Saturday, August 21, 2010

Danish Lessons

For the past week I have been attending a class in Svendborg, a town about 15 minutes away, for exchange students on the island of Fyn. There were 14 of us in the class; 4 from Turkey, 2 from Japan, one from Thailand, 3 from Italy, one from Finland, one from Latvia, and 2, including me, from the USA. The three other exchange students from my gymnasium were at the class as well, so we all took the train together to get to the class everyday.
I felt like I was in kindergarten all over again- learning the ABC's, how to count to 100, the names of the months and days of the week, and learning to say the time, all in Danish of course. The teacher only spoke to us in Danish (unless we were all really struggling) and she spoke very slowly and used many hand gestures to help us figure out what she was saying. It worked though! I can now say all of the previously mentioned, and several basic conversation pieces such as "How are you?" and "Can you please repeat that?" and "Can you please speak more slowly?". Very useful. The class continues every Monday from 8:30 to 12:30, for about another month or two. My host family said I am picking up on the language very quickly, which is good because several of my classmates at the gymnasium said they would give me two months to learn Danish, and then they wouldn't speak any english to me! Quite the challenge, but I accepted. They've got a countdown going already, so I'm studying away!
I attended my first Rotary meeting on Tuesday, and it was actually pretty exciting! My counselor, Arvid, picked me up from my house and took me to the meeting which was only about 5 minutes away. I was greeted by all of the Rotary members and they were all so excited that I could be there. We started out the meeting by singing a Danish song, just for fun, and then I introduced myself and told them where I was from (in Danish), and then we were served dinner. After dinner we had coffee and tea, and then the Rotary members talked about an upcoming fundraiser they were putting on. Afterwards they had a small break and several of the members were taking pictures with me and talking to me about the places they had traveled to, and that was about it! The meeting continued for another hour, but Arvid took me home because he said it would put me to sleep if I had to listen to it. He's great.
On Sunday I left for the for the Rotary Intro Camp for a week in a town in northern Denmark called Randers. I absolutely love it so far. All of the Rotary Exchange students who are in Denmark are at this camp, so there's 150 of us, and it's a blast! So many people form so many different places, and we all act like we've known each other forever. Here we have Danish lessons for 6 hours each day, but I'll get into more detail on the camp once it's finished. The language isn't too difficult yet, and it's more similar to English than I expected. Here are a few pictures from my first 3 weeks:

The bunkers on the western beaches, and the surfers.

My puppy, Mali. She came with us to the west coast.

The delicious fish dinner that Niels cooked up! One of the best meals I've ever had.



  1. Heidi,
    so good to hear the progress you are making in Danish. Our friend Ole, that you met just before leaving, always used to tell us that it is like speaking with a hot potato in your mouth. I could never figure it out.
    Rick Estenson

  2. Oh Heidi, what great experiences you are having; memories you are building; and friends you are making. I'm so very happy for you. Just don't change or grow up too fast this year. Love you. Garamela