Jordan, Outbound to Denmark

Hej Hej!!

It has been a hot minute since I have last submitted a journal…. Sorry mom and dad…

SO my last journal was about my first month here and everything that happened then. I thought that I wouldn’t be so busy after the first month, but if anything, life has just gotten busier. I will give a quick update of my months in Denmark since my last journal:

September: I got to go to Copenhagen for the first time with my host family, which was super cool because I was able to see all the famous “hot-spots” that are popular. I also got closer to all of my classmates, I am so lucky that all of my classmates are so sweet and that they talk to me. I began weekly Danish classes with all the exchange students in my city, this was super fun because I was able to meet new people that are with other organizations.

October: My birthday!! I got to celebrate my 18th birthday here in Denmark. I was woken up early in the morning by my host family singing the Danish birthday song to me, then at school my class sang to me another Danish birthday song, and then at Danish lessons there was ANOTHER song. It was such a fun day and truly a memorable birthday. There was also a get together for all of the exchange students in Holbæk. (about 1 hour west of Copenhagen) One of the nights there was a costume competition, and everyone dressed up. Because Halloween isn’t celebrated in Denmark, it was fun to have a bit of an American holiday representation.

November: Trip to Copenhagen again! This time I went to Copenhagen with Rotary and we got to go to Tivoli, which is a super cool amusement park. (It actually was one of the places that inspired Walt Disney to create Disney World) There is no Thanksgiving in Denmark, and so it was weird that there was no Thanksgiving decorations or celebrations, but I got to go to dinner with some of my American friends and eat a full Thanksgiving meal on the 22nd, so it actually turned out to be really nice and hygge. The days also really began to shorten in November. The sun rises at 8:30, and it is dark outside at 5 pm. At first it was weird that there was never light, but I began to get used to it, and now I just try and go outside as much as possible during the day so that I don’t start feeling depressed from lack of sunlight.

I had to move my host families at the beginning of December which was super sad because I had gotten so close with my host family and I felt that I would lose contact once I moved, but that was not the case at all. I still talk to my host sister all the time, and I go over probably once a week to eat or just to say hi. I also love my new host family, and they are so sweet.

December: December was probably one of my favorite months on exchange. I heard that it was common to get homesick and sad around the holidays, but instead, I was always so happy. I missed my family, but the traditions and memories that I was learning about here made me so excited and curious to learn more. Our Christmas celebration was on the 24th and my host family all danced around the Christmas tree singing classic Christmas songs and we ate some super good food. New Year’s was also a fun night, I went over to my friend Julia’s house and celebrated with her family. Fireworks are illegal in Denmark all year, except from Dec 31- Jan 2. After midnight on New Year’s Eve, there were fireworks going off for 2 hours straight without any pauses where I was, it was so crazy to experience because I had never seen or heard as many fireworks as there were.

My new year’s resolution is to speak only Danish to my classmates and host family. I can understand when Danes speak, but I am very self-conscious about how my Danish sounds so I don’t converse in Danish as much as I would like to. In the new year, I will try and speak Danish, even when I am not confident because the worst that can happen is that I have to repeat myself in English.

Something so cool about exchange is not only becoming a part of your host countries culture but also being able to experience small bits of so many different countries' cultures. I have become great friends with so many people from around the world, and especially my friends from South America. The bonds created among exchange students are unbreakable because you are all somewhat going through the same things. All of us left home for a year to come live in a different country, and because of this, we are all connected. Meeting new people is my favorite thing in the world to do, and exchange creates an atmosphere of endless friendships to be made.

I have now lived in Denmark for 5 months, and in just the small amount of time, I have created a new lifetime of memories. Recently I have been thinking a lot about how this year will eventually end. It sucks that I can’t live here with all my friends forever, but instead of thinking about what happens when I leave, I’m trying to live my life in the moment and have as much fun as possible. At one of the orientations last year we were told to never say no to anything. That really stuck with me because I don’t want to have regrets when I get back to Georgia. If I was asked to give advice to the future outbounds, I would definitely say to go into exchange with no expectations and say yes to everything possible. Make your own exchange. It is hard to not compare, but every exchange has the potential of being the best year of your life if you make it. Also learn your language. But I’m sure you will hear that millions of times haha.

Thank you for reading my jumbled mess of thoughts from these crazy months of my life. I truly am having the time of my life, and I want to thank Rotary for the best opportunity ever. Vi ses!! <3

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