Give Yourself a Chance: To me integration means … – The Post

Give Yourself a Chance: To me integration means …

Putting yourself out there is key (Photo by iStock)
January 31st, 2016 6:55 am| by Carlos Monteiro
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Recently, a major Danish media vehicle hired a Syrian refugee as an intern and started a discussion about ‘How to make it in Denmark’. My impression was that the goal of its series of articles was to discuss whether Denmark offers enough opportunities for immigrants and refugees, and in general to bring more nuances to the topic. It certainly needs it.

Hard all over the world
Before moving to Denmark with my wife (who’s Danish), she chose to be in Brazil – to live, study and find work while I was finishing my studies. There, she faced many of the challenges that I have been facing here. Being a foreigner in Brazil was absolutely not easy for her.

So this discussion about Denmark being particulalty ‘closed’ compared to other countries is to me extremely shallow, tedious and perhaps to a certain extent not true.

The safe bet
Foreigners in Denmark shouldn’t expect to make it ‘as easily’ as in their home countries for the simple reason that people in this case, the Danes, will more often go for the ‘safe bet’, or at least with what they are familiar with.

Foreigners have to prove themselves more, or they have to stand out. That’s how it is whether you live in Denmark, Brazil or Australia. I don’t believe this is solemnly a Danish standard.

Drop the victim mentality
It’s always very convenient to become a victim when all the odds seem so difficult.

To me integration means moving forward, day-by-day, knowing and reminding yourself of your real purpose, and getting out of your comfort zone. Actively take part in activities, challenge yourself, and be humble enough to ask for help from other people, whether they are Danes or not.

All of the above reflects my personal opinion, but with this said I’m also curious to know: what are you doing to make it in Denmark?

Carlos Monteiro


Carlos (cm@biassa.com), a Brazilian resident of Odense, started his business from a blog known as denmarkbrazil.com. It later became Biassa, a business development company, which under the motto ‘Bringing forth results, not reports’ is focused on supporting Nordic businesses that want to tap into and thrive in the Brazilian market