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