Vittus Bernlow Foto: SEGES
“Danes are not always easy to approach. If you are on a bus and a Dane gets on, you can be sure he will not sit down next to you for a chat.”
This is what Vittus Bernlow told his listeners in the session Coping with the Danes. On a daily basis, Vittus offers counselling on recruitment and leadership management on the farms. Through this job, he has learned a lot about the challenges that both farmers and workers face, when having employees from abroad. And – not to forget – his wife is from Romania. That is why we asked him to give this lecture at the conference.
Join the local clubs
Vittus Bernlow made the point, that in order to have a good life in Denmark it is important to be-come well integrated and to make new friends. Not only with your close colleagues from the farm, but also with people from the local community. A way of achieving this could be by joining the local soccer club – or other clubs in the neighbourhood that could be interesting to you. And there is sure to be one – or several – since Danes have a strong tradition for having a very active club life, even in the smallest village. Another way is to invite your neighbours over for a cup of coffee.
“I know that in many Eastern European countries, there is a strong tradition for making and serving a lot of food, when inviting people to your home. In Denmark, however, it is quite acceptable to just invite people over for a cup of coffee – and maybe a slice of cake,” he explained.
Learn the language
Like Sergii in the same session – Vittus stressed the importance of learning Danish. Not only does it improve your chances of making new friends in the local community – it also improves your chances of improving your job – or maybe get a new and even better job,” he told.
“To me it is a big mistake, when the farmer chooses to speak English with his employees from abroad. Instead he should make sure they learn Danish,” he said.
Apart from Vittus Bernlow’s advice on how to get well integrated, he made another important point:
“When there is something you don’t understand – don’t be afraid to ask your farmer to explain it to you again – and again and again. In my experience, people from Eastern European countries are raised in a tradition, in which it is not acceptable to ask questions, if there is something, you don’t understand. In Denmark, however, it is almost the opposite. The more you ask – the more interested you seem. And it will make your farmer feel that he can trust you, because you are being honest with him.”
Learn Danish and get more education
Artiklen har været bragt i KvægNYT nr. 5, 2019