Saturday, March 2, 2013

How Much Do You Hate the Danish Culture?

How Much Do You Hate the Danish Culture? 35%? 70%? 100%?

A few days ago I wrote a Post on how differently people look at the Danish culture, at Danes and at the Danish system. Some even express pure hatred. So, I got to think about that it would be great for some foreigners to change the degree to which they hate the Danish culture into the degree to which they can cobtribute to it instead.

Another trigger for this post was the topic we are studying at the language school (sprogskole) now. We are reading about the Danish democracy and the Danish Constitution (Grundloven). You have the freedom of speech, but things like blasphemy, humiliating others because of their race, skin colour and some other things are not allowed. In the school we are talking a lot about tolerance to other people's culture, religion and so on.

So, I sat down and wrote down some ways in which we can contribute to the Danish culture and the Danish society (or actually to any other, if you live in another country), in order to exercise ........................
tolerance in ourselves and in others. These are those I can think about:
  • Learn about and respect their culture, political system, religion. How it can be achieved:
- read about it before you move to the country
- read, watch and listen to news when in the country. Make sure you do not read negatively-oriented newspapers, books, etc., but rather neutral
- observe
- do networking and listen to different people's opinions
  • Learn the language. How it can be achieved:
- language schools
- self-education (resources like Dansk her og nuDansk nu, etc., textbooks, audios, etc.)
- reading in Danish
- through friends, networking
  • Learn the history of the country

  • Learn about traditions and customs of the country. How it can be achieved:
- reading
- learning by doing (when in the country)
- stay curious in your daily life (when in the country); there're so many small things happening daily which we don't even notice sometimes 
  • Volunteer with different projects, especially social ones. I know quite few foreigners who are involved with the activities of Red Cross and/or Blue Cross. Though there're also so many possibilities in other areas. Lots of companies offer free traineeship
  • Learn about the workplace culture of the country, thus avoiding mistakes and awkward situations at job interviews and at work. How it can be achieved:
- go to different companies profiles and "values" sections (for ex., one at LEGO)
- read online resources for foreigners (for ex., Foreigners in DenmarkWorktrotter and many others)
- read books about the workplace culture of the country. I highly recommend Business Dances with Danes. Decoding Danish Workplace Culture
  • Respect yourself, your culture and your background. Do not idealize it but do not diminish it either. None will respect you or/and your culture, if you don't
  • Bring in your culture and background to enrich the culture of the country you live in now. However, make sure you're not forcing it up
  • Do networking! Very important! Do networking not only with other foreigners but also with Danes. It will help you both learn things about Denmark and become a part of the Danish culture. How it can be achieved:
- through friends and friends of friends
- visit multiple networking meet-up groups (for ex., InterNationsKVINFOExpat in Denmark, and many many others)
- participate in different online networking groups (like ones on LinkedInFacebook, etc.) and forums (for ex., ExpatBlogExpat Focus and so on)
- create your own networking groups. For ex., I have one where we happen to be Danish, Russian and Ukranian women. Everything is in your own hands
  • Do not complain. Stay positive
  • Learn to see the big picture. Sometimes things are hard and not the way we want them to be, but in the big picture they will only contribute to our strength and reevaluation
  • Remember, in the end it's always you who directs your own life and your attitude, and is responsible for it!

These are the things I can think about now. 

BTW!!! Danish traditions and culture ARE interesting and fun to learn! :)

I am really interested in your opinion! Leave your comments below and tell us: Do you agree with me, or disagree? What other points can you think about?

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