At work and at play | Internationally-minded?

Ever since we arrived in Copenhagen in May 2008, we have been hearing about the Danes wanting to attract “more international talent” and wanting Copenhagen to become a more international city. I believe this is mainly to remain competitive globally. Many companies have been created in order to help foreigners settle down, to help foreign spouses find a good network to socialise in, and to get advice for job searching.

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed and asked yet again the eternal question: “How can we make Copenhagen more international and attract more highly-educated foreigners to live here in the long-term?” This makes me conclude that nothing has changed in the past five years and that the market is getting more and more competitive with Denmark still trailing behind.

From my point of view, considering that I run an international preschool, it is obvious that the one major thing missing here is multilingual education. Why is our preschool the only English-speaking one in the whole of Copenhagen? The simple answer is that if we don’t teach in Danish, then we cannot get local council subsidies. The lack of these makes it very hard to make ends meet. As a result, it discourages people from establishing new foreign-language preschools knowing that they don’t have the same resources as a private Danish børnehave.

Wouldn’t this be a good place to start to make Copenhagen more international? To help people who want to start international preschools in order to create more places for international children so that their parents find it more attractive to come and stay in Copenhagen?

The Danes do not seem to have embraced international education in the way the Swedes do. For example, in Lund, where there is a population of just over 80,000 people, there are six international preschools and schools and two of them are trilingual, using French, English and Swedish! Surely Copenhagen could do with a few of those.

People should really stop asking the same questions about the same problem. Take a look at other countries that are coping better and emulate their success! Copenhagen should at least quadruple its number of international preschools, and if this happens, I am sure that they will see a difference in the number of highly-skilled foreigners who want to move here and remain in this beautiful city.