New Danish Chamber trainee in Bangkok

Janus Kortsen is a 24 year old suburban Copenhagen-kid with a quick remark and a teasing smile. Early August he arrived Bangkok to take over the job as post graduate trainee at the combined secretariat of the three Scandinavian chambers of commerce in Thailand. As soon as the formalities with the authorities are in place, he will suceed his Norwegian predecessor, Terje Gilleshammer, who left for Norway earlier this year.
      Janus’ home town is Allerød some twenty minutes by subway North of Copenhagen in what is often referred to as the “Whisky Belt” in Denmark because of its generally upper middleclass population. Here, Janus grew up under the contrasting impressions of his technocratic father, who works in the upper echelons of the Danish electric power company NESA and his “more of a hippie type”-mother, who among others has established an alternative kindergarten in Birkerød.
      In 1999, Janus Kortsen graduated from Allerød Gymnasium. Immediately afterwards he took one year off to travel around the world, taking first the Trans Siberian Railway through Russia to Mongolia and from there onwards to China where he stayed for several months. Finally he moved on Southwards, visiting on the way of course Thailand, and from there on across the Pacific Ocean, through the USA, back to Denmark.
      In 2000, he started studying economy and modern languages in Copenhagen and this summer he graduated with a Bachelor degree. Applying for the trainee job in Bangkok was on the recommendation of his friend Niels Lauritzen – the first trainee at the Chambers’ office.
      When asked, what he will be working with during his internship, he laughs and says cautiously: “I’ll just quote my predecessor: I’m here to learn!”
      But his formal title will be Project Coordinator, and among the projects he will be undertaking are selling of banners for the websites of the chambers, visiting members to identify what the chambers might do for them and promote the chambers in general towards new potential members. Internally, he will be recording secretary at all the board meetings as well as for some of the subcommitees of the three boards.
      That should keep him busy during working hours.
      Off duty, he has already had time to visit Koh Samet. Sharing an apartment owned by Swedish businesman Claes Ostrom with three other international young people, he will no doubt also have his share of the fun of Bangkok’s wild life.
      ”No, I don’t have a girlfriend back in Denmark,” he answers to the unavoidable question.
      The last few weeks before his term expires next summer, he will most likely wake up to the nightmare, that as a precondition for being publicly funded during his internship in Bangkok, he has to produce two reports: One on a linguistic-cultural subject and the other on business economics topic.
      So far he has indirectly started on the first, enrolling himself already during his second week in the Big Mango in a Thai course for foreigners.
      ”I have been memorizing how to count to hundred in Thai all night,” he laughs.
      ”Do you want to hear me count to hundred..?”

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