Diana and Gitte

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Photo: Suste Bonnén

For Diana from Russia, succesful communication in Danish with another professional, Gitte, was essential to her confidence in speaking the language.

Not everyone wants a mentor relationship that will develop into a long-term friendship. Some mentees’ expectations are for a purely work- and language-related match, just as there are mentors who wish to contribute highly concrete professional support.

Diana was 32 years old when she came to Denmark from Russia in 2005. In Russia she worked as a specialist in information systems and economics. She wanted a mentor relationship that would give her some language training and professional coaching. She also needed a job, of course.

She was matched with Gitte, who comes from North Jutland, but has lived and worked most of her life in Copenhagen.

Gitte worked as a manager for a large company specialising in telecommunications. As a mentor she felt she could offer professional support and open communication on a more general level. She wanted to help someone find a job, and to provide support and understanding in her transition to a new country and culture.

Time was a key issue for Gitte. Her spare time was limited and she felt it should be used constructively. She would make time in her busy schedule for a mentee. It was therefore important for her that the mentee should be committed, ambitious and have concrete goals.

Five months after their first meeting, Diana found a job.

The key for Diana was the language sparring. Her regular meetings with Gitte provided a unique opportunity to train her Danish. It was also very encouraging that Gitte could understand her Danish.

According to Diana, it really means a lot when Danish professionals demonstrate a ready willingness to communicate with those in the process of learning a difficult language like Danish: confidence grows much quicker.

The mentoring process had a major impact for Diana, as she got a job after just 18 months of living in Denmark. She had met someone who helped her with the thing she most lacked – self confidence when using a new language. She knew she had the talent to succeed. She just needed help learning a difficult language.

Gitte listened, understood and kept Diana focused. Gitte had been the sparring partner she had offered to be. She was happy that her path had crossed Diana’s for a while, but after five months she was ready to move on. Their project had succeeded.

Today Gitte and Diana lead their separate lives. They had taken the opportunity to spend some efficient time together in a brief but constructive mentoring process, one which took the necessary steps forward along a very specific path. Short and good. When the mentoring process is defined and focused.

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