Carlos Steel fitter and student at the IA Sprog Metro Danish Language Course

Steel fitter and student at the IA Sprog metro team

Carlos is a little nervous. Why do IA Sprog want to do an article about him? We do, because Carlos has learned a lot of Danish in a short time in spite of having only brief schooling.

Carlos follows Danish Language Course 1 for students with brief schooling, attending IA Sprog’s metro team. He is 36 years old and originally from Guinea Bissau, a small country in West Africa. He later moved from Guinea Bissau to Portugal, where he has lived for 15 years. His mother tongue is Portuguese and Creole from Guinea Bissau.

It’s hard, but you get there little by little

Carlos came to Denmark in 2015 to work as a steel fitter at the metro construction in Copenhagen. At the metro construction site, most other construction workers are foreigners, so not much Danish is spoken at work. In the section where Carlos works, everyone speaks Portuguese. The only chance Carlos gets to use Danish in the workplace, is when he checks in at the construction site.

“The ones who check our ID cards when we arrive at work are Danes, and I always say “Hej, hvordan går det?“, he smiles.

 Carlos has now attended Danish classes in IA Sprog’s metro team for about ten months. He is really happy about it, and he credits the language course for the fact that he can speak and understand some Danish today.

“I would not be able to learn Danish without the help of the language school. Without the teachers, I would not be able to speak any Danish at all. In the beginning it was very difficult to learn a new language, but now it’s a bit better. You get there little by little.” 

Temporary unemployment with extra time

Since it is difficult for Carlos to get to use Danish at work, he seeks out other possibilities:

“I try in the supermarket, I talk to the staff in Danish, if there is something I can’t find.”

At one point, as is usual in the construction industry, Carlos was temporarily unemployed. The extra time he suddenly had on his hands meant that he could dedicate himself even more to learning Danish. He even took on talking to the unemployment insurance fund in Danish about unemployment benefits.

“It was more along the lines of “Hvordan går det?”, but I tried!” Carlos adds, grinning.

The future for Carlos and his family

Carlos likes working in Denmark, and he appreciates the Danish labor conditions. Combined with the fact that he is happy with his language courses, he is very motivated to learn more:

“I would like to stay here in Denmark and work and learn more Danish. I would like to learn much more about the Danish culture and society. It’s good to learn something about how things are in Denmark. “ 

As many other metro workers, he has a wife and kids at home. His wife and their four children, aged 3 to 18, live in Portugal.

“And of course I would like to have my family here, that could be great”, he concludes.

Read more about Danish classes for foreign workers at Metro here: Colleagues and classmates
Watch a Facebook movie with teacher and student changing roles:

WHEN THE TEACHER IS THE STUDENT: The teacher Julie learning Portuguese from Ricardo. She is working hard! :)
WHEN THE TEACHER IS THE STUDENT: The teacher Julie learning Portuguese from student Ricardo. She is working hard! 🙂