drivers of obesity are diverse, and no drug addresses situational and psychology factors. Structural health inequalities, poverty, mental health issues and the impact of trauma (all shown to drive weight gain) will never be fixed by a jab.
Nevertheless, the European Medicines Agency decided that the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks and has been authorised for use in the EU. This authorisation was given on 6 January 2022.
On 30 March 2023, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) also adopted a positive opinion, although recommending a change to the terms of the marketing authorisation for the medicinal product.
After one year’s availability in Europe, December 2022 was an important benchmark for Novo Nordisk, who announced that the FDA had approved Wegovy® for the treatment of obesity in teens who are 12 and older, while making clear that the product is not meant for recreational or short-term use, so a person who wants to lose weight to look better for a vacation or a high school reunion would not be a candidate for this product. THE-INTL
MARIANO ANTHONY DAVIES
PRESIDENT & CEO OXFORD BUSINESS SERVICES APS
Mariano has over 40 years global experience as a bus iness executive. He spent ten years with KPMG, so far thirty years with British Chambers of Commerce (while also running Oxford Business Services ApS). He is a British citizen, who grew up in Kent, went to boarding school in Sussex and has a British university education. He has been married to a Dane for over 45 years and has held over 150 official anti-Brexit speeches since 2016. He both speaks and writes Danish without difficulty.
SIT BACK, RELAX AND ENJOY A SLICE OF CLASSIC SHORTBREAD WITH YOUR AFTERNOON TEA OR COFFEE.
PHOTOGRAPHS & TEXT: NATASHA LIVIERO / UNSPLASH
MAKES 8 LARGE / 16 SMALL SLICES
140g unsalted butter, room temperature
60g castor sugar
65g rice flour
a pinch of salt castor sugar for dusting
1. Set oven to 1700C fan/1500C.
2. Grease a 20cm round loose bottom cake tin.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy with a paddle attachment.
4. Sift the flour’s and add to the butter mixture with a pinch of salt.
5. Mix until the mixture resembles sea sand.
6. With your hands, bring the dough together until it forms a soft, smooth ball. Do not overwork the dough.
7. Press the dough into the cake tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon for an even surface.
8. Now, with the tines of a small fork, gently press into the dough around the sides of the tin.
9. With a sharp knife, mark out 8 or 16 triangles, pricking each one with a fork a few times.
10. Rest the shortbread in the fridge for 25 minutes.
11. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until lightly browned.
12. Remove from the oven and cut through the marked slices, followed by a generous sprinkling of castor sugar. Rest for 5 minutes in the tin.
13. Gently remove the shortbread from the tin onto a cooling rack.
14. Once completely cooled, store the shortbread in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
NATASHA LIVIERO - PASTRY CHEF
Natasha is a recently qualified pastry chef who is South African by birth and Croatian by blood. She spent many years working for a wellness publication but did an about-turn at the beginning of 2020 when she joined a culinary school to fulfil a lifelong dream to study patisserie. She’s passionate about European patisserie and loves spending time in the kitchen experimenting with recipes (while quibbling with her feline friends), and is always on the hunt for interesting new cookbooks.
THE YEAR OF THE MOM BOD
MANY HAVE SAID, 'Mothers are the closest concept that we will ever come to magic'...a walking miracle on Earth. Motherhood can be earned through various ways, whether adoption, surrogacy, bonus, or surviving (what feels like a forever) pregnancy. However, the toll and aftermath of pregnancy and motherhood on one's identity can be challenging to reclaim. As a mother, I have also gone through the journey of "Who is this person looking back at me in the mirror?!" Waking up in the morning to boobs that I didn't recall drooped and a stomach that grinned at me before I rubbed the sleep away from my eyes. "Okay…now this is reading like a scary movie…but I promise you…it is far from it." In true Pisces nature, I wanted to highlight some of the fashion-savvy mamas…that I have come to know. These women fill my timeline with unapologetic style while juggling an overfilled plate. Motherhood consists of many experiences…and one major part is rediscovering oneself.
#1 The Hippie Mama
At 53 years young, Eva Fox is an eclectic free spirit's daydream. With an impressive background in beatnik fashion and a mother to 3…Eva has mastered the layering life. Of course, we crossed textile paths within the KanthaBae community and have never looked back. It's actually quite eerie (in a good way) how we are always on the same styling vibrations. It's almost as though we share the same virtual closet.
#2 The Mother Glow
Brandie Ohara is a soul I have had the pleasure of knowing since our 'younger' college days at UCONN (Go Huskies). She's always embodied beauty, brains, and fresh fashion. Along with her social work for children…Brandie is a trained MUA (makeup artist) with an unmatched glow. So if you are looking for some 'clean girl' (well, mom would be more accurate) outfit inspiration… she's the one.
#3 The Beach Mum
"I know it's bad practice to point out your puns…but I hope you all saw the magic in my sub-title above." So, as I conclude by laughing at my joke, let's talk about Kimberly At 61 years old, Kimmy (a nickname she welcomes) owns the beach-inspired clothing boutique 'Beachology'. Hailing out of Canada, her curated shop features pieces that exude a summer breeze and sand between your toes. Turning 50, she took the creative jump as a single mother and opened her own store. "The hardest first 3 years of my life…but I never gave up!" she candidly shares. Noah, her son, is her biggest motivation and is a star in his own right.
#4 The Sustainable Mom
"Less is always more" and "simplicity is timeless" are two quotes that come to mind when thinking about Hosannah Jønsson. A mom to 4 with a newborn, Hosannah finds the time to thrift and upcycle her creations. Her feed plays out like your favourite Sade song on repeat, and you leave feeling…in a sense...lighter. I am in awe of how considerate she is with the Earth and being intentional with every post. If breathing new life into fabrics you already have is your thing…then make sure to click on her name.
#5 The Chic Ma
Selestian Patterson's 'chic' style is literally in her actual name… 'Sheek'. If that wasn't enough predestination for you…she also happens to be the online shop owner of Sheek Vintage. Of course, proving that age is just a number - at 40 years old, a real estate professional, and a mother to one…Selestian can be found rocking the latest aesthetics. I have staples in my closet that have been curated by her, and I am eternally grateful for her styling vision.
#6 The Mommy and Me
This next mama is a whole mood board inspiration. While many moms struggle with dressing up their kids and finding a matching pair of socks for themselves…Nora Moerch does both effortlessly. She is a mother to 2 children and an accomplished lifestyle photographer. At 32 years old, her style encompasses her Danish roots and modern bohemia. So if you're up to the challenge of finding an outfit for 3…you have to check her out.
I know my wordy textile diaries are usually filled with the latest trends that end in 'core'. However, I felt it was important to shine a light on real-life mamas…that are doing the damn thang. Motherhood is by far my greatest ensemble yet in all its unpredictable glory. THE-INTL
"Rock those stretch marks…embrace those curves…and let the girls hang…because it truly is a one-of-a-kind outfit."Vanessa
VANESSA PETERSEN JEWELRY DESIGNEROWNER OF STYLEFREED
Dubbed the 'Jill Of All Trades', Vanessa hails from the sunshine state of Florida. After visiting Copenhagen several times as a former International Flight Attendant, she permanently settled in Denmark in 2017 with her husband. Currently, Vanessa is the owner of the hand-crafted jewellery brand, the Style Freed. She creates personalised jewellery centred around healing crystals worldwide. Being a creative "mompreneur' has also allowed Vanessa to focus on her son's developmental journey with autism in Denmark.
OOF COURSE, THE countryside can be challenging in the winter, and the weather has an even larger impact than in the cities – especially with the amount of mud. The lack of year-round residents is also felt outside the summer house season, as our remaining shops have reduced income and therefore reduce their opening hours accordingly.
My husband’s family come from Helgenæs, a peninsula an hour from Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, half an hour from an international airport and twenty minutes from the Mols Bjerge National Park. Close to Aarhus, there is an international school in Grenaa, less than half an hour from most of the villages on Mols and forty minutes from us. In many larger countries, this would be prime commuter territory, but most Danes I know seem almost scared of the unknown nature. In Syddjurs, the council is working hard on bringing families back to the countryside to change some of the ideas about the area being far away and cut off. Events such as “Mød Mols” (Meet Mols) brunches offer those considering moving out to Syddjurs the chance to talk to locals and ask questions about life in the area. In Ebeltoft, the council have also organised events for those who have recently moved to the area to get to know one another. On an even more local level, community groups host monthly dinner parties or events based on the expertise and interest of locals - we had an Irish Beer tasting earlier this year, and I have talked about doing a whisky one, although I’ve not yet gathered up the courage! These efforts seem to have an effect in the nearest village to us, with locals bragging about eight children there.
Some of the needed changes go beyond building a community and are also about practical efforts. My favourite example is
that bus stops have been put up for the first time recently! In addition, they have added some bus shelters - much needed for the winter weather. This might sound absurd to city-dwellers, but it is genuinely a big step forward. Back when I went to language school, on the same bus local children take to school, I had to stand where my husband suggested in the hope that the bus driver was local enough to know where to stop. If someone from the city was standing in as a driver for the day, no one of any age was getting to school or work on time!
The countryside also offers the oppor-
tunity to truly integrate with Danes. Every newcomer to Denmark learns quickly that Danish society can be a hard nut to crack. In the countryside, however, Danes are typically much more open and keener to get to know their neighbours. In addition, those who have moved from the city to the countryside may also understand how it feels to start afresh in a new location, even if they are still in their home country. This may be a bold claim, but coming from the countryside, albeit not the Danish countryside, I believe I sometimes fit in better than some of the Copenhageners who move here! THE-INTL
"The countryside also offers the opportunity to truly integrate with Danes."
HEATHER STORGAARD WRITER
Heather Storgaard comes from Northern Scotland, grew up in Switzerland, and lived in England and Germany. She met her Danish and soon-tobe British husband back in 2017, and they now split their time between Central Scotland and Helgenæs, a peninsula in rural Eastern Jutland. Suitably for a Scot, Heather works with whisky, spending her time writing and translating, with a particular softspot for the up-and-coming world of Nordic Whisky.
PARTS OF DENMARK’S COUNTRYSIDE FEEL LIKE LARGE HOLIDAY RESORTS, WITH SUMMER HOUSES HUGGING THE COAST. WHILE SUMMER HOUSES OFFER MANY FAMILIES A MUCH-NEEDED SPACE OUTSIDE OF THE CITY TO RELAX AND SPEND QUALITY TIME IN, THEY CAUSE SOME CHALLENGES FOR THOSE WHO LIVE FULL-TIME IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. IN MY LOCAL AREA, THE COUNCIL AND LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS ARE DOING THEIR BEST TO ATTRACT FAMILIES TO THE COUNTRYSIDE AND SHOW THAT IT ISN’T JUST HERE FOR TOURISM.© SARAH GREEN DESTINATION KYSTLANDET DESTINATION SØNDERJYLLANDJAMES CRIPPS
MOTHERS IN THE BUSINESS WORLD
OONCE YOU HAVE a child, succeeding at work becomes a different matter. Whereas before, you had lots of time and energy, these are in short supply after the little ones arrive. The time you have for your career development needs to be spent carefully and ruthlessly. Here are some ideas and strategies that have worked for me.
Seeing women who are mothers in senior roles is a great motivator and can show women who aspire that they can continue to grow their careers. Look through your company website to identify these women, and if possible, ask for a mentor and list these women as your favourites.
Leadership can be taught. We can all learn skills that will benefit our careers, but we must invest the time to develop ourselves.
When I was younger, I saw men and women promoted and weren’t sure what they had done to achieve this. It seemed that this success came from nowhere. After attending a leadership course for women, I learnt some excellent skills and learnt to do the same. I learnt how to influence different situations, and when a restructuring came along got promoted.
This first step of understanding yourself is essential because you must develop a leadership style that suits you. Adopting one that you think will work but is not ‘you’ will be exhausting and unsuccessful over the long term. Women must lead in a way which is authentic to themselves. Sometimes senior women become more aggressive and act like men, which is damaging to the women themselves. Women need to develop leadership styles which suit their personalities.
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
You will progress much faster if you understand this and can communicate it to others who can help you. Of course, people want to help, but you do need to let them. This is all part of understanding yourself, so spend the time to work it out.
Often women have excellent networks and contacts. If you work out where you want to go and share this with your manager and contacts in related areas, then in my experience, people are very ready to help. If you are attending an event, look through the contact list before arriving and determine who could help you. If you research them through Linkedin and find a common interest, this is a good conversation starter.
Companies organise themselves in different ways. If you have a choice to work in one which uses PM or agile to organise tasks, jump at it. By allocating work in this way, women can contribute visibly, and their contribution is seen more quickly.
When important decisions are made, the time to influence that decision is in the many weeks before the meeting. First, seek out and talk to the relevant people and point out the value of your stance and how it can benefit them. Then, work out the alliances and
influence them. When restructuring occurs, people often feel despondent. Restructures usually change vertical businesses into horizontal structures or vice versa. When this happens, it creates new roles. In this situation, you need to see where your strengths lie and where they would fit in the new structure, then approach the new director of the newly created section early.
When I started befriending senior staff, I was surprised to realise something. Just by virtue of knowing me, the senior staff member would assume I was good at my job and ready for promotion. Luckily for them, I was good at my job, but I could have been terrible! Nevertheless, it meant I was at the forefront of their thoughts when opportunities arose. Good luck! THE-INTL
"SEEING WOMEN WHO ARE MOTHERS IN SENIOR ROLES IS A GREAT MOTIVATOR AND CAN SHOW WOMEN WHO ASPIRE THAT THEY CAN CONTINUE TO GROW THEIR CAREERS."
IIN DENMARK, MAY is the month when motherhood is celebrated. This year, Mothering Sunday is on 14 May. A lot of cards, flowers, and lunches will mark the occasion.
WHY IS IT SO CELEBRATED?
Mothers are fêted so much, as they are the initial lifeline for a child. The maternal connection is intense, with nine months of pregnancy, childbirth, and, for some, breastfeeding. And this is only the beginning of the relationship!
One version of the family unit includes a mother and a partner. However, in a changing landscape, there are a variety of family units, and there is not always a partner. This often leads to a discussion about its impact on a child.
CAN A CHILD BE RAISED SUCCESSFULLY BY A SINGLE PARENT?
The demands on a parent are enormous and endless. There are many aspects to handle, such as child rearing, family wellbeing, education, socialisation, work, and household chores, to mention only a few.
It is a challenge, for sure. This piece focuses on single mothers, as they form the majority of cases. There are approximately 112,000 single mothers in Denmark. Single-mother families comprise 29 percent of households, while single-father families only constitute 16 percent of households. Research shows that a child with a mother with little formal education and a lack of appreciation for the need to capitalise on the formative years up to five years old does disadvantage a child. A child enters kindergarten with lower cognitive skills and then faces more ground to catch up, which is not always possible.
If a mother is working several jobs or hours, as women are typically in lowerpaid jobs, and her child needs to be supervised by others, there is not always the time or energy to create learning activities after a long day. However, this does not mean that a mother is not invested, just challenged by economic factors.
Where there is acute economic hardship, a mother focuses on survival; there is no space for anything more. In this situation, the odds of a child having a positive upbringing are limited.
The reality of such a situation is that a child comes to school malnourished and
"There are approximately 112,000 single mothers in Denmark. Single-mother families comprise 29% of households, while singlefather families only constitute 16% of households."
in poor physical condition. These health issues make it hard for a child to focus, for s/he is struggling with the fundamentals of life.
And in homes where a child lives in a dysfunctional environment, a child cannot look after herself, a child cannot focus, yet again, on the usual things. Sadly, the roles are swapped, and the child becomes the carer and the 'adult'. In these situations, evidence indicates that children are far more likely to drop out of school, struggle to form stable relationships, and tend to act out. A child can not learn unless she/ he is in a safe emotional space.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN
The picture painted so far is the gloomiest depiction. And it is often this perspective that hits the headlines. However, there are many examples of positive single-parent families. There are a few key factors which help make the difference.
Statistics show that mothers with a high school and/or college education are keen to provide their children with a solid academic pathway. They recognise that schooling is essential and that the additional investment in after-school activities, reading at home, and providing other learning opportunities significantly increase a child's learning potential.
Often mothers with further education can secure well-paid employment, which, in turn, provides a more stable home and lifestyle which allows a child to flourish emotionally, socially, and academically.
Nevertheless, it is not money alone that can nurture a child; it is the possibilities that can be accessed and manipulated by
an engaged, proactive mother. The driving force is the mother and the relationship she develops with her child. Creating time and prioritising it to establish routines supports a child's evolvement, curiosity, and readiness for school.
Mothers who enjoy a strong, supportive family and friend network can utilise these resources to enhance their child's development. Each family member and friend can enrich a child's life and introduce them to exciting experiences as well as the security of a loving environment, which underpins a child's emotional and social well-being. As a result, the family broadens a child's social interactions and experiences.
The family is also a vital support structure for the mother. Many women comment on the lack of time for themselves. This is a serious consideration, as personal well-being is crucial. A failure to create this space, as tricky as it might be, can lead to severe consequences such as anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Research indicates that the percentage of young women with mental health problems is much higher than that of their male counterparts.
A child raised by a single mother enjoys a close, steadfast connection. There is strong loyalty, and a dual engagement in dealing with and resolving issues, which fosters a more independent and self-advocating child. As a result, a child's maturity level can be more advanced than a nuclear family's.
Single parenting is a complex topic, but overall evidence indicates that a child is not disadvantaged; thus, an applause for all single mothers is needed! THE-INTL
MONIKA PEDERSEN INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR
Monika comes from the London area of the UK, where she worked in the state system and the international school system, as an English teacher of 11-18 students and then a section leader. She has also worked in Germany and now in Denmark. She has an overview of the British, International, and American educational systems and is currently learning about the Danish system. She has been in education for 32 years and continues to enjoy the profession. She has relocated to Copenhagen as she is married to a Dane. She enjoys jogging, waterside walks, and cooking.
IN THIS ISSUE, WE INTRODUCE YOU TO A PLACE IN THE COMMUNITY STARTED BY PARENTS' LOVE FOR THEIR CHILDREN.
FFOR OUR MAY issue, we talked to Nina Reffstrup, one of the mothers who established the parent-driven institution Mindsteps.
Mindsteps is open to families with a child or young adult with a disability. It consists of two training centres, specially designed youth education (STU), and a newlyopened activity centre.
DISCOVERING HOME TRAINING
In 2000, Nina gave birth to a child with cerebral palsy. When her son was two years old, he started in a special needs kindergarten, but it wasn't long before his health started deteriorating. At this point, Nina and her husband started exploring alternative options for helping their son.
They discovered a holistic home training method and quickly realised this was the right option for their son. However, home training methods were not customary in Denmark at the time. "The normal way to go was to put your child in a special needs kindergarten and school. If the child didn't fit in well, there weren't many other answers." Luckily, Nina had experience working with trade unions and was used to lobbying and negotiating with politicians. With a small group of parents in a similar situation, Nina got a bill passed in 2008, ensuring children with disabilities the right to home training. This made it possible for parents to choose home training as an alternative to kindergarten.
Nina explains, "When families start to home train, it's usually impossible for the child to go to kindergarten. Some children can become sick or overstimulated".
When Nina and her husband were home training their son at their home, they had a network of other families they used to see occasionally. However, the municipality they lived in kept suggesting that they utilise this group of parents and train together at least once a week. They tried this out and found it exciting and beneficial for the children and their families. "The children were able to participate. They need their home training programme because they are not necessarily social or initiate games and play with other children, but they liked that they were doing the same thing with the other children."
This group of parents decided they would make a train-
ing centre where families could meet daily if needed - and that was the start of Mindsteps.
Mindsteps was established in 2010 and is run by a tightknit little circle consisting of a board of parents and even by Nina's son's godmother, an accountant. Besides fundraising, they also have a foundation that supports them, but they opted out of any public funds very early on, as it would inevitably come with a lot of control from the municipality. "We wanted a place where we could decide what we wanted to do at any given moment without having to check with the municipality and ask permission."
Mindsteps has been based in Herlev for the last 11 years, and a second centre was opened in Horsens in 2019. Today, Mindsteps functions as a foundation for the families that go there - they have a place to meet others and bring their home training programme someplace outside their house. "It has become a community. When you have children with disabilities, you are often isolated from your family and friends that are not in the same situation. Here, you meet people who have decided to go in the same direction for helping their children, which is still very unconventional in Denmark."
Feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive - they enjoy having a place to become a part of a community, using the facilities and the equipment needed for their home training methods.
There are 12-14 children enrolled in the Horsens Center, and there are currently 10 children and 6 young adults at the Herlev Center. "When the first group of children turned 18, we started looking around for schools - and found that no schools matched their intellectual needs since they were not behind intellectually. So we created a specially designed youth education (STU) school." However, that only covers three additional years of the young person's education - so they created an activity centre as part of Mindsteps, where young adults can also work in a sheltered environment."
The group of parents behind Mindsteps already achieved a significant change in the Danish special needs educa-
MICHAELA MEDVEDOVÁ comes from Slovakia and moved to Denmark 3 years ago to study for her Master's degree. She says living in Odense is the perfect city for her because it's not too large to be intimidating, but still exciting! She works at Umbraco as a Magical Copy Whisperer and started a podcast with her friends - @humans.of.sdu. She loves watching and talking about movies, Harry Potter, karaoke nights (even though she can't sing to save her life), and pub quizzes (winning them, to be specific).
tion system - filling the gap with home training methods and giving parents the freedom to choose home training if this was what their child needed.
There are specific criteria parents need to live up to to be allowed to home train their children. If a child is granted the option of home training, the municipality comes by twice a year to check on the child's development.
However, there is still a struggle with the lack of awareness about home training. "Every second year, we do a member survey, and in 2019, only 6% of parents were told about home training by their municipality. In 2021, it was only 3%. Awareness needs to change. It is actually required by law that municipalities inform parents that home training is a possibility."
Currently, it's mostly through word of mouth or through Facebook groups that parents find out home training is possible. This hits expat parents more than anybody else, as on top of figuring out the special needs system in a new country, they are often met with a language barrier. Nina shares that she and the other parents behind Mindsteps are often frustrated that there isn't more knowledge about their work. "We get contacted by people studying to be physiotherapists or therapists, and they often wonder why they don't hear about us at school. Disability in Denmark is not talked about very much."
Nina shares that people who want to visit Mindsteps will be welcomed with open arms. She elaborates that politicians are also more than welcome to visit since she and the other parents want to bring more visibility to home training. "Politicians can come here, see what we're doing, and talk to parents and children. It's really effective. Often, when you don't know enough about something, and you're used to things being a certain way, myths and prejudice can start to build up. Politicians can wonder," Why don't they just send their children to our very normal kindergartens?" We always win when people see us - they meet normal parents who just want to do something for their child because they don't thrive in the typical system - and this helps." THE-INTL
For more information about Mindsteps and home training, visit: https://mindsteps.dk/ or https://www.hjernebarnet.dk/
SARA R. NEWELL is from Canada, went to high-school in Costa Rica, and has worked and studied in Iceland and Denmark. She is a disability rights activist and has a master's degree in Technological Business Development and Biomedical Engineering from Aarhus University. Sara has lived in Denmark since 2003, and lives with her husband and daughter. She hopes to contribute and share insights with others who have children with disabilities. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sararose-newell-b1904726 / https://m.facebook.com/groups/bakopomdepaarorende
LET'S TALK ABOUT BOUNDARIES - WITH YOURSELF!
IIN THE COMING issues, I want to explore boundaries- with yourself, with friends, with family and in dating and relationship settings.
According to the Oxford Dictionaries, a boundary is 'a real or imagined line that marks the limits or edges of something and separates it from other things or places; a dividing line'.
When I was younger, I did not know the need to draw a boundary, let alone understand its importance. Fast forward many years of lessons and healing work, and now I'm guarding my boundaries with life and unapologetically putting it out there without any guilt. It is the healthiest and most liberating thing I've done for myself.
STARTING WITH YOURSELF
Many relate boundaries to a strict, non-permeable wall of rules and regulations, a take-it-or-leave-it condition that comes with punishment if violated. But, in fact, it is a safe space that you draw to let people in healthily, not keeping people away in an uptight manner. Don't know where and how to start? Here are some of the tips I've learnt from my experiences.
First and foremost, set a personal boundary with yourself. It goes a long way in many aspects of life. For example, how often do you say 'yes' to something when you just want to say a simple 'no' without explaining? That's where we need the personal boundary- be clear and assertive with what you accept and agree to.
By saying that, I mean: know what you want and don't want, understand the why behind all those, why they are essential to you, how they affect you and your emotional well-being, what you can accept, tolerate and need etc. All these are good guidelines to start drawing your boundary and creating this safe space around you. So take all the time you need to think it through, write it down, gain some clarity and take it from there.
Now you might wonder, does it mean one needs to be selfish and ruthless to set a boundary? No, there is a very thin fine line between being selfish and setting a boundary. Being selfish and manipulative is disregarding others' feelings and circumstances and coming from a place of control, fear, or feeling threatened while having a boundary is coming from a place of secure, compassion for yourself and others, yet being assertive, kind and respectful to yourself and others. The biggest difference perhaps lies in how we feel and respond to when our boundaries have been crossed – the former could result in giving cold-shoulder, silent treatment, any form of emotional punishment, withdrawing attention or love; the latter is staying calm and neutral but honouring, respecting and accepting the fact that you have the power and decision to walk away, say no to anything that doesn't serve your best purpose.
RESPECTING YOURSELF IS NOT SELFISH
You can't decide or control how the person on the receiving end feels about your 'no', but you have every power to respect your own boundary. For example, if you're tired from work and want a quiet night for yourself, your friend calls and tries every means
to persuade you to go for a night out. You can either say yes, reluctantly, and then feel depleted and even angry at yourself for saying yes when all you want is to say no and stay in. You don't have to feel guilty about saying no without explaining yourself. If that's your boundary, you honour it, respect it, stick with it, and kindly and assertively tell your friend, 'Thanks for the invite, but I want to have a quiet night to myself - perhaps I'll join you next time.' That is not selfish; you are not punishing your friend for not enjoying their definition of fun. On the contrary, it is healthy to voice your needs kindly.
It might feel guilty at first to do that, but as you get more precise and firmer on your boundaries, you become more assertive about what you accept and not. This is also a perfect screening process for people around you- who take no for an answer gracefully and gives you a hard time punishing you, guilt-tripping you. Take note of that, and you'll soon see yourself surrounded by people who truly respect you and your boundaries, but YOU have to be the first to respect yourself and honour that before anyone else can see and follow. Respect yourself enough to honour your safe space that allows deeper connections to form and grow. Your boundaries serve a 2-way purpose: keeping your emotional well-being healthy and allowing people with your best interests into your close circle saves much of your energy. THE-INTL
OPHELIA WU FASHION CONSULTANT & JOURNALIST
Like her hometown Hong Kong, Ophelia has a diverse background and upbringing. She moved to Copenhagen in 2019 after 10 years of living in London. Her fashion and journalism career began in 2007 at ELLE Hong Kong magazine, and later on as an online stylist at Net-A-Porter.com in the UK; she has worked with all sorts of creatives, brands and celebrities globally. She now works on everything fashion and communicationrelated. With her love of travelling and places her work brought her to, people she met from all walks of life inspired her to start her own business M for Minimal: a place to raise the awareness of going back to basics through conscious consumption and mindfulness with a touch of spirituality - something she has been practising since her teenage years.
"YOU MIGHT WONDER, DOES IT MEAN ONE NEEDS TO BE SELFISH AND RUTHLESS TO SET A BOUNDARY?"
5 REASONS WHY MOTHERS HAVE AN EASIER LIFE IN DENMARK
HHERE ARE FIVE important reasons that may help you decide where to raise your children.
#1 WORK-LIFE BALANCE
Maintaining a good balance between time on the job and personal life is one of the fundamental reasons mothers, or women in general, can live a happy life. According to OECD, in Denmark, about 1% of employees work very long hours in paid work, much less than the OECD average of 10%. Evidence suggests that long work hours may impair personal health, jeopardise safety and increase stress. In addition, when people work more, they have less "meet time" for their families. In Denmark, full-time workers devote more of their day, on average, to personal care and leisure than the OECD average of 15 hours. And Denmark has the highest rating of satisfaction with time use.
#2 EQUALITY WITH PARTNER
Women in Denmark have more significant equality to men than in other countries. When we were writing about work-life balance, it is good to realise that people have paid and unpaid work, which is their daily duty. Unpaid work includes routine housework, shopping for goods and services, caring for household members and non-household members, volunteering, and other unpaid work. Women consistently work longer hours in unpaid work than men. Mothers are especially under pressure – they must care about kids and the household, but many have ambitions to pursue careers too. Up to 71% of Danish women have paid work outside the home, far below the OECD average (62%). Denmark's parental leave policy is also among the most flexible in the European Union. Parents with children born on or after 2 August 2022 are each entitled to 24 weeks of maternity leave benefits after the child's birth. For full-time employees, 11 weeks are designated for each parent, and 26 weeks (13 weeks for each parent) can be shared. This new consolidation act brought working mothers a fantastic opportunity to return to the labour market as soon as possible if they wanted.
#3 PREFERENCE OF WOMEN IN DANISH SOCIETY
Denmark cares about women, and equality is essential to Danes. The Danish governing coalition almost always includes a Minister for Equality (nowadays, Marie Bjerre is appointed as the Minister for Digital Government and Gender Equality), and the Gender Equality Committee has been a part of the Danish Parliament since 2011. Women are highly respected and seen as having equal status as men. Girls are raised to be independent and strong from a young age, without the need for stereotyping male and female roles and prioritising the male career in the family. The number of employees in Danish companies should be gender-balanced; most likely, mothers in many companies have more flexible working hours. The flexible-hours culture in Denmark also means that mothers (but also fathers) can
pick up their kids between 3 pm and 4 pm from kindergarten. And it is perfectly okay to do it.
#4 AVAILABLE AND AFFORDABLE CHILDCARE
Women in Denmark have a better opportunity to devote themselves to work and balance it with family life. This is mainly due to relatively short working hours, flexibility in employment and the availability of social institutions such as kindergartens and nurseries. The Danish welfare state subsidises daycare places for children from six months, and the costs of attending kindergarten are also relatively low, as the state contributes a large part of the fees. The government pays 75 percent of the cost of a place or even more if your household income is below a certain threshold. Among other things, parents receive child and youth benefits quarterly, also known as børnepenge. It is from circa 3 000 kr. to 4 800 kr. per child (depending on the child's age), and is tax-free.
#5 FAMILY-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT
US News and World Report ranked Denmark as being the best country to raise children and fourth on Save the Children's 16th annual Mother's Index, which assesses the well-being of mothers and children in 179 countries. Denmark is a child-friendly society that is an excellent place for kids to grow up. Practically in every city district and in the countryside, you will find many creative and safe playgrounds. Children's corners are standard in institutions, doctors' waiting rooms, libraries and cultural centres. But the most important thing I realise as a mother in Denmark is that I live in a country that provides my child with high security and trust, especially in schools and educational institutions. THE-INTL
Natalia is a Slovak journalist based in Aalborg, Denmark. She has around 15 years of experience in journalism. Her experiences as an editor and a reporter were founded in Slovak magazines and newspapers. She was also working as a TV reporter, a TV moderator and a host in radio broadcasting. Part of her career included working with PR and marketing. Natália is also a content creator on her social media. Follow her blog www.mamavdansku.com , where she writes about life in Denmark.
@Mama v Dánsku
@Mum in Denmark
"GIRLS ARE RAISED TO BE INDEPENDENT AND STRONG FROM A YOUNG AGE, WITHOUT THE NEED FOR STEREOTYPING MALE AND FEMALE ROLES AND PRIORITISING THE MALE CAREER IN THE FAMILY."
TO BE A MOTHER IN DENMARK IS PRETTY GOOD, AND I WILL TELL YOU WHY - JUST KEEP READING.VISIT ODENSE - JOHAN TOBIAS JOENSEN PHOTOGRAPHS VISIT DENMARK / UNSPLASH TEXT NATÁLIA ŠEPITKOVÁ VISIT AARHUS - KATTEGATCENTRET VISIT AALBORG - KJETIL LØITE GEOPARK VESTJYLLAND - THOMAS HOLST
AUTHENTIC MOTHERHOOD LIVING
BBEING AN EXPAT mother is a unique and enriching experience, but it can also be challenging at times. When we move to a new country, we encounter different cultural norms, values, and practices, which can clash with our beliefs and ideas about motherhood. The overwhelm of navigating the new culture can make us question our values, beliefs, and parenting. It can challenge our authenticity!
I experienced this during my fourth international transition with my family of five back in 2009. I got lost between the demands of the school system and the needs of one of my children. I struggled to stay true to my values and the need to fit in.
When shaken out of our comfort zone, step 1 in regaining a sense of direction and control is to be clear on who we are and our values.
It turned out that one of my fundamental values as a mother is to give my children space to be who they are and that I will not allow a school system or teachers to belittle them for their personality. That gave me a guiding star to stay authentic while talking to teachers about my daughter.
THIS EXERCISE MIGHT HELP YOU:
Ask yourself: “What three fundamental values define my motherhood?”
Write them down. Put them in “Notes” on your phone for easy access when in doubt.
If it is difficult, don’t worry. Try to ask yourself the reverse question: “What would I never accept as a mother?”
Or: “Where do I feel most connected and in sync with my kids.”
These questions can guide you towards your values.
GIVE YOURSELF A “CULTURAL CURIOSITY BREAK”
Another challenge that expat mothers of-
ten face is the constant adjustment of behaviours and adaptation to expectations.
In our eagerness to fit in and get accepted in our new surroundings, we can lose our sense of self. As we struggle to find direction, our kids can get confused as they see us pushing them or allowing things that go against our previous parenting style. If that happens (it did to me, and most of the expat women I counsel experience it, too), try to give yourself a “cultural curiosity break”.
Give yourself a minute to breathe before you decide what to do next. Tune in to your values, and maybe even consult the 3 values you have written down.
When you tune into your curiosity: What is happening right now? What does my inner voice tell me to do? Is this a cultural clash or a fundamental difference in values? What does my child want? Why is it important? Is it about fitting in, and can I/we stay authentic?
It is not important what the outcome is. The important and helpful part of this exercise is to slow down the pace, breathe and create space for staying curious and thus being able to look beyond cultural
differences and evaluate how you want to act according to your values.
TRUST YOUR INNER VOICE
Of all the journeys we embark on in life, the journey of motherhood is probably the deepest and most developing of them all. Add the expat journey on top - you are genuinely on a path filled with learnings, challenges, choices, and growth.
We all make mistakes, misjudge situations, say yes when we feel a no – and vice-versa. As expat mothers, we are balancing and navigating multiple intercultural meetings and lots of emotional turmoil. However, when we work on getting a clearer sense of our values and increasing our consciousness and awareness, we can make better and more authentic choices.
However, when we stumble, it’s okay. It will happen. You know your children better than anyone else, and you have the insight and unique perspective from your own cultural and social context. Trusting your intuition, you have the best outset to stay authentic and will provide your children with a sense of security and confidence that will also teach them to trust their own instinct. THE-INTL
Nanna Hauch is a Danish fourtime former expat, mother of three Third Culture Kids, licensed couple and family therapist, MPF specialised in the psychological aspects of expat life, global transitions and intercultural organisational dynamics. She is a warm and analytical therapist and an experienced speaker and workshop facilitator and additionally holds a M.Sc. in Intercultural Management.
Nanna founded Expat Hero in 2018 to support internationals and their families to adjust to transitional life and increase mental health when living globally mobile lives.
You can read more on www. expathero.dk and connect with Nanna at +45 40110459 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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"OFALL THE JOURNEYS WE EMBARK ON IN LIFE, THE JOURNEY OF MOTHERHOOD IS PROBABLY THE DEEPEST AND MOST DEVELOPING OF THEM ALL." PHOTOGRAPHS UNSPLASH TEXT NANNA HAUCH