donderdag 6 augustus 2015

Flash Guide to Aarhus for Ellen and Olga

Yesterday, the first meetup after the summer of the University International Club of Aarhus University took place in ARoS. Twelve expats in Aarhus (among which two Danes) were there and shared fun and information.

With two women, Olga and Ellen, I embarked on a conversation about finding work in Aarhus. I promised to send some links to them. Later, I thought 'Why not share it on my blog, so others can read it, too?'

So here goes. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments, and I'll add them to this list.

Organisations and groups that are helping newcomers in Aarhus

International Community
Sponsored by Aarhus Municipality and Erhverv Aarhus, of which the latter is the organisation of entrepreneurs in Aarhus, it goes out of its way to make your 'landing' in Aarhus as smooth and informative as possible. They know all about the practicalities of settling in, and if they don't, they have a network to help you along. They also organise events for socialising among expats.

UIC - University International Club
Is the social branch of the International Center of Aarhus University. It meets weekly and organises presentations and (informative) events about all things Danish. A big plus is that internationally minded Danes are joining, too, so you can tap their minds on the weirdest questions, like how to find a good Peugeot garage, where is a good jeweller, who is a good child-psychologist that works in English ...
Furthermore, it organises an International Playgroup, and Language Buddies for learning Danish - look here for more UIC-activities

Meetup Aarhus - Aarhus Internationals
Is an international concept for expats finding each other abroad - they also organise events.

Is a network I haven't explored.

Arriving in Denmark and being an expat
Is the digital, national version of International Community, so to speak :-) Good for a broader perspective. they also go 'on tour' and organise events in denmarks bigger cities, often in co-operation with, in Aarhus' case, International Community.

Your Danish Life
Is a magazine, both digital and on paper, about building up your Danish life in Denmark. Available at the 7-Eleven at the main train station, and at Kristian Møller Boghandel on Store Torv (this bookshop also has a good English section)

A blog I particularly like is Life in Aalborg

Learning the language

Is the place to start your Danish lessons. It's free for every newcomer who has a residence permit. Sadly, they have a waiting list of eight weeks! So much for hitting the ground running...
Lærdansk also teaches courses at the university campus, especially aimed at university employees. So without having to trek around the city, you can follow a Danish language course right after work. Hard, but worth the investment. See also UIC Language Buddies.

Once I gave a presentation about learning Danish - I have copied here the (shortened) blog version.

Finding work

WorkinDenmark organises workshops where you can rewrite your CV and cover letter the Danish way. These are very useful, not in the least because they also explain how the Danish labour market works.

Job Center is the first place you will be sent to when looking for work. More often than not, they'll tell you to start learning Danish first. their website is in Danish only, too. True, learning Danish is almost a job in itself, but in my opinion it is a bit sad that momentum goes out of your career by moving over here. Also, it's not true. There are foreigners who have found jobs in Denmark while speaking English mostly. This is not only because there are workplaces where the working laguage is English, but also because it is a matter of offer and demand. If you have special talents and competences, there is always a solution. Finally, the Danish authorities are very keen on people finding work, and there are special arrangements for foreigners, too. Ask for it. Even in English.

The way to find a job in Denmark is through your network. Anybody can be part of your network: your tennis partner, your neighbour, someone in your language class, the mother of your daughter's friend in school, people you meet at Aarhus Meetup socials... Be aware of that, and start thinking like a networker - seeing opportunities for others in your network.

Also, find professional networks in your field. You can also join The Bridge Project, a network group of foreigners in Aarhus trying to find work. See also The Bridge Project (TBP) on LinkedIn (you'll have to join the group first, though) and The Bridge Project on Facebook (public)

Also, consider joining service clubs like Lions or Rotary. There is a special International Rotary Aarhus Chapter, where the main language is English.

Another interesting network is AarhusToastmasters

Starting your business

For many newcomers, starting up a business can be a good plan. If you want to offer translation and editing services (an option for many native English-speaking expats), being a 'selvstændig' (independent = freelancer) makes sense.

But you can also explore this trail in order to find out for yourself, what you have on offer. Thinking of yourself as a 'shop' or business can unleash a creativity that is helpful for defining your Unique Selling Points :-)

Startvækst Aarhus  has an English website and offers support in English, too. Sometimes there are mentor schemes, where you get assigned a mentor who can be your sparring partner. Furthermore, they organise networking events, too.

The StartUp Digest has also a lot of networking events on offer. You can tailor it to your own needs and preferences.

Where to find Real Danish People to be friends with?
So far, most of the links are to expat-community activities. If you want to make friends with Danes, you have to venture out to where they are. But that's another story :-)

Again, if you think that there are links and activities lacking in this overview, feel free to comment and I'll add your suggestion!

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