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Agnes Zawadi Karisa

Health & Social helper at Lolland Municipality

Name: Agnes Zawadi Karisa
Age: 48
Nationality: Italian
Company: Lolland Municipality
Title/education: Health & Social Helper

I ended up in Denmark because

I was looking for a new job abroad, and I saw it as a personal challenge. Originally, I am from Kenya, but after I met my ex-husband, we moved to Italy, and I got training in “Social and Health Care for Elderly Care." After almost five years in my profession, I saw the job ad from Lolland municipality. My profile matched the requirements, and I decided to apply.

What surprises me most about working in Denmark is

The independence that you have in your work. My workday starts at the office, and from there I continue to bike to the different homes where I take care of the elderly. I just have my work phone with me to document, but otherwise you are on your own.

My Danish colleagues are

A little reserved, and they open up later on. They have been very patient with me, and they have helped me a lot. I remember that I started working and I had just learned how to ride a bike when we biked out in the rain, and they waited patiently on me. They could have complained, but they waited. In general, they are very helpful and ask about my background and my life on the island.

Life in Denmark is

Very digital! I did not have a lot of experience with technology, but here in Denmark, it is just such an integrated part of society. You use your phone a lot, for example, to communicate with the state or your bank. I also use it a lot at work, to communicate with the office or to write reports on patients. It has a lot of benefits. Information is being documented, not lost.

I would recommend anybody moving to Denmark to

Speak your mind. Dialogue is appreciated at the workplace. Open communication has helped me solve some problems, enabling me to talk to both my colleagues and my leader instead of sitting and feeling frustrated. If you are already open with your communication, that is great. However, if you are not, it is something you may want to work on first.

In addition, you should have a positive mindset. There are many challenges, but if you want to make it work, it will work. There are, of course, differences. Especially culturally. In both African and Italian cultures, you are more open to talking to strangers and being social after work, which is different in Denmark. You have to be active to create your own social network.