After a chance visit to Copenhagen in May 2015, Anglo-Italian Daniella Mancini fell in love with the city and decided to escape the pressures of London and move to the Danish capital.
“I had been living in London for around eight years and I could feel myself increasingly being drawn into the rat race. The move to Copenhagen was very much driven by a desire to achieve a more healthy balance to my life. My main reason for the move was 'a pursuit for adventure and happiness', something that was noticeably lacking in our lives back in the UK,” she told The Local.
As a UX designer she set about looking for a job in the city before moving here and was lucky enough to land a position with a new creative and strategic agency called Great Works based in the Nyhavn area. She moved here in April.
Mancini is enthusiastic about her new employment and the difference in her working life here in Copenhagen versus London.
“I feel like I can achieve so much more here in my role as a UX designer, mostly because I feel I'm in a much more risk-taking and innovative environment. Maybe that's because the digital industry isn't as established as it is in the UK, so there's still room for great agencies to shape it in a way that's not quite possible in London,” she said.
The big pluses Mancini lists about living and working in Copenhagen probably won’t come as much of a surprise to other expats who have made the move. The trust-based and flat hierarchy in companies here is a refreshing change for many people.
“It’s no problem if people have to come in late, or leave early for whatever reason, because there's an unspoken trust that you will just make up that time as and when you need to. It's just generally a way more relaxed and progressive work climate here,” she said.
“Everyone’s equal, from the CEO down to junior staff or interns and that's exactly the kind of place I want to be working.”
Although Mancini finds she is still working the same 9-5 she did in London the shorter and healthy cycle commute means that she has so much more free time on her hands that she almost doesn’t know what to do with it.
“Sometimes I get home at 5:15 and I'm almost a bit overwhelmed with how early it is, I'm just not used to it,” she said, adding that she finds the Danes very sociable so that extra time is spent enjoying new friends and the city.
There are, of course, challenges in moving to a new country no matter how positive the experience is, and for Mancini not speaking Danish at the moment is tough.
“Though my team is quite international, the default language tends to be Danish and I sometimes feel frustrated when I can't get involved. I'm used to throwing myself into building personal relationships by being quite chatty, but I've found that more challenging here,” she said.
“But I totally believe that it's on me to fix that. I've come to a country where the first language isn't one that I speak, I need to get cracking and just learn it,” Mancini added. “I really don't want to only have non-Danish friends. I want to fully be a part of the Danish community and I feel like that's going to be more tough whilst I don't speak the language. ”
She is also finding there are some cultural difference that she needs to adapt to.
“I've definitely become a lot more conscious about the way I talk since I've been here. One Dane (not a colleague) asked me why I always wanted to know how he was after saying hi. He said that If you ask a Dane how they are they assume you want to know in depth detail about what's going on in their life, whereas for Brits and Americans asking how someone is is almost just an extension of saying hello,” Mancini said.
“I then went into work the next day and – perhaps a bit awkwardly – explained to everyone that when I ask how they are I genuinely did want to know that all was well, and that I wasn't just saying hello. Things like that have forced me to reflect on my own Britishness, which has been a fun experience in itself.”