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Lifestyle ReDesign: From Student to UX Designer

This morning I’m chatting to Merete Grotkjaer, 23,  from Denmark. We sat down over lunch in the comfy couch area at Huckletree, beneath their now infamous and highly Instagramable “Stay Curious” neon sign. Merete and have sat near each other quite a few times. She’s an incredibly happy, intelligent and super interesting lady to chat to, so I was really excited when she agreed to sit down with me

What are you up to right now?

I am actually interning, right here in London with a company called GroHappy.  I’m from Denmark, writing my bachelor degree in digital concept development, and it’s the first time that I’ve chosen to live and work abroad in a new culture. I came with my best friend Daniel, he’s on the same course, so I’m not alone.

We really wanted to come to London, as that was our goal for our internship. We sent out over 30 applications for internships, detailing what we could offer. Our course is actually really interesting and in such a forward-thinking location such as London, we thought that we’d find something.  We sadly got no responses. Luckily, one of our friends in our study group ended up telling us that she had a cousin in London that had a company, so we ended up chatting and emailing, realised that it was a good fit and the rest is history.

What’s your favourite place to work?

I work best in places that are busy, but not noisy. I like working in public libraries in Denmark. I like the feeling like I have company. It pushes me to work harder, somehow.

Would you say you are a digital nomad? Could you work from anywhere?

I would say yes, as long as I have my computer and power, I can work anywhere.  I like working in public spaces and parks, away from the traditional desk set up.  If I have paper and pen, and a laptop I can work wherever I want. I’ve never heard the word, digital nomad. I like the word nomad. The Digital bit has more negative connotations for me because it implies that you have to be fully hooked up all the time. That’s something I try not to do, as I know it’s not healthy.

Today we meet at Huckletree, what do you really like about this space?

What I like about Huckletree is that you have the option to talk or not to talk with people. They are all working really hard on their own and different things, but you can still connect with them.  Connection is really important. The sense that other people are working too, is an inspiration to me. Quiet spaces freak me out, it’s like the opposite of claustrophobia.

What are your favourite gadgets that you are using right now?

I don’t have many gadgets with me. I have a phone and a mac-book. We have just essentials, as we are travelling really light. The handiest thing I have is this ring thing on the back of my phone.  I also use it as a Fidget Spinner, lol

Where do you like shopping for them?

Usually my friends and family buy them for me as gifts. My phone and computer I bought from an online store. I like ELGiganten  and PC World.  Usually I ask my Dad, as he’s good at this stuff.

How do you get inspired?

I get inspired by friends, family and co-workers. It’s people that I’ve met in real life that really inspire me. I use social media a lot. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, but I only follow and interact with people I’ve really met. I’m not interested in following celebs.

I love workshops, events. I like people who have the courage to stand on stage, and give their real story. I believe that humour is really important for learning and development. Danish people love sarcasm and irony, but it takes a while to get to know us. We are becoming more open though, as the generations progress.

We have a set of rules in Denmark. It’s called the Law of Jante, it’s a set of norms of how you should behave. i,e you are not better than anyone else, you are not allowed to point out what other people are doing wrong, you are not allowed to look down on other people.

What’s the one big event in your life that really changed you for the better?

London, where I am now is the biggest one for me. It felt like a really big leap of faith coming here. The only way I managed to do it was with my friend. I still can’t believe I’m here. It’s nice to start from fresh and be who you want to be.  It’s amazing to work with such a great company and a great team and be appreciated. I’ve loved every minute of it.

How do you stop yourself getting burnout?

Generally by reading. I really need to feel i’m escaping. Listening to podcasts is a big one as it’s nice to hear someone else speak, and not listen to my own thoughts. Sometimes I also write novels to myself in my head. It’s about getting into a parallel universe and away from my thoughts of the day. It works really well for me.

What city gives you energy? And why?

Of course, London. I’ve travelled all over Europe, but I really like Rome and Paris. I think it’s the cultural vibe. I love the artwork, style and personality. I feel like French and Italians have personality. My experience when my two best friends and I travelled around Europe, was that they were incredibly open and welcoming, so those two cities energize me.

What’s your ultimate holiday?

Cultural, sightseeing, paintings architecture, history. It’s also really important that I can communicate and meet the locals. Pools and beach are nice, but I feel like I want to come back having learnt or experienced something new. I love to be able to share and talk about my experiences.

What travel tips would you give me?

Don’t be afraid to communicate. The best experiences you get are when you get out of your comfort zone and really talk to people, and don’t plan so much. I like to just plan a max of 3 hours a day.  just learn to explore.

Feel free to follow me on Instagram – pitchypicture

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