According to UNICEF, the world is facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Therefore, many countries have adopted much more strict measures and laws to reduce this flux.
If you’re a non-EU/EEA citizen and planning to move to Denmark on the grounds of family reunification, then the first thing you should keep in mind is that in this small Scandinavian country the service goals from the Immigration Service are LONG.
AND (it couldn’t get better), during this period (which I like to call ”The Limbo”) you are not allowed to work, study, take Danish courses, have access to the health system neither volunteer. Ah! I forgot you are not allowed to leave the country unless you apply for a re-entry permit which is a different story and hassle.
SO this sounds very boring, depending on your case you’ll be around 5 to 10 months being able to do absolutely nothing!
But that’s not entirely true, you could still find your way through to be productive during this Limbo period.
1. Make Friends
This is very important to keep your happy-meter in the max! You should surround yourself not only with people that bring good energy to your life but also that are productive! You can learn so much from others by just putting some interest in what they’re doing and you can also share some of your knowledge. Also, you can have fun weekends by going out and refreshing yourself with a cold drink 🙂
A good way to make new friends is by socializing (of course! ), but some countries, like the Nordic ones, tend to be much more reserved so always keeping in mind the cultural differences you should search for the right locations where you can start a random conversation with a fellow stranger.
That means you could join meetings of groups created specifically for this purpose. You can use online platforms such as Couchsurfing, Meetup, InterNations, etc.
If you’re interested in learning a new language and teaching yours to others than you could start looking for a Tandem partner 🙂
And finally, depending on your relationship status you could use several dating apps to meet that special one and only! 😉
If you are not good or don’t like the online platform idea to meet people, you could always just go out to the city (park, museums, cinema, bar, library, events, conferences, etc.) and just say hello to a friendly face.
2. Go to the Library
This might sound boring for some but I must encourage this one to be done! Going to the library is not only a good way to be productive with your time and learn or improve any subject you’re curious about but it will also boost your own personal interests. You might be able to improve that million dollar idea! Even tho, you might not be able to take that precious book home, you can still enjoy the fact of going to a different environment rather than your cozy home, just for a change..!
You will also be able to find some books that will help you to learn that language you’re struggling with. Additionally, there are always events going on in the library, most of them are for free!
3. Learn a Language
Either is Danish, Norwegian, Finish, etc. You should DEFINETLY start improving your language skills of the country you’re moving into. Even if you’re not allowed to have free courses when you’re waiting for your residence permit, you can be self-taught. You can start by using free apps such as Duolingo or Babbel.
If you are a bit more advanced than you should start looking for online services. Nowadays you can learn almost anything from the Internet. There is SO much information around. If you improve your searching Google/Youtube skills you can find so many websites and channels that will teach the language of your interest for free. The tricky part is that you can actually be discipline and do it! At least one hour a day is a must!
Some examples (for Danish) are speakdanish.com, http://www.synope.dk (you have free audios but will need the book), Youtube BKD Pictures, danskherognu.dk and so much more.
4. Start Blogging
Yes, blogging is another option that will keep you busy! I always recommend to people that if you start engaging in something for a long/medium period of time, it’s a good idea to do it in a theme related to your educational background. I mean, if you’re an IT Developer you could start blogging about themes related to it such as coding, creating a game, Java, etc. And why is this? Mostly because there will probably be a big gap in your CV while you’re waiting for your residence so to fill this gap in your future work interview you have a back up to show in what you were investing your time meanwhile, instead of leading to believe you were just laying on the couch and observing the roof.
5. Take Online courses
This is one of my favorites, and again, Internet offers so much to us in this generation. You can start learning from scratch something you’ve always being interested into or improve your current knowledge. You can find a lot of websites that offers FREE online courses from prestigious Universities.
Some of them are the famous MIT online course (ocw.mit.edu), alison.com, coursera.org, codeacademy.com, openclassrooms.com. You can also find tons of tutorials on Youtube, such as how to use Matlab, Autocad, etc.
6. Stay Active!
For your mental and physical health, what better than exercising? Going to a fitness center will keep you fit and healthy, especially if you’re mostly doing your personal projects on the computer you should definitely aim for 2 hours of exercise! Being a member of a Fitness center is generally a good idea if you’re moving to a country where is mostly cold. Otherwise, you can just go for a run near a lake or a park or join a Yoga team through a social platform 🙂
7. Enroll a Course
Depending on where you are, this might be an expensive/difficult one. Some Institutions requires for you to have a valid student visa to be part of their courses and if not then it might as well be very expensive. But not everything is bad news, you can always head towards that building you’re curious about and get some valuable information/tips.
The Universities always have a very active and dynamic calendar for their students and guests. You will find they offer many activities, conferences, presentations and workshops related to your interests. If you look at a Master’s level, you will be lucky enough to find that most of this activities are in English and even if not, what better way to improve your language skills?
Also, going to the Institutions you’re curious about and going to their activities will create good networks you could use in the future!
8. Get Involve!
Yes! And I don’t mean volunteer! While building networks and getting to know much more your area of interest you can assist more regularly to that workshop or that meeting happening every week. Even if you can’t volunteer you can always share your thoughts and opinions and learn and follow this particular activity!
Another option which might ask some patience is Freelancing. If you’re interested in making some money legally, while waiting for your residence permit you can start freelancing online. Depending on your skills you could start offering your services to any interested. For example, you can translate documents to your native language.
You can search for many online freelancing websites and join them. Their terms and conditions may vary but you should give it a try!
Some of this websites can be: Freelancer, Elance, Upwork (formerly oDesk), Toptal, 99designs.
10. DIY project
And finally, you can start a personal DIY project! Yes, there are many things you can do, if you’re into practical stuff you could start creating your own crafts, if you’re more an artistic person you could start painting and decorating your bedroom walls or if you’re more into the geeky stuff you can start writing articles to the newspaper or creating a business model for a future start-up idea you have 🙂
NOTE: Always remember, try investing your time in a way you can fill the gaps in the future by aligning them to your educational background or interests.