I forårssemestret 2020 kørte DIS et pilotprojekt, som kombinerer dét at bo i et lokalt hjem med muligheden for at lære professionelt af sin vært. Dette nye tiltag kalder vi for Career Connection Homestay, som er et mindre supplement til vores populære værtsfamilieprogram.
Bæredygtighed som fællesnævner
Brandon Hoak var én ud af seks studerende, som gerne ville afprøve den nye mulighed af hos DIS. Desværre blev oplevelsen halveret pga. COVID-19s indtog, hvor de studerende måtte forlade landet i hast. Alligevel fortæller Brandon, at han priser sig lykkelig for de to måneder han nåede at få sammen med sin Career Connection-værtsmor, Lene Hjort. Lene bor nord for København og arbejder som funktionsdirektør i Jyske Bank med særlig fokus på bæredygtighed.
Brandon kommer fra Cornell University, hvor han læser Design & Environmental Analysis, som er en blanding af arkitektur, indretningsdesign og produktdesign. På DIS var Brandon Sustainability-studerende. Vi har forhørt os med Brandon, for at få indblik i, hvordan hans oplevelse har været med sin Career Connection Homestay.
DIS: How was the housing part of your stay?
Brandon: The housing part of my stay was splendid. My host mom, Lene, was one of a kind with both unique experiences as well as a unique home that aided in my personal growth while abroad. Her relevant ties to community work and sustainability provided me with a wonderful look into Denmark’s corporate efforts made to positively impact the environment. Her personal experiences, network of friends, and new startup Global Awear, gave me even more fulfilling opportunities to explore sustainability on such a personal level in Denmark.
On top of all this, I was delightfully surprised to discover that the house I lived in was part of one of Arne Jacobsen’s beautiful row housing! The home itself not only lent me the intimate experience of the renowned designer, but I also got to interact with some classic Danish design pieces my host mom has. Given my design and environmental background, I felt very at home in many ways, with all of my interests being supported by my host mom, as well as by the physical environment!
DIS: Did you get to visit your host’s work place?
Brandon: Once I had found out about my host mom’s job at Jyske Bank as head of Corporate and Sustainable Responsibility, I was so excited to attend her work. I even got a suit and pair of Danish-design (Ecco) dress shoes for the experience. By the time we were able to schedule our trip to her office, the news surrounding COVID-19 was surmounting. Fortunately, right before I left and businesses shut down completely, I was able to attend the Jyske Bank office in Lyngby. Although it was hardly a normal work day given that many people were working from home and I was not allowed to shake other people’s hands, it was still an incredible experience and opportunity.
DIS: What was your impression of your host mom’s work place?
Brandon: The space itself was beautiful! Lots of natural light and open space, collaborative workstations/office rooms, and well-designed conference rooms. It felt very homey and inviting to me, not like how big private sector spaces are in the United States. Even though I could feel that it was a “white-collar” workplace it felt humbler and less intimidating. The whole experience; the feelings of workplace balance, organic and nutritious lunch food, and well cared for spaces for workers to engage with – all seemed to indicate a healthier and happier work environment. All of these experiences – on top of the wonderful proximity the workplace had to public transportation, local grocery stores, and local community – have made me feel even more drawn to move my life to Copenhagen and start working and living in Denmark. My experiences through DIS were integral in inspiring me to want to live in Denmark, but my homestay, specifically its Career Connection, is what inspired me to want to work in Denmark.
DIS: Tell us more about this dream, please!
Brandon: I hope that I can achieve this goal within the near future, but with that in mind I will not forget what life can be like: a symbiotic relationship between work and the worker. I often feel in the United States that work is a means to an end: We get educated to get a job to get paid in order to live. However, in Denmark this felt turned upside down: Work (this of course must not be true for everyone and that my host mom has a wonderful job) seems more tied to goals and aspirations and the worker’s overall well-being. There are better benefits, better work life balance, better time management, and better self-discipline, which all seems to be derived from a mutual respect for the workplace environment. This is how I would like to live and work and I am extremely grateful to have been exposed to this alternative model of living compared to that of the U.S.A.
DIS: Would you recommend Career Connection Homestay to future students?
Brandon: I highly recommend this program, and believe it is a wonderful idea with loads of potential! This truly has changed my life, I cannot thank you all enough. Denmark really became my home and Lene will always feel like my host mom! Tusind tak!
Lene som mentor og inspirator
Vi ringede også til Lene for at få hendes perspektiv. Lene fortalte os, at hun meldte sig som Career Connection-vært, fordi hun i forvejen agerer en del som mentor på sit arbejde og godt kunne lide tanken om, at introducere en studerende til sit arbejdsliv og netværk, med særlig vægt på bæredygtighed, arkitektur og miljø.
Lene var første gang vært for en DIS-studerende i 2008, og det var en stor succes. Her havde hun en arkitektstuderende boende, og han arbejder nu på et arkitektstudie, som tegner bygninger, der ofte har et skandinavisk islæt. Så semestret ved DIS satte virkelig et aftryk i hans liv.
Engagerede Career Connection-studerende
Vi spurgte også Lene om, hvordan hendes to måneder med Brandon var gået. Lene svarede, at Brandon og hende havde det vanvittigt godt sammen, og at de klikkede rigtig godt i forhold til interesser. Hun understregede også, at hun personligt brænder for at involvere sig lokalt, om det så er i hendes eget nabolag eller i Rørvig, hvor hun har sommerhus. Dét havde Brandon og Lene også mange passionerede snakke om.
Lene beskriver Brandon som ”usædvanlig – kvik, åben og med en spændende personlighed.” Lene skal ikke kunne sige, om det havde noget med Career Connection-programmet at gøre. Men hendes overordnede indtryk af de seks Career Connection-studerende var, at de alle sammen virkede mere engagerede end den gennemsnitlige DIS-studerende, hun ellers har mødt.
Vi takker Brandon og Lene for at dele deres personlige betragtninger om deres tid sammen inden for rammerne af vores pilotprojekt. Der er ingen tvivl om, at vi har at gøre med to personer, der har fundet hinanden og helt sikkert kommer til at bidrage positivt til hinandens liv lang tid fremover.
Lancering til Forårssemestret 2021
DIS planlægger at lancere Career Connection Homestay-programmet, både i København og i Stockholm til forårssemestret 2021. Lyder det som noget for dig? Læs mere om muligheden for at blive Career Connection-vært her:
Hvis du brænder inde med spørgsmål og gerne vil i kontakt med Brandon eller Lene, så må De gerne kontaktes via. deres LinkedIn-profiler her: