Living in an Expat World: Network your way through maternity – The Post

Living in an Expat World: Network your way through maternity

If only she knew the plans being made for her on Facebook (Photo: iStock)
January 25th, 2016 7:00 am| by Tiny Maerschalk
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At this very moment I am expecting a newcomer to enter my life. At the end of January my second daughter will be born, which of course I am very happy about.

Where’s everyone gone?
So at the moment I am on maternity leave, which – I have to admit – is actually quite dreary!

After the month of December with its endless Christmas celebrations and get-togethers, the month of January is just grey, quiet and dull. All of my friends and neighbours are back on the job, leaving the suburbs empty and dead quiet. If I am lucky and run out the front door when I see the postman, I can meet a living being on my street.

A lonely experience
This makes me think about the accompanying partner of international employees. I can definitely relate to the loneliness that can hit you when moving to Denmark.

As you know, Denmark is – for most people – a two-income society with both men and women working. This leaves the streets empty during the day, limiting your access to networking and socialising as a whole.

Unmissable parent groups
I have already looked into my possibilities to take part in activities and network meetings while on maternity leave. Without any form of social contact, I will go bananas! Now the question is how to find a network that suits my life.

Rule number one: as an international in Denmark it is up to you to find new friends and acquaintances – it will not happen by itself. For instance, if you are an international parent living in the Aarhus area, the Facebook groups ‘International Mothers in Aarhus’ and University International Club’s ongoing ‘International PlayGroup’ (Fridays at 10 am) are highly recommended.

So my advice to other international parents (or parents-to-be) is to get out there and be active!

Networking tips
Related to this, many accompanying partners are job-searchers, and in Denmark networking skills are considered key in this situation – how to approach this, of course, differs from country to country.

In connection with this, International Community is working closely with Aarhus University and networking specialist Charlotte Junge on a few workshops.

We look forward to learning a few networking tricks from Charlotte – and if it doesn’t lead to a job, at least you got out of your house and met some new people. And who knows what that might lead to.

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.