Turkish Expat Living in Denmark - Interview with Serap

Published: 19 Mar at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Denmark
Serap Zel is an HR professional, has a Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering and Master degree in Engineering Management from Istanbul, Turkey. She has moved from Istanbul to Copenhagen with her husband Ugur and she is working there as expat. She enjoys traveling, trying new recipes in cooking, music and discovering new cultures. Serap's expat blog is called The Beauty of Cultural Diversity (see listing here)

From an autumn day at Copenhagen
From an autumn day at Copenhagen

Here's the interview with Serap...

Where are you originally from?
I am originally from Istanbul, Turkey

In which country and city are you living now?
Wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark

(In this videoclip of song, you can see some photos from the city)

How long have you lived in Denmark and how long are you planning to stay?
It has been 7 months here in Copenhagen, I plan to stay 1 year more.

Why did you move to Denmark and what do you do?
I am an HR professional and working as Global HR Partner to support HR operations of global commercial organization from the headquarter of my company in Copenhagen. I was working in Istanbul branch of the same company as HR manager, after 2 years I have been offered to my current job here. I said "Yes!" Because I always want to have experience in a different culture, be pushed out of my comfort zone.

Did you bring family with you?
Yes, my husband came with me.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
It was not a big challenge as we are quite familiar with European culture. The only challenge is constant grey sky in Copenhagen for us especially in winter period. When we arrived to Copenhagen at the middle of summer last year, it was quite good at that time. There were more sunny days. But winter time is depressive for people who are not used to have..

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
It was easy to meet with people and make friends, especially in office environment. Because I am working with many different nationalities everyday, everyone respects to each other, appreciate and enjoy the diversity. So this helped me a lot to adapt to new country and culture easily.

Marble Church
Marble Church
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
In summer time, I recommend to enjoy sunny weather at big parks and canal tours. It is really nice and clean city, Copenhagen has been selected as European Green Capital City for 2014. You can go to Tivoli which is a big, green amusement park to have fun with games, then have lunch or dinner and also enjoy some open air concerts or activities. In winter time, there are special events like jazz week, dining week, culture night in the city, so you can follow up and join to these social activities. But I recommend you to be proactive to search these things on internet in advance and take some advices from locals.

What do you enjoy most about living in Denmark?
It is difficult to say only one thing, generally I like fresh and clean air here, you feel this in every breath. I like to see people in cycling or running in the city. This gives energy to me and I feel happy to not stuck in traffic jam like I was in Istanbul. Lastly, I feel comfortable to live in this city where most of people can speak English well.

How does the cost of living in Denmark compare to home?
Woow..Here is quite expensive compared to Istanbul, I can say prices are almost double for everything here.

At Frederiskborg Castle with my cousin Turkan
At Frederiskborg Castle with my cousin Turkan
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Denmark?
I would appreciate if there are more sunny days at this part of the world, but it is ok. Other than this, I see no negative side.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Denmark, what would it be?
Have 3 things here : your bike, warm clothes and candles for winter :)

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The hardest thing is to learn local language here. Grammar somehow is easy to learn, but the pronounciation is really difficult. I went to course for 3 weeks, but then I gave up. Additionally, I also did not have high motivation to learn Danish as everyone can speak English very well. But my impression is when you do not understand local language, you do not get much closer to local culture. So no pain no gain !

At Sofiero with my husband Ugur
At Sofiero with my husband Ugur
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Be positive and open-minded.
  2. Follow up and join to social events at city, be active!
  3. Bring warm clothes. They say here that there is no cold weather, it depends to what you wear.
  4. If possible, learn local language
  5. Enjoy this unique experience. You may not have the same experience again in your life.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I started to write my blog in October last year. The name is "The Beauty of Cultural Diversity". www.theculturaldiversity.blogspot.com I have passion to learn more about cultures, cultural differences, how our cultures affect our behaviors and life. In my blog, I share not only my experiences or observations, but also some friends' experiences on working with different cultures and cultural diversity. Additionally I recommend books or films there. I do not feel obligation or stress to write a post every week, I just post things which I feel it is worth to share, I simply enjoy this sharing and learning through my blog.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
You can reach to me from my blog and follow me on twitter #serapnzel

About the author

Expat Blog ListingSerap is a Turkish expat living in Denmark. Blog description: This blog brings experiences from living and working with different cultures. There are interesting interviews with expats and useful tips on possible challenges from different cultures.
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