From Brabrand to Canada with JYSK
Author: Anders Græsbøll Buch, Communications Consultant, JYSK
If you would like an international experience, it is not impossible within the JYSK organisation. Kristina Sørensen moved from a position at the Head Office in Denmark to Head Office in Canada. Her advice is to speak up, if you dream about an international adventure.
When Kristina Sørensen moved away from home for the first time, she moved around three kilometres away, but stayed in the city of Randers, where she grew up. Her next move? 7,483 kilometres to the other side of the globe to Vancouver, Canada. The 27 year old was hired for a position as Buying and Marketing Coordinator at the JYSK Franchise office in Canada.
It all happened in January 2020, when Kristina after years of trying finally got her visa to work and stay in Canada after five years working in different positions at the Head Office in Brabrand. She still remembers the day.
”I get tears in my eyes thinking about it. It was such a long and tough battle, so when I drove home from work with a signed contract and visa, it was a mix of crying and laughing. I drove directly to my mum’s and we opened a bottle of champagne,” says Kristina Sørensen.
Canada was choice number one
Ever since Kristina graduated from high school, she has dreamt of living and working abroad. By working in JYSK, she finally saw a chance to make that dream come true. Looking at the map of JYSK Franchise countries, Canada was the top destination for Kristina.
“Despite my urge to travel I still wanted the comfort of being able to speak the language, and I only speak English and very little German. It was important for me to be able to integrate in the local community and get a network. And then Canada is of course amazingly beautiful and has a lot to experience,” says Kristina.
However, as a foreigner it is very difficult to get a visa in Canada. The two main options are either that you have a university degree or that it is impossible for a Canadian firm to find an equally skilled Canadian.
Kristina did not meet any of those criteria, so there was only the option left to apply for a very limited number of one-year permits often used by travelers or people working in ski areas. After years of trying, it finally became reality in 2020.
Hiking to mountain tops
In Vancouver, Kristina works at the Canadian Head Office, where she helps secure that the stores have enough goods. And in her spare time and weekends, she has time to travel and experience beautiful Canada.
Two of her new local friends in Vancouver are very interested in nature and hiking, so it is not unusual that on a Saturday morning Kristina finds herself on a mountain top 1,200 metres above sea level.
She is living her dream and even her grandfather at the age of 77 has learned how to use Instagram, so he is able to see the pictures that Kristina is posting.
The whole adventure would not have been possible, if Kristina did not do a lot of the work herself. Her advice for colleagues, who also dreams of an international adventure, is to research thoroughly what it would take, how difficult getting a work permit is and how the culture is, and then talk with your manager about it.
“If you only walk around with it yourself, no one can help you. If you have a dream that is not possible, you will at least get to know that it is not possible. Sometimes it is also a matter of the right timing, but just because it has never happened before, it doesn’t necessarily mean that somebody said no,” says Kristina.