I am currently on my third week in Copenhagen Denmark. So much has already happened I feel like I have been here for so long yet so short. This is my first time in Europe and I will say that the culture shock is present, but not how I had expected it to be. I am still in awe of the architecture and simply how beautiful and well designed all the buildings are in the city. I have already learned so much and will only continue to keep learning as my time goes on here. I am living with a homestay family in Ølystkke, which is about an hour commute via train into the city (where DIS, my school is). My host family situation has been great, they are all very nice and have made me feel instantly welcome. I have a host father, mother, and sister (who is the same age as me)!
Ølystkke is in a more rural location, but it is not too rural as there is a gym and plenty of stores within walking distance from the neighborhood I am in. It has been an adjustment taking public transportation. I have rarely used public transportation in the US and if I have it has been with my family or others, not by myself. The long commute makes the mornings early (which I am not used to). I wake up at 6 am to get to my first class at 8:30 am in the city. The other week I took the wrong bus and completely missed a class event. Besides a few blips, I have managed to get around just fine and have become much more comfortable with commuting now.
There have been cultural differences between Denmark and the US that I did not expect. Tipping for a service (restaurant, salon, etc.) is uncommon and is not expected as it is in the US. The Danish police are generally well regarded and there is not the controversy we have with police officers in the US. I have been told by my host family that there is not the police brutality here that there is in the US, and citizens respect the police and the police in return respect them. Yesterday, I attended the Danish handball celebration as they won the World Series the other night. The crowd was huge but everyone respected each others space and it was not rowdy. The police were there as well celebrating with the people and even took photos with some of the players! Hand ball is super popular in Denmark, I would compare it to footballs popularity in America. I enjoy to watch football and have shared the sport with other Danish people. My host father watches football at times, but my host sister’s friends do not and the other week I showed them a game that was on.
So far, my time here has been great and I have been adjusting well. There are cultural differences which I have had to adjust to, but I have been taking everything as an opportunity to learn and grow from this experience!