Hi! My name is Bram and I am originally from Belgium. I arrived in Aarhus in June 2017. I moved to Denmark because my wife got a PhD position at Aarhus University. It is not my first time living abroad; I have lived in Bolivia as a volunteer and in Granada as an Erasmus student.
Settling in Aarhus has been a nice experience; the city is small enough to avoid typical problems of bigger cities, like commuting and it offers enough leisure activities to keep you relaxed; you can do everything by bike! The main challenge for me was that this was the first time I moved to a country without knowing the language, which complicated matters when trying to find a job, besides limiting access to some cultural activities. As a newcomer in Aarhus, I was surprised to see many events for internationals. Frequently attending these events really helped me to settle and have a good social life with expat friends. But if I needed to do it all over again, I would probably join a Danish association to build a tighter and more permanent network, as an expat network is very fluid with people moving to different places after some time in Aarhus.
At the beginning, trying to find a job was frustrating; sending cover letters and CVs seemed like an endless process that led nowhere. Slowly, I realized how the Danish society and job market functions, and I started to contact people directly, so that they knew who I was, before reading my job application. In my view, everything relies on networking. I tried to be as realistic as possible and acknowledged that building a network takes time. Something important to bear in mind while networking is that you need to show genuine interest and have something in common with the person with whom you are having a beer or a coffee; it is not about a job, but about the relationship you are building with the person in front of you.
It took me around four months to find a job. My main suggestion to anyone who is on the job search is to be persistent, patient and most importantly, be prepared every time you go to a job fair, job interview or while networking so that you make a good professional impression.
My favorite thing about Aarhus is that my morning commute has been reduced to 10 minutes, which gives me a lot of free time. Also, I love how much cleaner and less polluted the city is than some other places I’ve lived before. I would say that those are the main advantages of living in Aarhus, which makes my life much more relaxed.