Ex·pa·tri·ate: (n) a person who lives outside their native country.
Each year, CORT Destination Services supports thousands of individuals and families through the challenges inherent in relocating for work. Our Destination Services Consultants help assignees discover great neighborhoods, find the right home, choose the best school, and get settled into their new community with less stress and more confidence.
We occasionally invite an expatriate to share their thoughts about the experience of moving to, and living in, the United States. Our latest Expat Interview is from Jane Larsen a Danish national living in Vero Beach, Florida. We hope you find Jane’s remarks to be both fun and informative. We would love to hear from you.
Jane Larsen Rooney
Industry that brought you to the U.S.:
Are you alone on this assignment?
I am married to an American.
Is this your first international assignment? If not, where else have you lived?
The U.S, is the only country, aside from Denmark where I was born and raised, that I have lived in.
Was the decision to move to the U.S. easy or difficult for you and your family?
It was easy, especially because I assumed it to be temporary at the time of the move. My family had a hard time with it and still does 11 years later.
What is one American tourist attraction that you have visited?
I really want to see the Grand Canyon.
What is your favorite American saying or slang word?
What word or saying from your native language do you find yourself using often because it just doesn’t translate well to American English?
Nisse (a Danish Christmas gnome who lives in your attic). I have taught my husband and my in-laws all about the Nisse, because calling it a Christmas gnome is not an adequate translation.
Is there anything that you really miss and can’t find in U.S. stores?
I miss remoulade. The American version of remoulade is not the same as the Danish version at all.
What is your favorite American food?
Baby back ribs
Fill in the blank. Americans are:
Extremely friendly and willing to help.
Sometimes I wish Americans:
Had a broader educational background.
What has surprised you (good or bad) about life in the U.S.?
I was very surprised at the level of friendliness and kindness I was met with when I arrived, and continue to experience 11 years later. There is a natural willingness to help and less of a need for recognition for the good things one does for others. I was surprised to find that even those who had graduated high school lacked a fundamental understanding of a lot of what I considered basic knowledge.
The best thing about being an expatriate is:
That I have all the experiences and education from my own country, which I can benefit from while getting the opportunity to learn from another culture.
The worst thing about being an expatriate is:
Missing my family.
If you could relocate anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I am very happy in Florida, but I would also like to live in Louisiana.
Imagine that a good friend just called to tell you that he/she has accepted an assignment in the U.S. What advice might you have for them as they prepare to relocate?
Assuming all the immigration hurdles were resolved, I would be most keen on making sure my friend knows about the credit system. The credit system in the U.S. is so different from the Danish system, and I feel that all immigrants to the U.S. should attend a credit seminar upon arrival.
As much as I love the Danish culture and miss my family, I truly believe the U.S. to be the most amazing country for those who are willing to work hard and want to stand out from the masses.
(Author’s note – I couldn’t resist finding out more about Nisse so here is a link for anyone else who feels similarly curious!