As I am a Swede ( a Scandinavian) in Romania, I was curious to hear from people experiencing the opposite. Romanians in Scandinavia.
I met up with Tudor Mihailescu, who happened to be the 1300th follower on my Bucharest Lounge Facebook page. We met up in person in a café in Copenhagen and talked about his experience in Denmark. Here's what Tudor had to say:
Facts are facts, and Romania is the second poorest country in the EU, while Denmark is one of the richest, according to official statistics. So, regarding my stay in Denmark, coming here first as a student and afterwards getting hired here (even though part time at the moment) is a huge privilege. It is a very hard decision to make this step, and from a financial point of view few people can do it. Danish (and Scandinavian) society is so different than ours, and in most aspects in a much more positive way.
We Romanians have so many things to learn from the people here, starting from the more stable democracy, going through to the responsibility of Danish citizens towards their work, and the society they live in, openness towards different habits of their fellow citizens, positive ways of thinking, lack of irresponsible and non-constructive criticism, sharing of truth and civic responsibility and educating their children in the same manner.
I feel responsible, in a way, to take these qualities and try as much as I can to share them somehow. The fact is, members of Danish and Scandinavian society in general, are much more aware of their rights, much more responsible – in general – towards their work and the contribution of this work to the society, and less tolerant to everything that goes bad around them.
You could say, somehow, that we, Romanians, lost hope, to some degree. I would like to be well understood: I was born and raised in the economical, industrial and cultural main city of the country, Bucharest, where things tend to be a little different, in a better way, but I was talking earlier about the national situation. Also, this doesn’t mean that everything is lost.
I am interested, and I read daily about individual examples within the Romanian society of citizens who, against all the odds, succeed in the most inspiring manner. Successful people, with national and international awards, sports champions, business men, students, doctors who save so many lives having no modern solutions or resources at hand, or who work double, and all the way down to the most simple citizen who fights everyday for a warm meal for his family. They all have my deep and sincere admiration. May all of them have a lighted path ahead.
I am 30 years old, married, a forest engineer and working at a National Park in South-West Romania, but I don’t like the course that this country has taken. I guess there is a world experiment with countries such as Romania and if we stay and do nothing this nation has a grim future.
Romania and its people don’t deserve this. You came from Sweden, I was also in Stockholm in 2010 and worked there about two months, and nothing struck me more than the social protection you enjoy there. Everything is made for the people : to be healthy and happy.
The Swedish government knows that a happy tax payer is the key for performance and development. Sadly Romania is the opposite way, here you have only the right to endure, the quality of life for young Romanians is going down because social protection and education is deteriorating. I cannot imagine how our government think that it can get better if they neglect young people, the education and the health systems.
My two months in Stockholm changed lots of my ideas. I wanted this experience for me. I had taken all my free time from the job here in Romania to work on a construction site in Stockholm. You can imagine my mixed feelings, being an educated person and working with the shovel.
I loved Stockholm, every weekend I went alone by bicycle to visit the city, to feel it, to smell it, to see trees in the parks, to see ducks and deers who are not afraid of you! If I could take only a part of it back to Romania and say: Look how they work! Look at their social protection! Look at their infrastructure! Look how they protect the environment!
I live in Targu-Jiu, the city where the world’s greatest modernist sculptor Constantin Brancusi was born, sadly better known outside Romania than by his own people. We don’t know how to generate good publicity for ourselves, foreigners know Romania only by Ceausescu, Hagi and Nadia Comaneci.
By Yvette Larsson, Guest Writer
Yvette Larsson is Swedish, born 1972 in Gällivare, Lapland. She has a Masters of Arts / Upper Secondary School Teachers’ degree from the University of Umeå, Sweden. There she studied English, Swedish, Education, Media & Communication and Science Journalism. She has 13 years of experience as an ex-pat: she lived and worked in The Reunion Island, Norway, France,UK, and Denmark. Yvette has worked with Sports Management for ten years and is a Coach and Leadership Trainer, passionate about facilitating individuals and organizations to find and express their values & visions, talents and impact in the world. Yvette runs the blog and a Facebook -page called The Bucharest Lounge, where she rebrands Romania with beauty and meaning and where she models a new generation of leadership in Romania, all seen through her Swedish lens.