Brunch vs “brunch”

Brunch. A relatively simple concept – you would think. It’s a meal that technically falls between breakfast and lunch, but in reality can be eaten any time of the day up until about 5pm. It generally involves breakfasty-type foods (eggs, bacon, pancakes, coffee, juice…) and it usually takes place over a relaxing few hours on a lazy weekend.

Where I’m from it’s very normal to meet up with friends or family for brunch. Everyone’s busy and it’s sometimes easier to catch up in the morning than in the evening for dinner. For a lot of people it’s part of the weekly routine. There are too many nice cafes in Melbourne to choose from, and they are increasingly spread out over the whole city, so you don’t have to travel to the trendy areas to find a good spot.

The types of foods that cafes in Melbourne serve for brunch are very high quality, often using fancy ingredients and cooked by qualified chefs. It’s quite common for award winning chefs to opt out of the high-stress restaurant business and open a cafe. The coffee is pretty much always amazing – as it must be in one of the world’s premier coffee cities.

Here is the brunch menu of one of my favourite cafes in Melbourne, Auction Rooms:

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I want to order literally everything on that menu! I mean look at this perfection:

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This is what I want when I go out for brunch – a delicious, chef-cooked meal that is interesting, includes perfect poached eggs and comes as a whole, well-thoughtout dish.

Now I’m going to describe what brunch is like in Copenhagen.

The popular brunch places in the Danish capital (which likes to think of itself as being on the forefront of all things food) include Mad og Kaffe, Wulff + Konstali, Møller Kaffe og Køkken and Bang og Jensen to name a few. On the weekend there will almost always be queues of people waiting to get in and people post their meals all over Instagram. It’s totally baffling to me because what they have to offer is really not that great. And despite what I wrote above about what I want from a brunch cafe, I would also be satisfied by at least getting something I couldn’t be bothered making myself.

What you get in a Copenhagen brunch is either a buffet consisting of a mix of little skyr pots with granola, scrambled eggs, avocado on rye bread, croissants, bacon, give or take some other boring stuff. The other type of brunch is where you get a card with all the options and can tick off what you want to mix and match. Nothing on these menu cards is remotely interesting or difficult to make. This is what it looks like when you get it:

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Brunch at Wullf + Konstali

I could have made all of this myself, and I do several times a week.

All this is to say, I’ve given up on finding a really good brunch place in Copenhagen. Every time I reminisce about the amazing cafes in Melbourne someone will inevitably recommend I go to one of the popular Copenhagen cafes, but I am so over it. It’s just another of the things you can’t find here and to get excited about when travelling, whether it’s home to Australia, or to big cities like New York or London.

If you know of a place that is truly good in Copenhagen, let me know (but beware, I am a tough crowd)!

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Integration in Denmark – the real way

The topic of integration here in DK is a hot one. But the reality of integrating is way more complicated than most people think. Firstly, it implies adopting uncritically the habits, morals and attitudes of your new homeland. And secondly this sometimes means discarding some things that are deeply ingrained. It’s hard! Not to mention that locals sometimes struggle to define what it even means to be Danish, so the goalposts are always moving.

So lately I’ve been thinking of what kind of things I think are required in order to be integrated in Denmark. With these tips anyone can become the type of new Dane that even DF would be proud of.

  • Buy the right kitchen tools (no matter how ridiculous they are)

You’re going to need one of those flat open toaster things which only toasts one side of bread at a time, because why wouldn’t you want that sort of inconvenience?

toaster

A bread bowl, because from now on you’re going to eat bread, a lot of bread, every meal, all the time.

*It is important to speak the language, but if you really want to communicate like a local, don’t forget to blend it up a bit with some English. Not just the odd swear word either (more on that next), but also just random phrases and platitudes to keep the listener on their toes. My favourite Danish imports are: “be my guest”, “by all means” , “from the bottom of my heart” and “wish me luck”. I hear those ones quite often, just thrown into the middle of a conversation in danish. And then there are also more random ones that could just as easily stay all in danish, like the time I heard a girl say “jeg så så skinny ud!

  • Swear. A lot.

Don’t worry about context, the level of agression you want to convey, the audience or your age. Just sling fucks around like you don’t give a fuck. This is more important the younger you are.

  • Make friends early, then stop

If you really want to be Danish, you won’t be able to make new friends after you’re finished at university. Sure, you might meet one or two nice people at work, but they’ll always just be work friends, never to be mixed with your real friends (whom you’ve known since you were born). Which is another friend-related integration tip: don’t mix your friend groups. Only the most outgoing of Danes do this and their various friends don’t even like it. If a mixed Danish party gets organised, expect for each group to talk amongst themselves and not mingle – they have enough good friends and don’t need any more thank you very much!

  • Get a serious hobby

Don’t just go for a short jog every few days, start training for an ironman. Instead of going to the gym for some body pump classes, do a course so you can teach the class yourself! Danes seem to love their hobbies, and it’s really the only way to make friends after you finish with formal education, but they don’t do things half-heartedly.

  • Have kids while you’re at uni

What might sound like a recipe for financial hardship and lifelong struggle, is in Denmark part of a lot of people’s grand life plan. Namely to have kids whilst you are getting student benefits. Basically you get additional state support and maternity leave from your course, so it makes sense. But it still is a weird concept if you come from a place where people tend to still be considered ‘not adult’ while they are at uni.

  • Drink to excess (and never grow out of it)

It’s pretty normal in Denmark for any public event to be considered an excuse to get blind drunk. This applies not just to young people, although they are of course not exempt, but all age groups. I recently went to a Bruce Springsteen concert in Horsens, where the average age of the attendees was probably around 50, and I witnessed what seemed to be mass binge drinking where the point was more to get wasted than hear some good music. So if you are new in Denmark, remember that as you grow older, don’t stop drinking to get drunk, and never forget that you can’t have a good time unless you’re shitfaced.

  • Litter

Finally, proudly advertise your new country’s environmental credentials, while simultaneously dropping your cigarette butt on the footpath – everybody else does! And don’t forget to not clean up after yourself when you have a picnic in a park this weekend. And most importantly, if you have a dog, make sure you pick up after it, but then just leave the little black bag full of shit on the ground – it’s the Danish way!

how one of the most beautiful parks in Denmark (Dyrehaven) was left after a high school party last week

how one of the most beautiful parks in Denmark (Dyrehaven) was left after a high school party last week

If you follow all of the above advice, congratulations, you are now so well integrated into Danish society that no one will even notice that you hate leverpostej and don’t have any designer furniture in your apartment. And if you’re ever in doubt, just stick a Danish flag on it!

 

 

 

 

How I learned Danish

I’ve been living in Denmark for just over two years now, and I’m pretty proud of how well I can speak Danish. I didn’t know a single word of the language before I moved here, and although I’m lucky to have a supportive (Danish) boyfriend and his extended family, I’ve also been very motivated to get fluent.

I don’t really have any overarching life goals that I need to achieve before I die. Unlike some people I’ve never aspired to become a millionaire, start a company, travel to every country in the world, have kids or anything else that ambitious people seem to want. But I have always dreamed of being bi-lingual. I don’t know why, but speaking a language other than English always seemed like such a cool ability, and since I spent an exchange year in Sweden with a bunch of multi-lingual Europeans, I’ve felt embarrassed about my lack of extra languages. So moving to Copenhagen was finally my chance to get language learning right!

Here are the essential elements in my Danish language journey:

School

Unless you’re some kind of autistic savant, you’re going to need some help in order to learn a language, especially as an adult. In Denmark foreigners are lucky enough to get up to five years of free language classes, and I only have good things to say about my school (IA Sprog) where they offer intensive lessons that focus on pronunciation – one of the key problem areas many foreigners have with Danish. The teachers in the intensive department have all been fantastic, and although the rote-learning style doesn’t suit everyone, you have to admit that learning vocab and grammar rules will inevitably involve some kind of memorisation no matter what type of pedagogical approach you use.

I’ve progressed through all five modules and took the PD3 exams last November and December and got an average of 10.5 out of 12 (look up the Danish grading system if you want to be confused and entertained!) Now I’m in the middle of the module 6 exams, otherwise known as Studieprøven, which will allow me to study in Danish at university.

DuoLingo

I spent three months back home in Australia last year and was worried about losing my Danish while I was there. Luckily DuoLingo had launched a beta version of their app in Danish, so I was able to keep the basics fresh in my mind despite being so far away. I finished the whole course in that time and although you learn some pretty wacky sentences, it really helps with grammar and vocabulary.

Conversation buddies

Probably the biggest complaint Danish language learners have about the process is that Danes switch to English as soon as they detect an accent, which is often instantaneous. I realise that this tendency is just out of politeness, but it’s pretty frustrating when you are really making an effort. Working on pronunciation helps a lot, but I think the most important part for me was having people who would not switch to English, no matter what! I’ve been very lucky to have several of those lovely, patient and understanding peeps in my life here, and without them I doubt I could have become conversationally fluent so quickly.

Around a year ago, so roughly one year after I started Danish classes, I went on holiday with my boyfriends family – without my boyfriend. The trip was effectively a two week intensive language workshop where I became more confident, learned a lot of new words and started automatically thinking in Danish rather than formulating sentences in my head in English first. I guess it was what language emersion would be like if Danes weren’t so accomplished in English.

Forced language use

In September last year I got a shitty job in a cafe where I had to use my Danish properly with strangers for the first time. It was very very challenging, and I really hate that job (which I still have), but I do acknowledge that it has helped a lot with my fluency. I will begrudgingly admit that.

Reading

A lot of people recommend talking to children and reading children’s books to learn a language, but I’ve never been good at interacting with kids, and it’s equally if not more awkward in Danish. And most kids books are just boring after a certain point. Reading the newspaper on the other hand can be quite challenging, especially if you’re not that into politics and current affairs (luckily I am, but it’s only now that I can comfortably read articles in Danish without looking up every second word).

harry potter

My strategy was to find a good young adult book (or books) that I’d already read in English, so understanding the plot wouldn’t get in the way of figuring out the words. The answer was Harry Potter! Not only do I love the story, but it had been a good few years since I read the whole series and I love re-reading old favourites. The special Harry Potter words were also unexpectedly entertaining – Glitterik Smørhår for example!

And that’s pretty much it. Nothing revolutionary, but it has worked for me and now I can get around using just Danish all the time. I even speak to government departments over the phone in Danish, which is a true test of language ability! If anyone has any good tips about the next stages I would love to hear them.

The most unexpected thing about Denmark

Around the world Denmark has a reputation: happiest country; fantastic welfare state; beautiful Scandinavian design; free education. Danes also want to believe that they are famous for Lego, Hans Christian Andersen and The Little Mermaid statue, but in reality no one knows off the top of their head that those things are Danish…

Before I came to Denmark, and also for some time while I’ve lived here, I believed that some defining features included egalitarianism, fairness and work/life balance. My experience with the job market pretty much contradicts these impressions though. And i’m not even referring to the culture of hiring within your network that means that more than 60% of jobs aren’t ever advertised.

I’m thinking about the poor working conditions of low-skill jobs and how most Danes I know are extremely surprised that such poor working conditions even exist in their country.

From what I can gather, the government doesn’t have too much to do with regulating general workplace relations. Unlike in a lot of countries, where legislation governs minimum standards, in Denmark agreements are made between unions and employers – with the government sort of standing  on the sidelines hoping things will work out like they did back in the heyday of the welfare state. For example, there is no state-required minimum wage, and sick leave and other benefits such as overtime are also left to individual workplaces and unions to sort out. Although a large proportion of Danish employees are union members (about two thirds), and about 80% of the workforce is covered by enterprise agreements, those working in casual, part time and low-wage jobs are more likely not.

I read a quite horrifying article the other day about social dumping within the childcare sector. It was about foreign pedagogues working in private Danish childcare centres, and how they earn just 80dkk per hour, have no job security and widely variable hours.  It made me realise that although in the past the concept of social dumping mainly applied to the construction industry, now it’s more likely to affect service jobs like childcare, restaurants/cafes and cleaning.

My experience working in a cafe has been really quite terrible. The list of things that we (employees) have to put up with still shocks me, but there isn’t any impetus to change any of it. The cafe gets a lot of new applications every week, so the cafe owner doesn’t care how high the staff turnover is. As a brief summary, these are the rules of my workplace that I think are unacceptable:

  • We are not allowed to speak to each other about our salaries
  • We work nights, weekends and public holidays without additional money (and the cafe is open 7:30-11 (midnight on weekends) 365 days a year
  • If we are sick we are responsible for finding someone to cover our shift/s
  • If we work from 8-16, we never get to leave at 4pm, because there are certain jobs that we aren’t allowed to start before then, so the roster is basically meaningless
  • We don’t get 30 minutes break, we get maybe 2-5 minutes at a time, which adds up to no more than 15 minutes during a 8-9 hour shift. But they withhold 30 minutes pay from our salary.
  • During ‘breaks’ we are not permitted to look at our telephones (even though we don’t get paid for that time)
  • Security cameras operate in the cafe and the owner watches while we work, and if he notices anything wrong, he will call up and tell us off for it.
  • We are obliged to attend a monthly staff meeting to receive the next months roster, and also be told off about all the little things we are doing wrong. These meetings can last up to 1.5 hours and are not paid

All of these terrible conditions have really disappointed me, not only because I’ve had to put up with how bad it makes me feel to work there, but also because I thought Denmark was better than this. I know that in comparison to many other places it’s not that bad, but it’s a far cry from the image of working 8-16 (15 on Fridays), six weeks paid holiday a year and flexible family time that is publicised to the world. It’s additionally irritating because I know for a fact that the majority of staff get paid at least half ‘under the table’ so the owner is not only cheating us, but also the state and Denmark’s welfare system in general.

This is literally the worst job I have ever had, and unsurprisingly I have quit! Now back to the job search…

 

Cheap eats in Copenhagen

It still surprises me how under-developed the food scene is in Copenhagen. For example, it’s totally normal to see a restaurant that claims to specialise in Chinese and Thai food, as well as sushi… which sort of reminds me of the ubiquitous ‘ethnic’ restaurant in many Australian country towns (especially before about ten years ago).

I think it all comes back to the fact that Danes don’t really have an eating-out culture yet. It’s still considered a special occasion thing to do, and many people probably only get pizza from the local Turkish pizzaria when they decide not to cook. So, I have had a bit of culture shock to get over, especially coming from a city like Melbourne!

I still have a lot of exploring to do, but in my opinion here are some of the best, actually cheap places to eat in Copenhagen (with an emphasis on non-danish food, which I go out of my way to find):

MaedGriffenfeldsgade 7, 2200 København N

Absolutely delicious Ethiopian restaurant. It’s often really busy, but worth booking a table to try the amazing injera with various meat and vegetarian dishes. You can easily have enough food and drink for around 100kr each.

Ramen to Biiru, Griffenfeldsgade 28, 2200 København N

Copenhagen has finally awoken to the perfection of ramen, especially in a place where the weather is so frequently shitty (and therefore ideal for eating spicy noodle soup), and all of a sudden there are at least four relatively new ramen bars in the city. I’ve only tried Mikeller’s version, which was really impressive. A bowl of spicy miso ramen costs 105kr, and you will be full afterwards. It’s best to go outside of ‘normal’ mealtimes as it is small and usually packed.

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Isted Grill, Istegade 92, 1650, København V

Admittedly I’ve only been here really late at night, so my taste buds could have been more forgiving than usual. But if you’re craving a dirty burger, Denmark style, you can’t go wrong. Their speciality is a flæskesteg sandwich, and I can also recommend the frikadelle sandwich. With prices between 26-56kr, it’s cheap enough to get both!

Coming soon, and hotly anticipated:

Jagger Fast Food, Istegade 62, 1650, København V

I got a burger from these guys at the Kødbyen Mad og Marked last summer, and it was by far the best burger I’ve had in Copenhagen. Admittedly, I don’t have a high opinion of the burger scene here, but that one was objectively great! I’m looking forward to trying the rest of their menu, as well as their cheap frozen daiquiris.

In the mean time, I’m going to continue trying to find more great, cheap and most of all delicious places to eat in Copenhagen. If you know of any, please let me know!

The trials and joys of renting in Denmark

Like most large cities around the world, renting a house or apartment in Copenhagen is a challenge – even for the locals.  The market is crowded due to Denmark’s increasing urbanisation, concentration of universities in the capital and migration, so a natural result is that housing is scarce and prices can be high. The city is building new apartment blocks and even new suburbs, but these tend to focus on the expensive end of the market, so the average person can’t afford to buy (or even rent) them.

When we moved to Copenhagen in 2014, we had organised to stay in the apartment of an acquaintance who moves to his summerhouse every year for three months. We paid his rent (basically the body corporate fees) which was 8,000kr a month. At the time I thought that was pretty reasonable given the apartment was two stories, 150m2 and in one of the cool parts of Nørrebro. But I’ve come to realise that in Copenhagen there isn’t really a normal amount of rent to pay – some people pay extremely little, and others pay what I would call exorbitant amounts every month. It seems to be luck of the draw (or more accurately, who you know).

Luckily for tenants, the laws and regulations governing rental properties are strongly in their favour. This came as quite a shock to me after renting in Melbourne for nearly ten years, where as a tenant you pretty much have no rights but many responsibilities, plus no hope of any support if your landlord does something terrible like kick you out and take your bond. Here in Denmark, many rental contracts are unlimited in terms of length, and require at least three months notice prior to any cancelation. It is legal for a landlord to require three months rent as deposit, as well as three months rent in advance, which can work out to be a lot of cash, but once you’re in the system you have that amount of money ready for when you move.

The one benefit of renting that really astounded me here is the possibility to have your rent reviewed by the municipality if you think you pay too much. This could almost not be more different that what I was used to – for example, one time in Melbourne our rent was put up by 25% and the tenants union said there was really nothing we could do about it.

After our first three months in Copenhagen, we were extremely lucky to be offered one of the few apartments we’d actually been able to inspect. The place was round the corner from where we were staying (“Little Berlin” according to the hipsters in the area), had three rooms, a shower that was not directly on top of the toilet and the rent seemed OK – 9,000kr per month. Compared to some apartments I’d seen online, which included places without showers or showers in the kitchen, and places that cost double as much, our apartment was amazing. We got a two year contract, and were extremely happy.

11 months later… one hungover Sunday morning we got an email from our landlord saying that she missed Nørrebro and was giving us our three months notice. At that point I didn’t know anything about the rules and regulations, and I still don’t have a strong grasp on them, but I have had to learn a lot. The first thing I learnt was that landlords are not allowed to cancel a temporary contract, despite what it says in the fine print of your lease. This was my first experience of Denmark’s tenant-friendly system, and now I can’t really believe that renters in other countries have to put up with such contrastingly shitty conditions.

There are several different types of dwelling in Denmark, and the rules for landlords differ with each type.  Our situation is that we rent a co-op apartment (andels) from the owner, who must abide by the rules of the association it belongs to. This means that she must get permission to rent out the apartment, and generally can only rent it out for two years. On top of that, she must abide by the tenancy laws, which state that she may only make a time-limited contract if she has a valid reason (i.e. is moving to another country), and must not profit from the lease of the apartment. It’s very complicated, but we figured out that our landlord broke almost every one of the rules, which made us less hesitant to be those nightmare tenants.

Both tenants and landlords can request that the rental amount in the contract be adjusted if it differs substantially from comparable properties in the area. I’m not sure whether there are time restriction on when landlords can do this, but renters have 12 months to make a claim. Luckily for us our landlord sent us that eviction email (which by the way is not legally valid) within a year, so we had a couple of weeks to decide what to do. After some deliberation, we paid our tenants union fees and had them go ahead and challenge our rent. When the local municipality came round a few weeks later to see the apartment, they sent six big men with clipboards to make notes and assess the quality and condition of our place. They were only here for about five minutes in total, so I guess it was relatively simple. A few more weeks later we got their report: they had determined that our rent should be set to 4,200kr per month, and that our landlord must repay the excess rent (plus 8% interest) for the months we had lived there. In other words, they’ve halved our rent and we’ll also get tens of thousands of kroner backpaid! Naturally our landlord has appealed and now we’re all just waiting for the final decision.

I have no idea when that will be, but the municipality (appeals department) is coming back next week to see the apartment. In contrast to how I would feel about this situation in Australia (i.e. helpless), I am actually rather confident that it will work out in our favour. As I said at the start, there are huge differences in what people pay in rent here in Denmark, and I don’t really understand why, when as a tenant you’re often able to get favourable decisions and have the regulations on your side for once.

Then again, we’ll have to wait and see if and when we actually get our money!

 

Greencard / schreencard

I live in Denmark because I wanted to try out life in my boyfriends country, learn Danish and thought if I could find the right job my career would benefit. Before I came here I even thought I might grow to love it. Even though I could have applied for a family reunion visa, I chose the Greencard because it was cheaper and imposed fewer restrictions on my partner. After living here for a year and a half, with the first year dedicated to learning the language and the last six months to finding work, I have come to some conclusions about the Greencard system and it’s many many faults.

What is the Danish Greencard?

A Greencard is a type of work visa that allows highly educated foreigners (non-EU) to live and work in Denmark for two years. The general concept of the system is that your education, language and work experience gives you points, and if you accumulate 100 you get the visa.

Denmark is one of the very few countries (that I know of), that has an open working visa like this. What I mean by open is that it’s relatively untargeted: there is no requirement to be sponsored or have a particular background or field of expertise to qualify, as there is in other countries (like Australia).  I guess the idea is that Denmark lacks highly qualified people in certain sectors, and they decided that they’d just create a catch-all visa that would help them out with that rather than putting in the effort to work out which industries really need people. Great idea Denmark…!

How do you get a Greencard?

Basically you just have to show that you have a high level of education, speak English (or a Scandinavian language or German), and have work experience from 3 out of the last 5 years. Additional points can be earned by having a connection (through work or education) to the EU, and from having attended a university in the world top 100. You also need to have enough money to keep afloat while you’re looking for work, which is currently set at 130,000 kroner (for a single person with no dependents).

The visa can be extended for an extra three years if you get a job with a minimum salary equivalent to the average graduate wage (around 320,000 kroner a year).

Earlier this year the rules for applying and the conditions under which you can get an extension were changed in an attempt to make the scheme more successful / weed out those who have been unsuccessful or who are likely to fail. It was reported last year that nearly 80% of Greencard holders end up working in unskilled jobs or unemployed, so it has clearly not functioned in the way it was intended.

Back when I applied the old rules were still in effect. They required that I  had around 65,000 kroner in the bank, and allowed an extension if you worked ten hours a week in the year before it expired. These conditions are really quite easy to fulfil and I’m glad I get to use them instead of the news ones.

Problems with the system

As one of the 80% of Greencard holders who is working in an unskilled job (and who was until recently unemployed) I can attest to the fact that there are a lot of problems with the system.

  • There are very few professions in Denmark that don’t require you to be fluent in Danish, so the first problem is that it’s impossible to work without first dedicating at least one year to language learning (and to be honest, for most people it takes anywhere between two years and a lifetime). With the exception of science, technology, IT and some design professions, there’s almost no hope for the non-danish speaker.
  • But everyone speaks English you say! NO. They might speak really good English, but they don’t want to if it’s not necessary (with the exception of teenage boys who think it’s hilarious to speak in a kind of pig danglish with plenty of superfluous swearing).
  • The Danish education and work system is highly developed, with even the most mundane and intellectually unrigorous jobs requiring a certificate or diploma of some sort. This poses problems for foreigners who can’t get their dream job and might like to change careers or are trying to find a way into their field from another angle. It’s just not really possible to find work unless you are specifically educated, even if it’s just as an office assistant.
  • There is also a high level of mistrust about foreign educational systems and it’s generally assumed that the Danish education system is better. This leaves the ‘highly educated’ Greencard holders without much to go on when competing for jobs.
  • I have heard that Danish workplaces are also very concerned with ensuring that staff fit in with each other and the workplace atmosphere is comfortable. In Denmark, this generally means that people want to be able to relate to each other and have the same expectations. Which, in a relatively homogenous land like this, equates to being Danish. It’s not that Danes are any more prejudiced than anyone else, but they do seem to take the cons into account more than the pros when considering hiring a foreigner. See also my post on networking…

These problems (which I have personally encountered many times over) are all succinctly expressed on the New in Denmark website where it says:

“At present, the demand for foreign labour is generally limited. However, certain sectors request highly qualified foreign professionals. Please note that good Danish language skills are often a condition for success in the Danish work market.”

So it’s not like we weren’t warned!

In my opinion they should totally scrap the Greencard system and only have work visas available to foreign professionals in sectors that want them. Apparently the recent changes have made it easier for Danish businesses to hire internationals, but I don’t know if it’s working, and it’s still possible for someone like me to get a Greencard. In the meantime I’m going to continue with my Danish classes, my work in a cafe and sending job applications with little to no hope of ever getting a response. If that fails I’ll switch to a family reunion visa and go back to uni for free. And if even that doesn’t work, I’ll just go home to a country that wants me.

But when I start to get too depressed about my own situation, I just think about the other Greencard holders who are struggling who don’t have a nice cushy life to run back to if they don’t make it here. I really feel sorry for those guys Their situations make me really angry that this system even exists. To offer a visa that only serves to raise people’s hopes and ultimately leaves them disillusioned, poor and living in a country that considers eating four-day-old rye bread for breakfast and drinking coffee that costs 40 kroner acceptable is really a tragedy.