I am angry, today.
I don’t know if you are familiar with the MythBox project, which is something some people form Interresource and AU Career Centre are doing. You can find their webpage here: http://mythbox.tumblr.com/
It intends to create realistic expectations for international students looking for a job in Denmark, and from the beginning I thought it was a splendid idea.
Now, their latest post is this one: http://mythbox.tumblr.com/myths2
It talks about myths Danish companies have when it comes to hiring international students. It’s not my intention to criticize the job of the writters, but the content pissed me off quite a bit.
I don’t know where the quotes in italics come from, but I assume someone in some company said that. I can’t believe it. I quote:
“When you see foreigners in the street, you mix every foreigner and you have no distinctions. [...] No matter what color, what religion, what national background you have, it is too hard for a common Dane to tell a difference. And if you can’t tell a difference you take the lowest level as an example for everyone. Having everyone on the same edge.”
SERIOUSLY? So, there’s two types of people: Danes and not-Danes. And who cares if you’re Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Australian, Vietnamese, Nigerian, South African, Egyptian, Russian… we are all the same thing. We are all the worst thing.
On all the time I have been here, I’ve never feel discriminated for where I come from. Not that I’ve noticed, at least. Of course, not speaking Danish has been a handicap but that is, until a certain point, understandable.
One more thing I can’t believe:
“I have been searching for foreign students of a certain level several times. And they are impossible to find when you need one.”
Ha! Job portals are full of CVs of students looking for jobs. There is known associations who help international students get jobs. But of course they are impossible to find if you’re just waiting for one to show up at your door.
And more BS:
“The Danish student does have the private cultural background like the sense of humor, that it is not good to be 15 minutes late, it is not good to speak against the boss, several things you know for sure you should not do, as a Dane.”
So, if you’re not a Dane, aparently you don’t know that it’s not ok to arrive 15 minutes late to your job. And even if you’re told, you are not able to understand and you’ll keep doing it as a habit. Or that’s what they assume. Oh yeah, and people outside Denmark think is super good to speak bad about your boss, it’s a sport for us! [please, notice the sarcasm].
Honestly, I don’t know how thorough this study has been, and I don’t know how representative those quotes are but I don’t think most Danes think like that. I agree that Danish students have a clear advantatge, primarily because they speak the language and they know the culture, so it’s less risky to hire them BUT international students DO have a chance.
Okay, maybe we have to work a bit harder, maybe we have to start doing things we didn’t think we’d do on the first place, but it is possible. More and more companies every day understand the benefits of hiring internationals, as long as they’re prepared. More and more people is willing to help.
Don’t let these myths scare you. :)