On seeing working abroad as an adventure

On seeing working abroad as an adventure

Rebekka Brøyn studied Cybernetics and Robotics in Trondheim and actively sought a workplace that would allow her to go abroad quickly. That place turned out to be Netcompany. After only three months in Oslo, she travelled to Copenhagen to work on performance monitoring of a tax system. Today, she’s back in Oslo and ready to reflect on what she learned from working abroad. 

01. See working abroad as an adventure 

I hadn’t travelled for so long. It was in the middle of the corona pandemic, I was looking for a job, and I really wanted to go somewhere. I had already visited Copenhagen once and thought “this is a place I could actually live” so, in that way, I was prepared. But I didn’t plan everything in advance. I don’t think you can plan everything in advance. I think it’s useful to see working abroad as a kind of adventure.  


02. Don’t be afraid of practicalities

As a person, I love to have possibilities in front of me. I only knew a week in advance that I was going to Denmark, but I went anyway. There were a lot of practical things I did not understand yet, like taxes, and I also didn’t realize how hard it would be for Danes to understand my Norwegian, but I figured those things out as I went. Being creative and perhaps a little more extroverted than you usually are goes a long way to solving those practical problems.

03. Do things outside of work 

When I moved to Copenhagen, we were five Norwegians who did a lot of things together, such as climbing. Eventually, I figured out I also needed something that I could do on my own, so I signed up for a course on pottery. Having activities outside of work helped me a lot. The Friday bars and After Dark activities also helped me a lot in getting to know my new colleagues. I also have a half-aunt in Denmark who I got really close with during my time there, which was great.

04. Try, fail, get better 

In Copenhagen, I worked on a lot of hard, technical stuff I hadn’t worked on before, like old, vanilla JavaScript, docker and elastic stack. Workwise, it was tough in the beginning. On the other hand, I got to work with a lot of experienced IT architects, and I think I learned as much from them as I did when I was a student. I had to sharpen up, but in the end, it paid out to push through the initial struggles. 

05. See differences as an investment 

I believe that you will never actually find a very different working environment by changing jobs within a country, and I think everyone should try to work abroad at some point. Perhaps especially if you are from Norway. I have reflected a lot on the working environment laws that we have in Norway, and although I really appreciate the sense of safety the laws provide, it was really beneficial for me to experience the Danish work environment as well. Also, even though Copenhagen is just a relatively short drive from Oslo, it feels much closer to the center of the continent. Differences like that make the trip really worth it.