Young emigration to Denmark: change, crisis and acceptance

Young emigration to Denmark: change, crisis and acceptance

I moved to Denmark at 16, where he resided for 6 years, and then moved to London, where he lived for another 3 years.

I  who since childhood had the goal of leaving the country in search of better opportunities and she would face a lot of obstacles to achieve it.

How much can living in another country change your life? And why are those who emigrate so young to other countries prone to an identity crisis?

I interviewed her to understand how she got over it and this is what she told me (transcript of her responses):

To Denmark: in search of better opportunities

I wanted to go. Deep down I knew that my life was not where I was.

Since I was a child I wanted to travel because I dreamed of being a singer and dancing.  I wanted to travel the world in this way. My dreams were so big that I knew that if I stayed in Manizales, nothing would happen.

At 16 years old, going to Denmark was the opportunity but I never assimilated it as something that would totally change my life.

Since I arrived, 8 months passed until I obtained the residency. It was a time of loneliness and frustration because when I spoke with my friends they told me “that the party, that I met such a person” and I locked myself in a house.

I felt stagnant. My friends had already graduated and I was staring at the ceiling. I always felt behind.

The first two years: learning Danish

In Denmark, everyone has her circle and it is very difficult to enter, especially if you do not know the language. I did not adapt.

In Danish class, we were all immigrants. Africans, Iranians, and Asians. We were all the same and we were all the same: nobody liked Denmark.

It was in those moments that I became an introvert. I had a hard time relating to people.

At first, the person who learns a language is not only afraid to speak it but also self-conscious.

You don’t want to repeat it, you want to be understood and gag as it is. One feels like a child when he learns to speak that they do not understand him. You feel fragile, vulnerable, you feel like an idiot. My friends from Colombia at 11 and I learning colors in another language.

At school: trying not to exist

It was until the age of two that I went to a normal school. I finished tenth in Colombia and I attended 11 online. I did it thinking that I was going to be able to homologate but it was not possible and I had to go back to 9 in Denmark.

At school, although I understood a lot of Danish and felt that I spoke it well, when they start talking to me about biology or physics in Danish is something else.

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The first day was horrible – they did a name memorization game where people would introduce themselves and say a related word. In this way, the next person should repeat the names and keywords of each of the people before him/her.

Imagine, I was the last one and I had to remember everything, and besides that the different accents I did not understand well.

-The Danish I learned was with a teacher who spoke slowly, not with a person who spoke normally.

When he touched me, I didn’t remember the names and I turned red, red. All I wanted was to get away. I said what I understood and then “I don’t remember.” And of course, everyone watching me.

The math teacher was someone else who put the students to read the problems and once it was my turn, to which I said “no, I can’t read.” And well he looked at me like “ok, it doesn’t matter” and he selected the next one.

And so it happened many times. They asked me and I was silent; I felt that everyone was looking at me, that they were behind me. The worst of all was that although I was always the oldest, I did not know and did not understand anything. I felt gross. I felt very bad.

I tried not to exist.

Also, since I was 18 and the other students 14-15, their mentality was “let’s go have a drink and smoke” and my life was going a different way. I was already thinking about what to do with my life, what to do to get out of this situation.

They were years that I did not want to register in my life. I lived bored, I was not motivated by anything. Best description: I felt like a mosquito in milk. The fact of not knowing how to belong, only an immigrant can understand.
I want to return to my country

My mother came to Denmark 5 months before us because she fell in love and married a Dane. It was the first time that my mother in the 54 years of her life was dependent on her and that hit her hard.

She was bad, but when we spoke on Skype I told her that she had to continue, that it was the opportunity to change our lives. I used to say “ma, you have to put up with it because we have to go.” We were aware of the economic situation at home and the only green light was to leave the country.

However, three months after I arrived in Denmark and lived what I experienced, I told my mother that she wanted to give me back. She reminded me of the many times she wanted to throw in the towel and I said no. So of course, how was she going to give up if she put up with me and my brother. Sometimes fear motivates more than courage

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College graduation

Forces came out of fear of failure and goal setting.

And even though I wanted to leave, I felt that if I did it would have been like ‘I failed’. There I did care what people thought.

I was afraid to go back to the same thing with my head down because my goal was to go to college. It may be that he was not sure what to study, but he wanted to go to university.

I put up with it all for it.

I learned English in those black months that I had, it was a language that I already knew and in Denmark, they speak it very well. I did it 3 or 4 hours every night on the computer in one of those “how to learn English online” pages.

At 3 months I started talking about it, not perfect but I could communicate.

During that period it was also that I took a love of sports (running was the way to release the suppressed energy), I wrote more frequently and I cultivated my passion for the cinema (a week I could see 10 to 12 films).

And I can say that what saved me was God (I clung to him a lot) and writing. In times of crisis, everyone clings to God. You pray “Lord help me, give me patience, let this pass quickly, let the years pass quickly.” God was someone who listened to me, someone to talk to.

I finished high school and did an ‘international baccalaureate’ where they speak only in English with the aim of entering an English-speaking university. After an academic trip to London, I understood that I could live in a city in Europe. I loved.

I told my mom that I wanted to do university in London. She helped me pay for my Film Study and Creative Writing career while I worked to support myself. She didn’t want to ask him for a peso. That was my dream, my decision. And he had to be responsible.

Identity crisis: accepting who I am

There were chapters not closed in terms of my personal life, I had not accepted that I was gone. I needed to go back to Colombia to close that: “my life changed, my life is not there, my life is this whether I want it or not.”

After three years, on a trip of 3 months, I returned and there I realized how much I had changed. To this day I am amazed. It is as if I had lived two lives in one because life there is so far away.

I saw that my friends were finishing university and that life was the same in Colombia but that I had changed a lot because it touched me. With my friends, we were already different. It started with the simple fact of how I dressed. We were no longer teenagers and we weren’t in school where life was a game.

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I think very differently, many of my customs and thoughts are no longer Colombian. I may have the accent but my mind goes much further.

And it is not that I believe more or less, but that the culture shock that I experienced at the age of 16 forced me to divest myself of many traditions of my country, such as the way in which I relate.

In the same way, when I returned to Denmark I realized that I did not fit in there either and I could not wait for the Danes to change because I was the one who got there. I had to adapt.

When I came back there was peace, I said “that’s it, I’m here in Denmark, let’s see the positive side”, which was not that m # d @ that I always created for myself. It can be cold and with dry people but at the same time it is a country that has an impressive quality of life, they pay you to study; you live well because it is quiet and safe.

Now I live totally grateful to that country because it would be nothing of what I am. I would not have had the opportunity to move to London or to be here traveling as a volunteer.

My life in Denmark was one of the hardest experiences of my life but also one of the most enriching and I would not change a day, although I would not repeat it again either.

When I got over the identity crisis, I said “I’m not from my home country, I’m not from London or Denmark, but I’m from everywhere.”

Also, when I arrived in London to start university (at 23) I understood that even though my friends had already finished, I had the opportunity to choose what I love, to choose the city and the university where to study it. I didn’t have to feel behind when comparing myself to them (who finished everything before me).

Living in Scandinavia gave me the opportunity to choose everything and that filled me with pride. I feel like I can achieve what I set out to do. That the power of the mind and visualization is very powerful but you have to work, you have to sacrifice it is not that it comes easy for you.

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