Hi, I’m Lisa and I’ve lived in Aarhus since March 2016 when I moved here from the south of Germany with my partner who found a job with Aarhus University.
I’m a medical doctor and I left my job as an anesthesiologist when we moved to Denmark. It was pretty hard to research job prospects before we arrived since everything was in Danish and Google Translate isn’t super useful when it comes to medical terms! It was clear I couldn’t work in my field without learning the language so as soon as we arrived I took a crash course in Danish offered by the university, started classes at Lærdansk and went to every language café across the city. I spoke Danish to everyone - whether they understood me or not!
I sent applications to every hospital in the region and got a reply from Randers Hospital offering me a three-month unpaid internship. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty disappointing because back home I already had five years of professional experience, but it was a foot in the door, and I discovered the government’s løntilskud program which offers payment to international spouses interning in certain positions. Everyone at the hospital was so nice - especially considering my beginners-level Danish. They were excellent at only speaking Danish to me, even if they had to repeat things a second or third time. I was in the internship for six weeks and then they offered me a 12-month full-time position. After this, I was referred to a hospital in Herning where I’m now almost finished with my specialisation.
Aarhus feels like home now, but it definitely took some effort to get to this point. Back when we moved here and I had a lot of time on my hands I tried to get out and get to know the city as much as possible. I met great friends through my language courses and showed up at every international event and also joined the rugby club which helped me to meet Danes (the training sessions are in English which also helped!). My favourite thing about Aarhus is the Viking Club - we love winter swimming! We actually saw a YouTube video about it before we moved here and as soon as we saw it we said, “We’re moving to this city!”. I’m actually looking forward to winter now!
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from the whole experience of moving abroad is that no one will ask you if you are fine and settled. You have to approach people and engage with them, and once you do they will always be willing to help. Once I asked, so many people were happy to share their experiences and tell me all the great things about living here. Now that we’ve been here for a while, I’m happy to do the same.
Photo edited by Zane Hartmane