The first full week of classes has come and gone rather quickly and after a week of getting lost and having my eyes glued to the map apps on my phone, I was able to successfully navigate through the streets of Copenhagen. If you haven’t had a chance to read my prior blog, I mentioned the courses I will be taking this semester. To reiterate, I’m taking the Sustainable Food: Production and Consumption core course, along with the elective courses, Curating in Europe, Danish Language Intermediate level, Nordic Mythology, and Hans Christian Andersen & The Danish Golden Age. A lot of my courses this semester are literature-based simply for the reason that I really love to write and these course subjects were all things I’ve been interested in studying for some time.
Some of the challenges I will face this semester will be more academic rather than immersing myself into the culture here. I’ve been very lucky to have visited Denmark quite a few times prior to this semester so the normal “culture shocks” your normal American would experience has become a thing in the past for me. My challenges lie with the ability to surpass the hurdle I’ve been faced when it comes to progressing in the Danish language. For the past two years I’ve been taking classes outside of school in order to work my way towards fluency. If you google what languages are hard to learn, Danish will find its way somewhere on that list. Sometimes I feel discouraged whenever I go over homework or try pronouncing some new words to add to my vocabulary, but I keep telling myself that it’ll all be worth it in the end. So what exactly am I doing in order to clear this language hurdle?
3 things come to mind:
One: I’ve signed up for DIS’ visiting host program where you are assigned a local family that you set up times to get together with. This opportunity gives you and the family to exchange culture knowledge as well as explore the many places that Denmark has to offer.
Two: Make friends with the locals. Currently, I am living in a residential community where there is a mix of international, Danish, and DIS students living together. This leaves opportunities to mingle and get to know new people. Apart from my housing, over the summer I made a Danish friend through a pen pal website. Him and I get together in person and through voice calls where I’m able to practice my Danish skills.
Third: By challenging myself. This semester I forced myself to work up the courage to test into and take a higher level Danish level course than what I am usually enrolled in back at home. The strict and work-heavy course will keep me working continuously on my skills.
Aside from the challenges, I’ve been really enjoying the fun learning environment I’ve been brought into. All my teachers are very passionate about what they teach and this translates into the course-work that we participate in. I’m finding my courses to be really engaging, which back at home can always be 50/50 at times. Just this past week I had my first field study at the National Museum of Denmark. This field study was for my Nordic Mythology class and at the museum we had a guided tour by our teacher through the Danish Prehistory exhibit. This experience is nothing I have ever experienced back at my home university and I can confidently say I look forward to future Field Studies. (I’ll make sure to attach some of the photos from this past week’s field study!) Overall, I’m looking forward to getting to know my teachers and classmates in the coming weeks!