I will say right off that bat that I’ve never felt more significant than I have while being here in Denmark. I’m the big shiny new toy ready to be shaped by this new culture. I feel like “I’m studying here from America,” is the most exciting thing. The next questions are normally, “what do you study?” and “how do you like it here?” I normally explain that I’m here from Chicago studying psychology and they’re always so interested in hearing about my work and research that I’m involved in at home. That being said, “I’m from America” is a good enough elevator pitch. That normally gathers enough attention to receive a well-engaged response.
However, I think a good pitch is just to be yourself. Danes are normally very reserved and probably wont be into much conversation unless youre having a night out. That being said, when you’re in the situation of conversating with a someone they honestly just appreciate that you’re being yourself and really just want to learn about you and what you think of the place where they probably have lived their whole lives. Imagine meeting someone from Denmark in your home town and imagine they’re experiencing your culture and country for the first time. You would have so much curiosity about what they think of it and that’s exactly how they feel.
After spending some time here I think the only necessary Danish that you must no is “tak.” This means “thank you.” Other than that, everyone I’ve met so far speaks and understands English very well from learning it in school and through the media. Almost all signs and menus are in English or have English translations and most of the Danish dishes are easy to look up to see what’s in them. The next question is one I found quite funny to answer and it was: what would you tell someone from Denmark who was planning to visit Chicago? And to this I say: You don’t have to pay for water. Yes, you really do have to tip. And no you probably shouldn’t drink the tap water.