A young male refugee was struggling with life in Denmark; frequently missing classes at language school and skipping job training. As the oldest son in his family, he carries full financial responsibility for his aging parents. With no income, he cannot support them, and so he skips language school and job training to make money any way he can.
After participating in Bridging the Cultural Gap, he began to understand the stark differences between Syrian and Danish culture. He learned how Danish culture is very independent; the opposite of the culture he grew up in. He also learned that Danes tend to be egalitarian; whereas he was born and raised to respect and not question authority.
He realized that the pressure and expectations of his family’s financial interdependence, in combination with his strong orientation towards status and his reliance on others to tell him what to do were keeping him locked in an impossible situation. He understood that if he did not make his own needs and education top priority, he will never be able to grow or support anyone in Danish society.
He tried to explain this to his parents, and asked for permission to be relieved of their financial responsibility. They granted it to him – although reluctantly. He has now taken his first step to achieving his goals in Denmark.
After a long and traumatic journey, a female Syrian refugee was left skeptical and negative. She continually had misunderstandings with social workers in the municipality, despite the help of an interpreter.
During her participation in Bridging the Cultural Gap, this women saw her cultural profile as very different from the typical Danish profile. She began to see how her behavior is coming across to Danes, and why she is constantly misunderstood.
Shortly after the workshop, this women began job training in a kindergarten. She was able to see and feel how Danish culture plays out in real life, identifying cultural dimensions she learned about in the workshop. She started to understand she can gain a lot from modifying her behavior. She observed the working Danish women as self-confident and independent, and she started taking on the traits of her Danish colleagues. As her confidence builds, she continues to aspire to be a working mother and a positive role model for her children.
A Syrian refugee with two small children was having problems with her neighbours. When her children came home from school they would ring the wrong doorbell by mistake. The elderly neighbour told the children quite directly that they should not ring his bell.
Upon hearing this, the mother felt the neighbour was being unkind and intolerant to her children.
After she learned more about the Danes tendency to be very direct, she started perceiving her neighbour’s actions a bit differently. As she lowered her defensive guard, the two neighbours developed a friendly relationship based on mutual curiosity.