With ambition and hard work, you can reach your goals, as the success story of psychiatry specialist, Antonio Drago proves it – now he is a clinical lecturer at Ålborg University Hospital.
What motivated you in moving to Denmark?
My first motivation was that I needed a change both in my professional and personal life. Denmark seemed to offer a good balance between a job and free time. Besides, I’ve been working at the university for a long period of my life, but that wasn’t possible to carry on anymore in my home country. This possibility was granted in Denmark, even though not immediately. Denmark is still close enough to Italy, so I have the possibility to keep in frequent contact with my friends and family.
How was the Medicolink process?
I applied online, then I was contacted by a recruiter with a position matching my profile. Not long after, I had my first meeting via Skype followed by a personal interview in Aarhus. There, I had the possibility to meet my future employer and colleagues, and Medicolink’s account manager guided me around the city and surroundings. After being offered the job, I took part in the intensive language course in Budapest arranged by Medicolink. It was a very positive experience, both because of the fascinating town itself, the high professional level, and the human qualities of people at Medicolink. I was also lucky with my group. The fellow students were all kind people, so all in all it was nice to go through the six months.
How was your professional development?
I started working as a specialist doctor (afdælingslæge) at Århus University Hospital in 2015, then I moved to Herning – a town in the Mid-West. The reason of my move was that my department in Aarhus was closed due to reorganization. My job was not at risk, but I had the opportunity to change, and I found a researcher position only after a few months in Herning.
I started as a specialist doctor there. I had this position for cca. 1 year then I obtained a consultant position (overlæge). I had bigger responsibilities from that point. Working as a researcher in Herning was absolutely similar to my work back in Italy. Since 2018 I’ve been associated professor (klinisk lektor) at Ålborg University Hospital.
How did you get the researcher position?
Normally, the interest in research is strong in Denmark, but the process is not so fast for people coming from abroad. But if a hospital is looking for a researcher and if the researcher has the requested set of skills – including Danish language -, then it’s possible to get a researcher position as a foreigner.
First, I had to prove that I have the correct background – publications, experience, etc. – and demonstrate that I have the certain set of skills. Afterwards I could share my desires, ambitions and abilities in the field of research. Herning requested a researcher matching my profile, and finally, I got the research job. Here, I’ve found the perfect environment in the past 3 years.
People are very kind. They say what they do, and they do what they say. They are extremely reliable. People in Denmark are also more relaxed, so it’s easier to be direct and honest with them.
Danish is a difficult language to learn but it’s completely worth it. The more I become aware of the language, the more I understand the cultural differences and specifics of the country.
How has your life changed since you’ve been living in Denmark?
The biggest changes in my life since I’ve been living in Denmark are that I’ve found a Danish girlfriend and I got a dog, with whom I can spend time due to the nice working hours here. I can spend enough quality time with my son who’s living in Italy.
There’s a good balance in my job because it provides both security and enough holidays. Life is easy and well-planned here in Denmark.
What is it like working in a Danish hospital?
My colleagues are always very nice and honest. If there are problems, we face them, but there’s a high level of professionalism and it’s very unlikely that problems are handled on a personal level. People don’t interfere but keep private and professional life separate.
What would you advise to future applicants who consider moving to Denmark?
I would advise to be patient and to never stop learning and studying Danish, that will allow them for a better and more productive integration in the Danish environment. Eventually, I hope for myself and for my fellow foreigner colleagues, that Danish language will allow for the foundation of a stable and rich experience in the Scandinavian culture.