Welcome to the second installment of the expat portrait! This time, meet Günes, who is completing his Ph.D. in Copenhagen.
If you’re an expat in Denmark and would like to be featured, just drop me a line!
Günes, 25, is relatively new to Denmark: he moved here from Istanbul in September 2013 to complete a Ph.D. program. The transition required quite some adjustment for him - read below to find out why! You can also find him on Facebook.
What is your favorite thing about living in Denmark?
It is very lively - definitely more than what I had expected. There is always something going on. People like to celebrate and they seize every opportunity to raise a glass of champagne. Danes definitely know how to have fun!
What do you miss most from your home country?
Well - everything. The food, the people, the tea - but mostly Istanbul.
If you could describe Denmark in 3 words, which would you use?
Three colours - Black, green and gray. Pretty much sums it up for me.
In your opinion, what is the weirdest or funniest thing Danes do?
I am not sure if this is weird or funny, but I will go with the fact that they use and show their flag all the time. Particularly waving flags at the airport to greet friends or relatives. We do use and love our flag back home, too much for some even, but Denmark is something else. Birthdays, Christmas - the flag is everywhere! (editor’s note: Yes!! I’ve noticed this, too!)
What is your favorite Danish food? What is the worst?
After a month or two, I’ve decided that Danish cuisine is not exactly my type of cuisine, so I did not really think about what I like best/least. I like herring though!
Which Danish tradition would you like to keep even if you move away from Denmark in the future?
Living healthy. I am very grateful for how the entire city of Copenhagen seems to have a very healthy lifestyle. I am doing my best to adapt to it.
What are your favorite three places in Denmark or the Danish city you live in?
What is the most important thing you have learned during your time as an expat in Denmark?
Do not take anything for granted - not even the sun rising every morning. I never thought I would miss the sun!
Which advice would you give someone considering to move to Denmark?
That depends on where they originally come from. To someone from Southern Europe, I would advise to prepare for quite a culture shock, particularly in terms of how individualistic the Danish society appears to be. Danes I have interacted so far are quite peculiar and similar to each other at the same time. It is one of the most homogeneous societies I have ever seen/lived in - it seems to work out for the Danes, but it can be a bit frustrating for foreigners. It is a very selective (not discriminative, to emphasize) community.
Finally, we all have a love-hate relationship with the Danish language. What is your favorite Danish word, and what does it mean?
Selvfølgelig! It means “of course”. After struggling for 5 months with little success pronouncing the lovely “soft D”, I had to take a break. Maybe in the future I will continue learning it!
Do you have any questions or comments for Günes? Post them here!