1 August 2016

Ana Petrina - Expat in Copenhagen, Denmark

Ana Petrina - Expat in Copenhagen, Denmark

Mrs. Ana Petrina is a Croatian Market Coordinator living in Denmark. Mrs. Petrina came to live in Denmark because of the Croatian War of Independence back in 1991. She stayed in Denmark because she had family in Denmark.

Mrs. Petrina admitted that despite the expensive cost of living and the closed of Danish culture, she can imagine herself living in Denmark for the rest of her life. According to Mrs. Petrina, life in Denmark is good if you can find a good expat community. Her biggest struggle is to try and penetrate with local Danish social circles “The negative side is the self sufficiency of Danes and a closed Danish society to (especially certain groups of) foreigners/expats.” said Mrs. Petrina.

Finding the right connection or clubs and associations in your new host country is the first step to adjusting to your new life as an expat, especially if you find it hard to associate with locals in your new host country.

For more information about Mrs. Petrina’s expat life in Denmark, read her full interview below. 


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Croatia

Q: What made you move out of your home country?

A: The war in 1991

Q: Where are you living now?

A: Denmark

Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: We had family in Denmark

Q: How long have you been living in Denmark?

A: 22 years

Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in your host country?

A: Finding a way to connect with Danes beneath the surface level. They are very open and helpful at first, but getting to know them better than as acquaintances is very difficult.

Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance was particularly difficult in your host country?  What was your experience with these?

A: It was difficult for my husband to get a working permit, but otherwise no.

Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: With family

Q: How are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: It took my husband a long time to adjust to the Danish social life – or the lack of it – and we are mostly socializing with other expats.

Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: If you have children, you can “use” them to make contact with other families in daily life. Additionally, the international community is vast and the internet is a big help to finding activities and arrangements.

Q: How does the cost of living in Denmark compared to your home?

A: Very expensive

Q: How do you find the local culture and people in your host country?

A: Very Danish :-) A bit self sufficient and very fond of their own culture and country.

Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in (host country)?

A: The positive sides are that everything works – low level of bureaucracy and high level of digitalization, there is a financial safety net, the welfare system is existing, the trains run on time, free access for all to schools and doctors, etc. The negative side is the self sufficiency of Danes and a closed Danish society to (especially certain groups of) foreigners/expats. Another negative side is that everything is so expensive, it marks the social life in a way, because people often have to spend a 150-200 DKK just to go out for coffee and 300 on a cinema trip.

Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: In periods, yes.

Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: We visit once a year, receive visits, skype a lot and keep our selves updated by reading newspapers, etc.

Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: No current plans, but I can’t imagine us living here the rest of our lives.

Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: Missing beloved people and the lack of our usual social life in general.

Q: What tips can you give other expats living in that country?

A: Find expat communities to socialize with, but try to penetrate the Danish, because there are Danes who are open to other cultures, they are just a bit hard to find.

Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about your host country?

A: Aok.dk  - the Copenhagen culture site