Youth Goodwill Ambassadors in Focus: Dawid Augustyn

From a student working on a semester project with Rambøll, to getting hired as an engineer/ consultant with the company - this week's featured YGA alumnus is Dawid Augustyn from Aalborg University

Why Denmark? 

I was looking for an opportunity to study abroad and Denmark seemed the most reasonable choice, because there are offered a number of high quality university programmes in my area of interest, i.e. structural engineering.

Moreover, my father works for a Danish company, which operates in Poland, so I already had a basic understanding of the Danish culture and corporate style. For these reasons, I have  chosen that small Scandinavian country as my home for a quite some time. 

How did you come to hear about the YGA and why did you decide to join?

We were introduced to the YGA during the introductory week at the university. A former ambassador shared his experience about the time, when he was involved in the programme. In Poland I was also engaged in similar programmes, therefore I decided to give it a try in Denmark as well. Not only to have fun, which is the natural part of being YGA, but also in order to do some networking, which is a crucial element for a career development.

What does being a YGA mean to you?

The main purpose of the programme is to attract and retain international talents in Denmark. Due to the fact that the mission is rather general, everyone can interpret it in a different way. My idea was to spread my experience about studying/living in Denmark to my friends. For instance last year together with Aalborg University, we organized an event at my alma mater, i.e. Cracow University of Technology in Poland. There, I met with students, who are interested in studying abroad and told them about my personal experiences and how I ended up studying in Denmark.

What was the most interesting experience as a YGA?

It was very nice to be at the two conferences organized by Copenhagen Capacity. I didn’t expect it to be so professional on the one hand, and on the other hand having so much fun! I still stay in contact with the people that I met during these events. I also made a lot of contacts with companies that were present. 

Moreover, I had a unique opportunity to share my experience as a YGA with HRH Prince Joachim, which does not happen everyday. I would also say that the event that I organized in Poland was very exciting because I was back in my home country for a reason other than visiting my friends and family. Instead, I was there to promote Denmark, which gave me another perspective. 

What was the most valuable thing you have gained as a YGA?
Definitely networking- both professional, but also social. Meeting all these valuable people was very inspiring, it helped me to aim higher and be more self-confident about the plans I have made.

How was your journey from education to employment like? 

Meticulously planned and efficiently implemented (laugh). On a more serious note, it was a combination of working smart, not hard and meeting the right people. I was aware that without an excessive network in Denmark I have to get involved in as many professional-related projects as possible to get closer to the industry. 

During my second semester at the university we had an opportunity to work with Rambøll on our semester project. Our supervisor was a part-time professor, who was also a chief consultant in Rambøll. The project was a success and when it finished I asked if there would be a possibility for an internship at the company. It turned out that we found an agreement and I spent the next semester there, working on a very interesting topic in the offshore wind industry. 

The project had a R&D potential, therefore, after a discussion between the university and the company we agreed on prolonging the work on the basis of my Master’s thesis. I defended the thesis, had my last student holidays and in September started working in Rambøll as a full-time engineer.

Tell us a little bit about your job right now and what your role in the company is.

I work within renewable energy sector, where we design foundations for offshore wind turbines. My every-day tasks involve structural calculations and development of new load design procedures. I also continue with the R&D work, where we want to implement some of the methods I suggested in my thesis in order to obtain more cost-efficient wind turbine design. At the end of the day we hope to contribute to the development of the more sustainable renewable energy industry.

What is it like working in Denmark?

I think it is fair to say that the Danish working culture is in a very high level. One can feel that the employee is the most important asset for the company, your skills and expertise matter and as an individual you can make a difference. The hierarchy is really flat, which makes it really easy to communicate and spread interesting ideas.

In my field for a purely professional purpose it is sufficient to speak only English. After one year working in the company I did not encountered not even one report/memo to be written not in English. It is due to the fact that projects involve many clients/consultants, who are from the outside of Denmark. However, one should also remember that Denmark has its own language, which is not English, therefore in more relaxed situations natives switch into Danish. Therefore, learning just the basics is crucial to follow the discussion and know what is happening around.  

Any insights or advice for the incoming YGAs that are looking to stay in Denmark for a career?
Get involved and ask questions. Grab the opportunity to meet new people, discuss with them and be challenged. There are so many brilliant people around, who are ready to help you, if only you are willing to learn and have the courage to ask. And remember, there are no stupid questions as long as you can learn from them.