Daniela Specialist in Oncology working in Denmark
THE Danish teacher we had was the best. I was really happy about him and he speaks a very well-articulated Danish – a lot better than the average Dane actually speaks. The way the Danes speak is fast and not always easy to understand in the beginning. Now I am used to it.
It was very hard to imagine that I would ever understand Danish the first time I heard it. We worked hard to learn Danish and we practiced a lot with our teacher. We got a lot of homework and it was hard work. But I wasn’t surprised – since I already knew it was going to be difficult to learn a new language fluently in 6 months only. So in the end it wasn’t harder to learn Danish than I had expected.
New family life in Denmark
My son was very young when we moved to Denmark, and therefore it wasn’t possible to include him very much in the moving and language process, but it helped a lot that we could attend the language course in Zagreb. That way it didn’t affect our son’s life too much. My husband also started studying the same language course as me, but it went too fast and was too difficult for him. MediCarrera, therefore, created a special language course for him, which was a really nice gesture. My husband has learned a lot and is continuing his language course in Denmark. He speaks Danish well but not yet fluently.
The hardest part of the process was that it was hard for my son. He was too little to understand why we were moving to Denmark. The transition from his kindergarten in Zagreb to his new kindergarten in Denmark – where he didn’t know the language – was difficult for him. But it was all a natural part of the process and MediCarrera couldn’t have handled the situation any different than they did.
New work life in Denmark
After the first week at work, I had my first patient. I didn’t have a lot of problems understanding what the patient said. Of course, at some point, I experienced certain problems with some of the patients, but it never affected me much. The patients I attended when I just moved to Denmark are now telling me how much my Danish has improved.
Work conditions in Denmark are really good and all of my colleagues are nice and helpful. The only thing I miss from my work life in Croatia is working with medical students. I worked at a university hospital back then, so I was used to working with students. At the hospital where I work now in Denmark, I don’t have any students. That I sometimes miss, but next to that I really enjoy my work life here.
It is very good that the work-life balance in Denmark is so well organized – that is one of the major reasons why I like to work in Denmark; that I’m not stressed. I can focus on my own field whereas, in Croatia, I had to focus on my co-workers’ responsibilities too. I had to coordinate, look at the x-rays and focus on the medicine and lots of other things, so I didn’t have time enough to focus on my own specific area. Here in Denmark, I can focus a hundred percent on my own field, which is really satisfying.
I don’t know if I want to take any additional educational courses right now because right now I find that the most important thing is to start up our new life here in Denmark. When we are more settled I will research my options and see what I can do to develop my career. I have the impression that Denmark can provide many different opportunities career-wise, but I haven’t looked into the different options yet.
“I feel like I have got a better life after I moved to Denmark, because I haven’t been stressed at work. That’s a highly valued thing here in the North – to have a good balance in your daily life.”
Life in Denmark
The biggest surprise about life in Denmark was in my son’s kindergarten. In Denmark, the children don’t always get food when they’re in kindergarten but have to bring it from home. In Croatia, you don’t have to do that. But I knew that before we moved here since we visited the kindergarten before we moved here. Next to that, I was surprised about the different kind of groceries you can get in Denmark, compared to Croatia.
The Danes eat dinner around 6 at night, and the dinner seems to be the most important meal a day. In Croatia the most important meal a day is lunch. But the time frames for the meals in Croatia and Denmark are very similar. Our family has chosen to remain with our already existing rhythm from Croatia, and it matches the time frames in Denmark perfectly well.
I feel like I have got a better life after I moved to Denmark because I haven’t been stressed at work. That’s a highly valued thing here in the North – to have a good balance in your daily life. In Denmark, I have much more time to spend in my private life than I had in Croatia. I rarely have to work extra hours since my work life is so well organized. That way I got more time to spend with my husband and my son and on my own daily life. Economically it is also easier now.
Some good advice
Language is the most important thing is to focus on when moving to Denmark. The most important thing for the Danes is that you speak Danish. If you speak Danish or at least try, they take it as a positive initiative from your part and they will be more open towards you. You have to be prepared to get a new lifestyle and be prepared to go through some hard months in the beginning.
It is also important to know that the Danes are very polite and they expect you to communicate politely too. Both when you talk and have discussions at work and privately. The Danes use a very polite rhetoric at most times. In Denmark, the nurses have gone through a very good and thorough education, and have a very important place in the departments in the hospital. In Croatia, the nurses aren’t valued so highly. The relationship between the nurses and the doctors is essential in Denmark, and as a doctor, you have to be very respectful to the nurses. I know a foreign doctor, who isn’t used to communicating equally with the nurses. A good advice to the hospitals would be to underline the importance of that relationship before hiring the foreign doctor.
The best thing about life in Denmark is actually the balance between work and private life. So, even though it was hard to leave our friends and family, we are happy here in Denmark. We already have some friends and are doing. It was hard in the beginning but now we feel at home. Every time we go to Croatia my son is asking when we will be going home to Denmark.