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Should we stay or should we go?

Three students give their reflections on some of the challenges they have faced during their stay in Denmark. (Photo: David Fülop)

Anna Krasztev-Kovacs, Tanmay Singh Madan, and Linda Weiss want to stay in Denmark but so far have faced an uphill struggle. As it is now, 56% of international students from CBS leave Denmark after they graduate

News |   14. Dec 2017

David Fulop

Student Writer

Anna Krasztev-Kovacs from Hungary

Anna Krasztev-Kovacs is from Hungary and she studies BSc Business Administration and Service Management of Arts and Culture (Photo: David Fulop)

After living in Copenhagen for four years, she now speaks Danish at a level where she can converse with others, has a study related job, and lives smack dab in the middle of Østerbro.

But Anna Krasztev-Kovacs, who studies BSc Business Administration and Service Management of Arts and Culture at CBS, did not always wear a feather in her cap. Before moving into her well situated flat, she had to live in three different flats throughout her first year in Copenhagen.

“I’ve been living in Copenhagen for four years now and after moving from one apartment to the next five times altogether, I only managed to find a permanent place to live last year. Every time I got settled into a flat, it was time to move on to the next one. It was time-consuming, stressful, but mostly depressing having to look for a new place every half a year and constantly sell yourself to different landlords. It’s such a relief to finally know that I can stay where I am for as long as I want.”

It is common for students to struggle with finding a place to live, but that was not the only challenge that Anna Krasztev-Kovacs had to face. Before working a study relevant job, she had to juggle a full-time internship and a part-time job.

“I would consider myself pretty lucky to be working at the Danish Film Institute, but it took hard work and determination to get there. Two years ago, I did a full-time internship at the Danish Film Institute and worked part-time as a line chef in Tivoli on the side. I didn’t have any weekends and during the weekday evenings when I was not working at the restaurant I was at Danish class. It was bordering self-exploitation, but as it got me a paid study-related job two years later, one might say it was worth it.

But if I don’t manage, I’ll have to look elsewhere because I don’t want to be a bartender for the rest of my life.

Anna Krasztev-Kovacs

Anna Krasztev-Kovacs managed to learn Danish, but in the end, was not allowed to continue learning the language after module five. Unless students get a minimum average of 10 from reading, writing, and speaking, they are prohibited from moving on to the next level.

“I did an intensive Danish course at Studieskolen and felt that it went really well. I got a 10 in reading and speaking in Danish, but not in writing. So, I couldn’t continue on to the last module. All of a sudden, classes were over, right when I would have needed that extra push to be able to speak Danish. Not only for practice, but to actually be able to have a conversation without having to feel like a complete idiot because of bad grammar or pronunciation.”

Anna Krasztev-Kovacs definitely struggled to get where she is now, but in the end, it seemed to have paid off for her.

“After I had no more Danish classes, I tried to keep practicing the language by chatting in Danish with customers at the bar that I was managing at the time. I got so ‘good’ that one of them asked me if I was from Jutland.”

Currently, things are going more smoothly for her than when she first arrived in Denmark.

“Now, everything seems to have fallen into place. I got a job that is relevant to my studies and I don’t have to worry about moving on to the next flat until the time of my choosing.”

Anna Krasztev-Kovacs would like to stay in Denmark after her studies she can be sure to work within the field of her interest.

“Even though I have my job at the Danish Film Institute, my contract is just about to end, as it is always periodical, and I have to go back to being a server for a while. In May, I will get the job back for another 5 months. However, after that, I’ll have to use the network that I’ve built through this job. But if I don’t manage, I’ll have to look elsewhere because I don’t want to be a bartender for the rest of my life.”

Tanmay Singh Madan from India

Tanmay Singh Madan is from India, he studies MSc Management of Creative Business Processes and is struggling to find a study relevant job. (Photo: Tanmay Singh Madan)

Tanmay Singh Madan, who studies MSc Management of Creative Business Processes, has had to struggle a lot while living in Denmark but is still determined to stay here. He has applied for more student jobs than most others, and like Anna Krasztev-Kovacs has had to jump from apartment to apartment in his first year.

Tanmay Singh Madan has put in an enormous amount of effort to find a student job. But it seems as though that was not enough. After applying for enumerable job posts, he could not even land himself an unpaid internship.

‘It’s been brutal finding a student job. I’ve applied for around 150 student positions and 10 internships. Out of all of those applications, I’ve only got four job interviews in the past three years. Every time I get rejected, they tell me it’s because they gave the position to someone with more experience. I find it paradoxical that they ask for more experience when it’s an entry-level job.”

“Since I couldn’t get any internships in Denmark I did them in India instead. I still want to get experience in Denmark as well, and I’ve been volunteering with student organizations to try and stand out. So, it’s not that my CV and cover letter are not tailored. I’ve also been getting help from CBS Careers and speaking to friends. But no matter what, I’m still going to keep trying.”

When he started out at CBS, Tanmay Singh Madan felt that he was not very good at networking. But with time, his efforts started bearing fruit, and now, he has a grasp of what to do, and how to do it.

“In the beginning, I wasn’t too good at networking. I just wasn’t aware of how and what to do. But for me, it came with age and experience. Classmates, professors, and career fairs are where I go to build my professional network, and I always keep the contacts from when I go to a job interview. It’s still difficult to make use of my network to get a job though. It helps me to get a job interview, but from then on it’s out of my networks hands.”

I would really like to stay in Denmark, but it still worries me that I might not be able to get a full-time job after I graduate.

Tanamy Singh Madan

Tanmay Singh Madan has put in the time to learn Danish. But he felt that learning Danish through a language school was not creating the results that he was trying to achieve. That’s why he took his fate into his own hands.

“I’ve made steps to learn the language. Originally, I tried to learn by going to Danish lessons but I found that it was much more effective to learn it on my own and by actually living in Denmark. Now, I’m at the point where I can read, write, and communicate with Danes at a level where we understand each other.”

Just as many other international students, Tanmay Singh Madan did not have an easy time finding a permanent place to live. Now that he is in his fourth year living in Copenhagen, he has finally got a chance to live in a dorm that is reasonably close to CBS.

“My accommodation in Denmark started off pretty rocky. I was staying in a Pakistani lady’s house and asked for a contract, but she told me that we don’t need one because I’m from Indian and because of that, she trusts me. Then, two weeks later I had to move out because her daughter was moving back home. In my first semester, I had to live in five different places. Then in my second semester, I found a more permanent living situation, but it was in Holte, an hour and a half outside of Copenhagen. Now I live comfortably in a dorm within the cities limits, so that’s pretty nice.”

Tanmay Singh Madan wants to stay in Denmark and is doing everything in his power to make it so.

“I would really like to stay in Denmark, but it still worries me that I might not be able to get a full-time job after I graduate. So, if anyone is reading this, feel free to get in touch with me.”

Linda Weiss from Germany

Linda Weiss is from Germany, she studies MSc Management of Innovation and Business Development and is happy with her job at Café Nexus (Photo: David Fulop)

Linda Weiss, who studies MSc Management of Innovation and Business Development, would like to stay in Denmark after her studies. She is in the process of learning Danish but decided that for her to be able to focus on her studies, the best would be to just continue working at Café Nexus.

“I haven’t really started looking for a study related job yet. Right now, I’m working at Café Nexus and it’s relieving to go there and switch off while working there. The job offers me a different environment than what I’m used to when studying and going to classes, and it creates a nice balance in my life.”

Linda Weiss tried applying for a student related jobs during the summer but to no avail. She found that most of the times, she did not fit the bill when considering what companies are looking for in student workers.

“Last summer I thought about getting a job that is related to my studies, but I couldn’t find one. Two of the jobs I applied for had knowing how to speak Danish as a requirement but I decided to apply to them anyway. Most of the jobs I wanted to apply for were looking for students who still had a year and a half to two years left of there studies left. So, I just decided to focus on my studies and continue working at Nexus until I graduate.”

Linda Weiss has made attempts to learn Danish but found that it is easier to have conversations with her friends in English.

“When trying to learn Danish, you can always do more in order to speak it at a higher level. I tried to speak in Danish with my friends who are from Denmark but it didn’t really work out because it lowered the level of communication. We tried a couple of times but it required too much patience.”

Linda Weiss wants to stay in Copenhagen, but like Tanmay Singh Madan and Anna Krasztev Kovacs, she does have some worries about whether she can find a full-time job that is relevant to her studies.

“After my studies, I’d like to stay in Copenhagen. I am a little bit worried about finding a job that I find interesting and is related to my masters. At the same time, I feel pretty confident since most of my friends managed to find jobs that were more or less related to their fields of studies.”


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