Tales from an American girl living in Denmark
Last year when I was studying in Copenhagen our class visited several interactive agencies and architecture groups to gain insight into Scandinavian design practices and organizational styles. It was a great way to understand the culture from beyond the pages of a text or from outside the window as a tourist might see things.
So this year when I decided to take a side trip to Belgium during my larger visit to Copenhagen I thought, “Why not visit a few small Belgian agencies and see what you can learn from what they do?” I did a search and started looking at work by groups within the cities I planned to go to, and I came across a handful of places that I wanted to learn more about.
A few weeks before I’d be in their city I woke up early to call and tried to explain who I was and why I wanted to visit. I could imagine the person on the other end of the call’s expression as we got past the “I’m sorry… you want to do what?” part of the conversation.
Despite the fact that I was a stranger making a strange request a few of the people I talked with said yes! Dependent upon business needs and schedule, of course. In the end I was able to visit two agencies in Antwerp, and I’m SO glad it worked out because they both have fantastic work, stories, and people. I came away with interesting ideas to think about and some insight into how work in my industry is approached in another country.
I’m one of those people who can’t go on vacation and sit at the beach or in the park or whatever people on vacation generally do. I try to enjoy it, but I find “relaxing” activities stressful.
Maybe it’s a symptom of the U.S. workaholic culture in which I was raised, or maybe I should go ahead and admit that even if I’d been born on a beach in the South of Europe I’d probably be just as swotty. I’m happiest when I’m on the move, learning, working on a project – anything but sitting still for too long!
To read about my visit to Flink, click here.
To read about my visit to Mr. Henry, click here.