'We don't feel like strangers'

'We don't feel like strangers'

Expat zone

'We don't feel like strangers'

Claus Hansen and Susan with children Asbjorn and Alberte, a family from Denmark, have been here in the City for a while. They love their stay here and say the experience has been a fruitful one.

Claus, who works as the director of business support with Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company, says that when the family was coming to Bangalore, they knew that it was one of the fastest growing cities in Asia and known as the IT hub of India. He adds, “We also read about the history of the place and the different places one could visit.” 

He loves his work atmosphere. “I have worked at many places in Denmark and for a short time in Switzerland, UK and Germany,” he notes.

Comparing the work culture here to that of Denmark, Claus, he says, “People are willing to learn here. They are always open to accepting new things. The nature of work is similar. But it’s a younger organisation which makes it more fun,” says Claus.  He says that his colleagues are mostly Indian and it has been an enriching experience. “In Denmark, we are not really bothered by the authority and hierarchy. The system is thus more transparent and everyone talks frankly. When I had just come, this was one of the challenges that I had to deal with,” he says. He adds, “I would like my employees to be open and discuss their problems with me. It wasn’t an easy process in the beginning but I have been trying to break down the barriers.”

He says that to become more accessible to his colleagues at work, he had to take certain steps. “I’m here to support my employees. I tried to explain to them that when one has a lot of challenging tasks or targets to be completed, it is natural to go behind on some. It has been difficult to communicate this to them. I introduced a ‘performance board’, a system where everyone’s targets are put on the wall and it is clearly stated if we are behind or on target,” says Claus. 

“Another step I took was to leave my cabin. I now sit with my employees. This was a conscious effort to break down the walls and open channels of communication,” he says. He adds that he also hosts seminars at home, so that his employees can see where he lives. He says that it is very easy to motivate people here. “They are very enthusiastic. This has helped make work a positive experience for me,” says Claus.
 He says that people work efficiently here and sometimes they work a bit too much. “It’s essential that one has a balance between professional and personal life. This is also one of my roles,” he says.

The family has travelled to Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Amritsar, Mumbai, Goa, Chennai and Pondicherry. “The infrastructure here is probably worse when compared to many other places in the country. But, the City is much more open to expatriates. We don’t feel like strangers when we are in Bangalore,” they say.

Susan, who says that living in Bangalore has been an enriching experience, adds that she also loves the fact that she has met people from across the world here. “People here are always interested to learn about our culture. Also, when you live in a country you get to know about the people there,” says Susan. 

She says that one of the best features of Indians is their smile. “I smile a lot and it feels warm when I get a smile back. People take time to know about you. In Denmark, people don’t have time,” she says.

The children love their school and their stay in the City. Asbjorn, a seventh grader with Indus International School, says, “It’s been an interesting stay. The school is much better compared to the one in Denmark as we get to meet people from different nations. I have learnt a lot here and there are many opportunities here. There are a lot of cinemas and malls here.” He says the education here focusses more on details.

His sister Alberte, a fourth grader, says that she loves the mix of people in the City. “I like that there are many international people here along with Indians. I also love my teachers as they teach very well.” 

She says that she loves the fact that people from all strata of life are able to live together in the City in peace.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox