Emily Benson

Denmark

Hometown: Saint Johns, Florida
School: Creekside High School
Sponsor District : District 6970
Sponsor Club: Bartram Trail, Florida
Host District: 1470
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Skovshoved

 

My Bio


Hej, jeg hedder Emily Benson, and I am thrilled to be spending my junior year in Denmark! Three years ago, I moved from Chicago, Illinois to St. Johns, Florida. I live with my Mom, Dad, two younger brothers and my guinea pig, Riggly. After living in Chicago’s cold climate for so long, I have gladly welcomed the sunshine and sandy beaches of Florida. I attend Creekside High School where I am on the cheerleading team, and a member of many clubs including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Business Leaders of America, National English Honor Society and Best Buddies. In my spare time, I enjoy helping with the youth programs at my church, spending time with friends, reading, and listening to music. Last summer, I had the privilege of going on a mission trip to Costa Rica. I loved being able to learn about the rich culture and way of life there. This fueled my desire to explore the customs, traditions, and languages of other countries. While studying abroad with Rotary Youth Exchange, I hope to gain long lasting friendships, valuable language skills, and memories that I will never forget. I cannot wait to immerse myself in Danish culture and I look forward to experiencing all that Denmark has to offer. Indtil næste gang, until next time!

At Louisiana, an amazing contemporary art musuem

At Louisiana, an amazing contemporary art musuem

Sunset in Hellerup

Sunset in Hellerup

A beautiful marina in Hornbæk, about 30 from where I live

A beautiful marina in Hornbæk, about 30 from where I live

Nyhavn, Copenhagen with my friend Gandhali, from India

Nyhavn, Copenhagen with my friend Gandhali, from India

The Danish Falls, from my trip to Sweden

The Danish Falls, from my trip to Sweden

View of Copenhagen from the top of a church

View of Copenhagen from the top of a church

Nyhavn, Copenhagen with my friend Gandhali, from India

Nyhavn, Copenhagen with my friend Gandhali, from India

The ARoS art museum in Aarhus

The ARoS art museum in Aarhus

On the ferris wheel at Tivoli

On the ferris wheel at Tivoli

The first snow of the year

The first snow of the year

Our Christmas tree

Our Christmas tree

With the girls from my class at Galla

With the girls from my class at Galla

Outside the Colosseum in Rome.

Outside the Colosseum in Rome.

Journal: Emily - Denmark 21015-2016

  • Emily, outbound to Denmark

    As crazy as it is to think, I am almost halfway through my exchange. Before coming to Denmark, I couldn’t conceptualize what my life here would be like, who my friends and family would be, or the things I’d get to experience. I’ve come to realize that life here is exactly that; life. I have a family I love, amazing friends, a country I feel like I’m a part of, a school I don’t want to have to leave, and a language that sometimes comes to mind before my own.

    With a three-month gap between my first blog and this one, a lot has obviously happened. In October I was off from school for a few weeks. During that time, I went on a 10-day trip to Rome, Florence, and Siena, Italy with my first host family. It was an absolutely amazing trip and I am so grateful for the experience! I also went to Galla at my school, which is similar to the American prom. It was a great night with my friends and I am so happy to have gone. In November I celebrated Thanksgiving at a Rotary event and in December I switched to my second host family and went to a Lukas Graham (a really popular Danish singer) concert. I am now living in Skodsborg, Denmark with my host mom (Christina), dad (Claus), brother (Nicolai-11), and sister (Anna-7). I am enjoying living here and they have truly made me feel at home!

    In Denmark, Christmas is pretty much a month long celebration. Leading up to Christmas, I attended Christmas dinners, went into the forest to cut down our tree, listened to plenty of festive music, and even made traditional Danish ornaments. A few unique things about Danish Christmas are the annual Christmas show on Danish television, the advent calendar, and that it is celebrated on the 24th. In December there is a Christmas-themed TV-series and every day there is a new episode. My younger siblings love it and looked forward to seeing it every day. Also, while we usually just have chocolate advent calendars in the U.S., in Denmark we receive a gift every day before Christmas. For Christmas Eve, one of my host mom’s sisters and her family came over. We ate duck and flæskesteg for dinner and afterwards danced around the Christmas tree (which held lit candles) while singing Christmas songs. We then sat and opened presents. The days following Christmas Eve are called the first Christmas day, the second Christmas day, and so on. On each of those days we ate a big dinner with family. My family held a New Year’s party as well that was full of great food and fireworks. There were over 30 people here and it was a blast!

    Winter in Denmark means that there is 7 hours of sun a day and very, very cold weather, so it is definitely something to get used to coming from Florida. However, by dressing in many layers and keeping busy with friends, winter is flying by.

    Language update! I can’t believe how far my Danish has come in the past couple of months. At this point, I can express myself and can understand the majority. I have been using duolingo and watching Danish television series to learn as many new phrases and words as I can! I am excited to see where my Danish is at the end of this year.
    Christmas break is now over, too, and I am happy to be back with my friends. School is becoming more interesting now that I can understand and am starting to participate more.

    Overall, I am so happy here in Denmark and do not regret my decision to do an exchange one bit. I cannot imagine having to leave in just 5 months.

    To see my homepage click HERE


  • Emily, outbound to Denmark

    Hej alle sammen! I have now been in Denmark for nearly 2 months, and so much has happened. It is a lot to cover, but I will do my best!

    I arrived in Copenhagen on August 8th and was met by my host mom (Lone), brother (Simon-16), sister (Sarah-12) and my counselor (Jannik). They were all so welcoming and made me feel completely at home. I currently live in a townhome in Gentofte, which is about 10 minutes from school, 15 minutes from the center of Copenhagen, and 10 minutes from the coast. I am absolutely loving how accessible everything is and I usually get around by bike or train.

    I did not start school until a week after I got here, so my first week was spent with a group of eight exchange students in my area. Each day a Rotarian took us somewhere, usually in Copenhagen. We saw churches, museums and big tourist attractions in the city. This was a great experience to get to know the area and each other. After my first week, I also said goodbye to my host brother, Simon, as he went off for his exchange in Paraguay.

    I attend the first year at Øregård Gymnasium, where the school year is started off with intro week. This is where all first years spend the week playing games and having fun, with our class as our team. The Thursday and Friday were spent on a cabin trip on the southwest coast of Zealand. We bonded and had an amazing time. Intro week finished with a huge party at the school.

    At school, I am in a course line called “Global Studies”. I am with the same class for almost all of my classes, which is great because I’ve gotten to know them really well. Age-wise, Danish gymnasium is comparable to American high school. You go for 3 years, usually starting when you are 16 and ending when you are 19. The ages can vary a lot, however, because many students take a year off before starting gymnasium to do an exchange or attend efterskole (“afterschool”).

    My third week in Denmark, all of the Inbounds gathered for our intro camp in a small town in Jutland. During the day, we studied Danish, and at night we hung out and did organized activities, with the exception of one day spent in Aarhus. Overall, it was a great week where I got to meet amazing friends!

    Once back from intro camp, I began my first regular school week and started to get into a regular routine. I love what my life here has become, from going to cafes with friends to walking around in the city, and I know that this will be a year I never forget. With that said, I want to thank Rotary for everything they’ve done so that I could be here, having the time of my life!

    Okay, so below I am just going to list some observations/differences/random facts:
    -Danish is hard, but I’m forcing myself to speak less and less English, so it’s getting there. I also have Danish lessons twice a week with other inbounds
    -EVERYONE speaks fluent English
    -Teenagers don’t wear color (not an exaggeration)
    -Teachers are called by their first name and the student-teacher relationship is super casual
    -Danes swear A LOT
    -All school work is done and submitted electronically on a website called Lectio that also has your schedule, homework, messaging, and grades
    -In school, you are with the same class the whole day, but have different teachers and go to different classrooms
    -There are no substitute teachers, so class is canceled all the time
    -The schools have an “open campus” so you come and go as you please
    -Teens are much more independent
    -Potatoes are a dinner time staple
    -Danes love licorice (even though it’s horrible)
    -Sweden is super easy to get to (I went on a weekend trip there and had a blast!)
    -Danes are really friendly
    -There’s free wifi on all the trains

    Vi ses!
    -Emily

    To see my home page and some photos click HERE


RSS Feed