Amila (spouse) – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen


Amila is 35 years old and came to Copenhagen in November 2013. She has shared her story and best advise about her time in Copenhagen as a spouse. She has also showed us her favorite spots in Copenhagen.

Coming to Denmark

This is our fourth move due to my spouse’s work. We have lived in China, Germany and Canada before coming to Denmark and so far it has been our easiest and fastest relocation in terms of settling down and feeling at home. This is mainly because I grew up in Sweden and the language and the culture are quite similar but also because Denmark is a very welcoming country for expats in general.

What would be your best advice for another spouse coming to Denmark?

Try to read as much as you can about the country itself. Contact the spouse network in advance and check how they can guide you in your relocation. Find out which language schools would fit your profile the best and check what is the best way for you to enter the job market. It is said that up to 70 % of all jobs in Denmark are filled through networking. This is what I experienced since I was lucky enough that one of the staff members at the NBI had a friend who offered me a job after 4 months of being in Denmark. I have a degree in international economics but my true calling has always been baking and that is what I have been doing for the past 5 years. Also, I would recommend to contact International House in Copenhagen, which has various courses and programs for new immigrants.

What is the greatest challenge in Denmark?

The Danish language is challenging. Even though I grew up in Sweden the language has been a challenge. I attended a course called Scandi-Dansk, which is a specially designed Danish course for other Scandinavians. We were Swedish and Norwegian in the class and it was a great experience in many ways. I met some new friends who perceive Denmark in a similar way as I do so we were able to share experiences about our new home in a way that you only can do with your own countrymen.

How did you manage to find your "own" life?

When you relocate to a new country you definitely need to put an effort in finding your own space and your own life. Of course, succeeding at this depends a lot on your own personality and what is important to you (your values). Regardless of what that is, you need to find it all over again every time you move suddenly the friends and family you had are not around anymore, your favourite park for taking strolls is

miles away, as well as the baker that had the most amazing bread and pastries you ever knew. miles away, as well as the baker that had the most amazing bread and pastries you ever knew.

Depending on the language and the culture of the new country, finding your “own” life can be easy or hard but I believe is always within reach and clearly very important for your quality of life and enjoyment as you adapt to the new country. I also think it is extremely important to always keep in mind that your relocation is voluntary. You are in a new country because you want to be there. Enjoy it!

Assistens Kirkegård

How does the future look like for you in Copenhagen?

We are going to stay in Copenhagen for at least another year and a half but we would definitely love to stay here permanently. What the future will bring is left to see. Our son was also born here so Copenhagen will always have a special place in our hearts.

What would you miss if you left tomorrow?

If we would leave tomorrow I would miss all the things you miss when you leave home: friends (some have become as family members), favourite places, the everyday life we have managed to establish and the Copenhagen atmosphere with the laid-back attitude of people who are genuinely happy with their lives (the studies about happiness ranking Danes very high are certainly true), which is quite unique for a capital city. 

My two favourite places in the city are "Torvehallerne" (food and atmosphere when not too crowded are great) and "Assistens Kirkegård" (Cemetery). The cemtery is perfect for walks and it is actually more like a park/museum than a cemetery.  It is also the burial site of a large number of Danish notables. For instance you can find H.C. Andersen, Søren Kierkegaard and Niels Bohr.