You may have read the guide books, checked out ‘things to do’, joined online expat groups and think you know what to expect. You arrive in the city, checklist in hand and furniture still packed, with a stunning realisation that this cramped IKEA showroom is now your new home, and what’s this nonsense about counting rooms, not bedrooms?
We experience a multitude of feelings when relocating, and although your relocation experience may not have been as extreme as moving into an IKEA packing box-sized flat, there will be a period of adjustment. Coupled with the different phases of settling in, it can leave you questioning why you spent so much time reading about ‘hygge’ and instead wondering if it exists.
Settling in to your new home requires making changes, learning new skills, resilience and patience. After the honeymoon phase is over – during which everything is wonderful and the thought of being able to buy authentic Danish pastries for breakfast every day starts to lose its appeal – the hard work really begins.
Daytime tele hobbits
Without the right support and guidance, network and knowledge of where to turn for help, many fellow internationals give up and return home, dissatisfied with the effort they put in for little reward.
Questioning your motivation to relocate, the doubts – coupled with trying to find employment or permanent accommodation – reduce even the strongest of us to daytime tele hobbits preferring to stay at home. But that’s better than going out and either getting lost or being ignored by fellow city-goers, right?
Asking for help
It isn’t easy, but it does get better – promise! Here’s what I wish I’d have known back then:
Danes can be perceived as being closed, cold even, but they are super friendly when approached, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or start conversations.
Language school is for learning the language, so not just a social event. Take notes and try to learn the basics.
Connect with others using shared interests like sports, clubs or organisations until you find the one that fits.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone who has relocated at one time or another has gone through what you are going through now. Leave Netflix for another time and go out and experience everything your new country has to offer.
Rød grød med fløde really is a dish – who’d have known?