Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Derek now calls Copenhagen, Denmark home.
Q + A with Derek
WHERE ARE YOU FROM IN THE USA? Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
WHERE ARE YOU CURRENTLY BASED? WHAT ARE YOU DOING THERE? Copenhagen, Denmark WHAT BROUGHT YOU OVERSEAS? My partner first came here for work in November 2016. His company bought a Danish company and needed assistance with the integration. It was supposed to be a 2 week trip that became 3 and gave me a chance to come over and visit Copenhagen myself. By the time he came from the extended trip we were offered an expat assignment for 6-9 months with the understanding that it could turn into 2-3 years - we said YES and jumped right in. At this point we are contracted to be here 2 years but it's open-ended and we couldn't be happier about that or our experience so far. I began as a trailing spouse and once I had a work permit I began doing social media content editing and creation for a start up company and created my own blog, Robe Trotting.
DID YOU STUDY ABROAD IN THE PAST (OR PRESENT)? IF SO WHAT PROGRAM AND WHERE? I did not, but in the US I taught high school and at the college level. 5 years ago I began the application process to teach overseas and backed out. I am so thankful that an expat opportunity came up again and I knew I had to take advantage of it when it did.
ANY WORDS OF WISDOM FOR FUTURE YOUNG AMERICANS? First and most importantly - DO IT! The opportunity will rarely fall into your lap and the timing won't always be ideal but you just have to start the process and make it work as you go. It's scary, it's not always easy and it requires a lot of patience, perseverance along with a curiosity and sense of adventure that not everyone has but it's an incredible experience. Lean on those who have been where you are whether it's other expats in your professional network, those who have shared their stories on this platform or other facebook and social media groups that are designed for expats. Do as many activities and events as you can when you first arrive to your new home and establish a routine early. It's tempting to spend weekends traveling or hosting friends and family from the US, but you need at least 3 months to live in and get used to your new city - I can't stress that enough.