Danish interns finding Dunedin a gas

Danish engineering students Peder Skovlunden-Pedersen, Tim Riis Tolman, Dan Skov Rasmussen and...
Danish engineering students Peder Skovlunden-Pedersen, Tim Riis Tolman, Dan Skov Rasmussen and Tobias Rosten are spending six months working at Dunedin company Escea. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
When four Danish engineering students were looking for somewhere to complete a six-month internship, they chose Dunedin.

Peder Skovlunden-Pedersen (29), from the University of Southern Denmark, and Tim Riis Tolman (23), Dan Skov Rasmussen (28) and Tobias Rosten (25) from Aarhus University, are the latest international interns to work at gas-fire manufacturing company Escea.

As part of the Danish engineering curriculum, students had to do a six-month stint ''working somewhere'' and two students first arrived at Escea about five years ago, brand manager Mark Cowden said.

They had been coming ever since, with an intake now every six months, averaging about four students in each group.

Mostly they were from Denmark, although there had been a couple from Spain and one from Lithuania.

A house and car were provided and Mr Cowden laughed that the car got an ''absolute hammering'', as the students enjoyed travelling around and seeing the sights.

One former intern was understood to be back living in Dunedin, while others had ''blown back through'', he said.

The company did not struggle for applications and the advantage for Escea from the programme was that it got bright young workers with good skills and a different view.

''And it just stops us being too inwards looking and New Zealand focused and Dunedin focused. We are a global company in our outlook,'' he said.

The students worked on whatever engineering projects were on at the time, whether that was helping with new product development, making new tools for the factory or helping with factory design.

The latest quartet, who finish at Escea on July 1, were enjoying both their time at Escea and exploring the wider countryside.

Mr Rosten applied because he was keen to do ''something different'' to taking an internship in Denmark and wanted to ''see some more of the world''.

''Denmark is nice but you can always broaden your horizons,'' he said.

It was his second trip to New Zealand - he came here with his parents when he was about 6 - while the other three are all on their first trip.

Mr Riis Tolman had grown to really like Dunedin, enjoying the easy access to the city centre, the beach for surfing -''we don't have these waves back in Denmark'' - and the surrounding hills for running.

But the best part was the people he had met.

''They are so friendly down here compared to Denmark,'' he said.

While the group acknowledged the first couple of weeks proved a little bit tricky as they got to grips with technical terms in the factory, language was otherwise no barrier.


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