I started off my third week in Denmark by having a relaxing weekend after my hectic study tour week. The highlight was going to Amager Strandpark, which is a beach close to Copenhagen. I sat on the sand and did some readings for my class after swimming with my friends!
Speaking of my class, which is Children in a Multicultural Context, it ended this week! Adjusting to such a short class, which was three weeks vs the usual 11 weeks, was actually easier than I thought it would be. Much of our grade was based on our active participation in our academic visits. I learned a lot through visiting these places in person, asking questions, and discussing with my classmates and professor. I realized how much knowledge I can gain through experiential learning in such a short timespan. I didn’t need to sit in a lecture for several hours about a topic, because I got to experience it in real life.
One of my biggest takeaways from this class is how resilient children who come from different cultural backgrounds into a homogenous culture are. Children who migrate or immigrate to Denmark face many challenges on top of relocating. They’re usually placed into an M class, which is a class for learning Danish as a second language. They then spend about a year in this class before they learn the basic language skills needed to go to a regular school class. This transition can be hard not only because they’re speaking a new language but also they’re going into a classroom where the same students and teachers could have been together for several years. In Denmark, teachers could stay with the same group of children for all ten years of primary school! It can also be hard because a large part of being successful in Danish education depends on having strong friendships and good relationships with the teacher, so it takes a lot of resilience to handle coming in as an outsider. I am looking forward to learning more about childhood in Denmark in my next class, which is called Nordic Education and Parenting.
On Saturday, Denmark played a Euro Cup game against Czech Republic. I decided to go find somewhere in the city to watch it with my friend Rachel. The last time there was a game I tried to find a restaurant or a pub that was showing it, but every place in Copenhagen was packed! It turns out that if you want to find somewhere with room, you have to start super early because most places fill up several hours before the game.
Rachel and I started walking around downtown Copenhagen at 1pm, and we found one tiny corner of a table at a pub called The Dubliner (all the other tables were full)! It sounds crazy, but we did end up staying there and waiting for five hours so we could watch the game. We ate lunch, chatted and just hung around. And of course, we clapped along to the chants the Danes were yelling about the game, which happened literally every 5 minutes.
Eventually game time rolled around and it was PACKED. People had come in to stand and watch, and they were shoulder to shoulder like sardines. Everyone was decked out in red and white, sometimes people’s whole faces were painted. It was amazing to experience being in a place where people are so passionate about sports. I have seen glimpses of this in the US in college towns and on super bowl sunday, but this felt like more of a nationwide excitement where every single person was wearing Danish colors and watching the game. As I walked down the street in Østerbro, the burrow I live in, people hung their Danish flags out their windows and were yelling out into the street about the game! As someone who isn’t really interested in sports, I had a great time being a part of all the excitement and cheering for Denmark!