Living in an Expat World: Easing the troubles and strife of spouses - The Post

Living in an Expat World: Easing the troubles and strife of spouses

“And you must be the spouse”
May 13th, 2017 7:00 am| by Tiny Maerschalk

In Denmark, the term ‘spouse’ is used to indicate the accompanying partner of an international employee, but it can also extend to an international relocating to their partner’s home country.

You must be the spouse!

To an employer, a spouse can be seen as a ‘challenge’ who needs to be kept happy in order to retain the recruited employee.

A spouse can also be a label or box you are unwittingly lumped into. As a new arrival once told me: “When signing up with the public authorities, the officer was addressing my husband, and then turned to me and said: ‘Oh, and you must be the spouse.’”

Right then she became the ‘trailing part’.

Happy partner = happy life

We all know the saying ‘Happy wife, happy life’, and companies are very aware that the spouse and children’s well-being are crucial to retaining the employee.
Uprooting your home life to relocate to a new city can be incredibly exciting and daunting all at once. For some, stepping into the unknown is an adventure, while for others, challenges such as language barriers and being away from their social and support networks can be overwhelming.

The attempt to recreate a daily routine can be frustrating, with many finding it difficult to obtain work in their relevant field, even when highly-skilled and experienced.

An empowering network

Spouses strive for a meaningful life in Aarhus, and we have formed a social and support network to empower them to take action into their own hands. Spouse Community Aarhus is a group of strong, experienced people with the necessary resources that want to be seen and heard.

We seek to celebrate each person’s individuality, skills and culture while forming a community where people can make meaningful connections, kick-start their social life in a new city, and seek professional and volunteer opportunities.
We want spouses to be seen as an opportunity for both Danish society as a whole and the labour market, rather than as a challenge.

Tiny Maerschalk

Belgium’s Tiny Maerschalk, who has worked for the International Community networking platform since its foundation in 2008, knows how it feels to settle in a new country. Dedicated to improving conditions for new arrivals, here she shares her insights about the business issues that mean the most to internationals in Denmark.