Our foreign employees’ positive experiences of living and working in Denmark and participating in local community life is very much based on their involvement with the local school and the extensive system of clubs and associations. Both aspects create important ties among the youth, adults, and serve to engage newcomers and new citizens. Equally important, however, is the new foreign employee’s understanding of how local democracy works and how it immediately connects citizens as they become involved in the local community. However, local democracy can be more difficult to spot and relate to than the activities taking place on the sports field, in the scout club, or at the library.
Concrete steps were taken to address this when town and business coordinator Birthe Luckmann invited a class from Sprogcenter Midt, consisting of participants from businesses in Vildbjerg, to attend a meeting with mayor Dorte West inside the city council chamber in Herning. During this rendezvous with local democracy, the students gained a very tangible impression of how the city council conducts its work and how the elected council members debate and reach decisions. During the meeting with the mayor, the students also experienced how local government has a strong interest in the conditions for all the municipality’s businesses and the circumstances for their employees.
At Sprogcenter Midt, we strive to ensure that our students not only acquire practical Danish language skills but also have the fundamental prerequisites to understand and participate in local democratic life.
The local newspaper Herning Folkeblad has published a fine article about the visit (requires a subscription).