DENMARK. The Place to be.

I have been waiting for this place for a long time.  For five years, I have been wanting to go to Denmark.  I had such high expectation of this place.  And it delivered.

It was not much about the company visits that anticipated me, but the country as a whole.  According to certain studies, Danish people are rated as the happiest people in the world.  Coming from Korea where it has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, I have been curious about how Koreans’ way of living differs from the Danish’s.  And I noticed two distinct differences between Korean and Danish culture:

  1. Koreans do not have faith in their own government.  They feel that they have a broken health care system with almost non-existent pension.  On the other hand, when we visited Finasiel Stabilitret, they told us that citizens’ retirement is the first thing the government will protect in case bank is liquidated.  I feel that actions like these are what makes people trust the system more than other countries.  The only way for Koreans to have a great retirement is by personally investing their savings, which holds certain risk in itself.  Korean government has a tendency to favor the big conglomerate companies over minorities.  They look for the betterment of the companies, not the citizen’s standard of living.  Political corruptions are also more prevalent.  Each year, many politicians and corporate executives are indicted for bribery.
  2. Korean culture is built upon capitalism.  Therefore, Korean people are extremely competitive, making work-life balance almost nonexistent.  Korean work culture is that if you are a new employee, are you expected to pull 60-80 hours of work per week without any proper compensation.  Employees pull all nighter everyday in hopes of getting a promotion in the future, only to be replaced by someone who knows someone that “pulled” some string from the higher-ups.  Denmark, on the other hand, has strong emphasis on work-life balance.  Up until 2012, it was illegal for shops to open on Sundays.  Even though this law is overturned, I witness many shops open on Saturdays up until 3 PM and closed on Sundays.  From the consumer’s perspective, this can be tedious and cumbersome especially if you are from the State.  But, from the employee’s perspective, this is a great opportunity for them to spend time with their family and be rejuvenated for Mondays.

I personally witnessed Denmark’s awesome hospitality.  When I was lost in subway, people came up to me to give an assistance even without having to ask for help.  They saw me lost and wandering around and they came to help.  I have never experienced anything like this when during my time in both Korea and United States.  If possible, I would love to have a job opportunity in Denmark.

I fell in love with Denmark.  I am saddened to leave this place, but it will not be my last time coming to this piece of Shangri-La. Until next time Denmark.  I will see you soon.