Hej! I have been living in Denmark for one month and I can already tell that this exchange is going to be everything I hoped it would be and more. I can't believe how fast the time has gone by. The things I have experienced and felt during these last few weeks cannot even be put into words. I have learned and experienced so much in just this short period of time and can't wait to see what is in store for me for the next 10 months.
The plane ride to Denmark went very smoothly. I didn't have any delays or get lost (thank goodness!) because it was my first time traveling alone. I arrived in Billund the morning of August 9th. My host family greeted me with welcome signs with the Danish flag on them. I live with my host mom, dad, and 3 brothers. We left the airport and went home and had our first lunch together on the terrace. We laughed as I tried a new combination of foods- really dark dense bread with moldy cheese on it (which was on purpose!), meat, eggs, tomatoes, and potatoes. It was actually really good! The next day I started school. I have 4 other exchange students that are in the same class as me. They are from Chile, Brazil, California, and Columbia. They are my best friends in Denmark and we have already become so close.
I am lucky to live in the city of Odense which is the third largest city in Denmark. It is a small island and is so beautiful. The driving age in Denmark is 18 so students ride their bikes to school and when going out with friends. I can bike from my house to the center of the city in about 5 minutes. Everyone is so nice here, especially in my class at school. I go to a business school and some of the classes I take are English, Economics, and Marketing.
School in Denmark isn't at all like school in the United States. A typical school day starts at 8:15 and ends at 1:30 some days and at 3:15 other days. We stay in the same classroom all day and the teacher will switch depending on the subject. This is great because it is easy to get to know the other students in your class and I am already really close with my classmates. There is so much more freedom at school in Denmark, we have breaks during the school day and can go outside and hang out or ride our bikes around the city but at the same time the students really care about learning and getting an education. I am part of the international class at my school so half of my classes are in English and the other half are in Danish. I'm actually really enjoying school so far and have already learned a lot of words, phrases, and sentences in Danish and I hope to be fluent soon. The language itself hasn’t been that hard to learn but it is very hard to pronounce the words.
I’ve had so many great experiences already in my short time here. The first weekend I was here my host family took me to Copenhagen which is the largest city in Denmark. Copenhagen is about an hour and a half from Odense. We went on a boat tour and walked around the city. I had seen pictures of the city, sailboats, and colorful buildings before my exchange but seeing it in person was unbelievable.
During my second week here my class had a "team track" day where we bonded and did activities all day. That night we had a sleepover at school with my classmates which was crazy because that is not something we would do in high school in the U.S. The next day we had the day off and then had a school dance which was so much fun.
Other great experiences I’ve had while in Denmark have been going to a paddle ball tournament and festival with my host family. I went to an amazing outdoor concert with friends and toured the city with friends during the Odense flower festival. The city was decorated with flowers and it was so beautiful. Other days I have gone to dinner with friends or just hang out with my friends and family. I have also started taking a tumbling class once a week.
During my third week, I went to intro camp with over 150 exchange students from around the world who are living in Denmark this year. We participated in Danish classes 6 hours a day which was tiring but good because it really helped me learn more of the Danish language. After our lessons we had so many fun activities to do at night- a concert, rock climbing walls, a dance, and much more. During intro camp it was my 17th birthday and I can honestly say I wouldn't have wanted to spend it any other way. That day we didn't have Danish lessons and we went to Aarhus. I got to spend the day in the city with my best friends in Denmark and we went on a tour of one of the biggest museums in Europe which was amazing.
People in Denmark eat very healthy compared to what I'm used too but it is so good and my host mom and dad are amazing cooks. We eat all of our meals together as a family and in Denmark families hardly ever go out for meals because of the cost. For breakfast on a normal day we have cereal, for lunch we have rye bread with meat and cheese, and for dinner some type of meat with potatoes and vegetables. The weather is already getting cold compared to what I'm used to. It's around 45 degrees Fahrenheit on a normal day.
Life so far in Denmark is amazing! Luckily I still have 10 more months here in Denmark. My adventure is just getting started. Thank you Rotary for this amazing opportunity!
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