Caroline Galatoli is currently studying at the University of Copenhagen. Today's interview will focus on how Caroline ended up in Denmark, her studies, and her recommendations for future students who consider studying in Copenhagen.
Tell me a little about yourself, and your background
I was born in Brazil, and I have double citizenship between Portugal and Brazil, which is a big plus. It is quite difficult studying here without a European passport, so it saved me a lot of trouble. I lived in Brazil for most of my life, I did my bachelor's degree there, and did a semester of exchange with CBS. That was the first time I was in Denmark, and that's also when I met my wife. She was also on exchange from Brazil. We went back to Brazil to finish our degrees and decided that going back to Denmark was our number one priority. I didn't come to Denmark because of my master's, I did my master's because I wanted to come back to Denmark.
What are you studying?
I applied to many different universities in Denmark, and I ended up studying Global Development at the University of Copenhagen.
Is Denmark what you expected?
I had never heard about Denmark before, and I didn't even really know where it was in Europe. My university had an exchange with CBS and because I have a European passport it was very simple for me to come here. So that is why I originally decided to come to Denmark. My first impression of Danish culture is that it is very open, you can be whoever you want, you can have many different types of friends, and even Danish people are international in the sense that they all speak English.
Was it difficult adapting to Denmark, and meeting people?
It was a bit difficult in the beginning because my English was not fluent, and I didn't have any Brazilian or Portuguese friends here. Basically, I needed to learn English or Danish if I wanted to feel at home here. So, I practiced and practiced, and now I am confident in my English. I'm even taking Danish classes.
When I just got here I loved how easy it was to get around Europe from Denmark, so I did a lot of travelling. It is a lot cheaper to get around here compared to Brazil, and I wanted to take advantage of that. Now that I've done all my Europe exploration, I have bought a bike and I get around like all the other Danes!
Meeting people in Denmark isn't too difficult if you are willing to put yourself out there. I met a lot of people through my studies, and then I met their friends, and it was a snowball effect from there. I also volunteer at a non-profit cafe called Sweet Surrender. Basically, everyone at the cafes is a volunteer and all the money we make goes to charity. Originally, I started volunteering at the cafe because I wanted to something to put on my CV, and to meet new people, and now I've been there for a year and I love it! There are around 40 volunteers, and we tend to go to events together and see each other quite a bit outside of work. It's like an extended family.
How did you find your job as a volunteer?
We went to a lecture called Leisure Guidance, at International House. They told us that a large percentage of Danes do volunteer work, and I didn't know that. They gave us a website called CPH Volunteers and it lists all of the volunteer opportunities in Copenhagen.
How did you come across the Young Professionals in Denmark program?
I came across Young Professionals in Denmark through a sponsored ad on Facebook. I signed up and didn't really know what to expect. My wife helped me create the video that needs to be submitted with the application, and I was happily surprised when I saw that I was accepted. Young Professionals in Denmark hosted a lot of events and workshops, and I am pretty sure that I have attended all of them; they are very worth it. They had one workshop which I thought was particularly helpful, which was about Danish culture in the work place. For someone like me, from Brazil, it was interesting to learn how different the work place can be. For example, in Denmark everyone is quite punctual, but in Brazil if you are on time you are perceived as an anxious person.
What would your best piece of advice be for individuals looking to either study or pursue a career in Denmark?
I personally believe the most important thing when moving abroad is creating a solid network, and to continue building upon that network. I would highly recommend that people sign up for programs such as Young Professionals in Denmark or find a volunteer job. The volunteer job might not land me my next real job, but it's something to put on the CV, you meet a lot of interesting people, and you are given the opportunity to learn about Danes and their culture.
How did you find your internship with Ramboll?
This goes back to my point about networking. There are language cafes around Copenhagen, and one day at the language cafe I started talking to a guy who worked at Ramboll. He was very fascinated by Brazil and hoped that Ramboll would enter the Brazilian market one day, and he said: I wish I could find someone with a business background that could help me with that. I saw an opportunity to tell him a bit about myself and my background, and he invited me to an interview the following week. That's how I got my internship!
What is your role at Ramboll?
I do market research, and financial analysis and basically help Ramboll roll out a strategy that will allow them to most efficiently enter the Brazilian market. My internship ends in December, but I am looking to apply for a job with them because I like the company a lot and think I could learn quite a bit from them.