Monthly Archives: October 2013
Second Month Impressions: What I’ve noticed in Denmark that’s different from the US
Hello, everyone! Yes, I’ve officially been here for almost two months now, and they’ve by far been the best months of my life. With this blog post, I’ll explain everything that I’ve neglected to say earlier, and I’ll give my two month impressions with everything that shocked me, and hopefully anything you’d want to know. I’ve decided to divide everything into categories, and it’ll all be in bulletpoint form so it isn’t too hard to read. Keep in mind that these are exaggerated for your enjoyment.
- Danish school is far more relaxed: You call your teachers by their first names.
- You are allowed to be on Facebook all day and not pay attention if you want to. (Well maybe they’re not allowed to, but they do it anyways)
- There are couches in every hallway, and even a Foosball table in the main room.
- There are crazy parties every month at the school.
- You bring you own laptop to school and use it in every class.
- Four classes everyday, but so many classes get cancelled that I’ve only had 3 or less in a day.
- Yes, that’s right, classes get cancelled all the time. —- Once I arrived in gym class and it was cancelled because the teacher was sick, and it was the happiest moment of my life. I got to leave school an hour and a half early, and I celebrated not having gym class by buying myself a delicious Danish pastry. (Probably not the healthiest choice, but definitely worth it)
- You generally stay in the same classroom, but the teachers move around.
- You stay with the same 30 kids for the whole school day, other than your creative class and language class.
- A school day is from 8:20-3:20, but more often than not, the day ends at 1:45.
- They shower together after gym class.
- You can brew beer in Science class. And take home 2 bottles.
- Danes always wait for traffic lights, even if there isn’t a car coming.
- Danish teens are generally shy at first until you get to know them, unless they’re drunk. You have to try to take the initiative and get to know them yourself.
- The country that has the highest population of drinking teenagers is Denmark.
- You can buy alcohol when you’re 16.
- Most Danes will start drinking at 13 or 14 years old.
- You can buy hard alcohol when you’re 18.
- You can’t drive until you’re 18.
- People use smiley faces in all of their texts to show their emotion. In America, when someone uses lots of smiley faces while texting, it means they probably want to go out with you….this explains why I thought every Dane was flirting with me at first… In reality, they were only letting me know that they weren’t angry at me.
- At a family gathering, you hug everyone you know and shake hands with everyone you don’t.
- Everyone has an iPhone. If you don’t have an iPhone 3, 4, 4S, 5, 5S, or 5C, you don’t have a phone.
- Everyone speaks perfect English. Sometimes, I think they’re better at it than I am. And they have a slight British accent, which makes it 10x cooler when they say anything.
- Even though Danish strangers are less friendly than in America, they’re all warm, kind people once you get to know them, (And they’re all even more nice when they’re drunk.)
- Danes have never heard of Root Beer Floats, and if they have tried them, they hate them.
- “Snacks” such as chips and crackers aren’t common, and candy such as Reese’s and Butterfingers just don’t exist in Denmark.
- BREAD. I have bread at every meal, and most Danes do. Rye bread is popular when making smørrebrød (Open faced Sandwiches) for lunch.
- Danes eat a lot more homemade food. My family has apple and plum trees, and they make their own white bread (which is the best thing ever). From the homegrown fruit, they make delicious pies and jams.
- Danes always eat at home, because eating out is way too expensive. It’s almost 10 dollars to get coffee at a coffee shop.
- You have to pay for packets of ketchup, mustard, etc., at restaurants.
- The Danish version of Mc Donald’s has a McSwag Burger. Yes, I’m not kidding, they legitly have a McSwag burger.
- Lagkage and Kage: Layered cake and cake. I have cake almost every other day, and each one is more delicious than the last. Lagkage is my favorite food, and there’s always something different in the filling. Once I had one with Chocolate filling on one layer, lemon filling on another, and delicious icing.
- JamJamJam. Every household has millions of types of homemade fruit jams. Raspberry, Plum, Tomato, Apple, Orange, you name it. It tastes great on homemade bread, and fantastic in Danish yogurt.
- Yogurt comes in a carton and you pour it into your bowl.
- I haven’t found anything that I don’t like. Everything is just fantastic. Other than green pesto, which I can live without, but still tastes okay.
- Danish pastries, chocolates and cakes are the best in the world. I was really surprised at how amazing the desserts were, because Denmark isn’t known for them. How has Denmark been keeping this secret from the rest of the world!?
- The interior of schools and many homes look like they could be featured in IKEA magazines.
- Painted Brick and Wooden exteriors are very common, and it’s almost impossible to see a house with vinyl siding.
- Hardly any houses have shingles on their roofs. Therefore, if you have a house with siding and shingles, don’t plan on taking it with you to Denmark, because it shall not fit in.
- Danish Architecture is all about mixing the old with the new. Many of the houses in my city are very old, but many of them have ultra modern furniture on the inside.
- Many older homes have lots of history to them. My house was made in 1813!
- All windows open from the bottom instead of the side.
- You can name your house. I think I’ll name mine Emma Watson.
- Take 20 blonde models and 10 models with brown hair and you’ll see what my class looks like.
- All girls have huge knit scarves. In fact, half of the girls at my table are wearing one right now. And by huge, I mean HUGE. You could hide small elephants in them.
- I’ve heard that it’s best to look like you’re going to a “trendy funeral,” and I couldn’t agree more.
- Generally, they don’t wear name brands at all, just clothes that look cool —- Unless they’re exercising. Then it’s socially unacceptable to wear anything other than Nike, Adidas, or Hummel.
- If you ask a Dane what you should wear, they’ll all say, “Just wear what you like, it doesn’t matter what you wear!” Yet, they all look like they just got back from the runway. —-This is the opposite of how girls in America dress, because girls at my American school wear sweatpants and have a goal of looking like they rolled out of bed and literally rolled to school.
- All guys wear patterned socks that go above the ankle. No exceptions. Even when they’re wearing jeans. Secretly, Danes all have laser eyes so they can see through your jeans to check if you’re wearing your tall socks, so just wear them.
- The American flag on clothes is surprisingly really popular.
- All Danes wear English on their shirts, and it’s almost impossible to find a shirt with Danish writing.
- Vintage is really cool here, and sometimes some girls dress so much like the 90’s that they look like they could be a lost sister from Full House.
- Let’s just be honest here: 95% of all Danes could be clothing models and it’s not even fair.
- Danes love to bike almost as much as they love bread.
- There are really nice bike lanes everywhere, so you have the ability to bike pretty much anywhere without too much trouble.
- Most streets are somehow connected, so chances are, if you take a wrong turn, you’ll either end up at your destination or where you started.
- Don’t walk in a bike lane, or the metaphorical daggers that their eyes are shooting at you may materialize and stop you in your tracks.
- They see biking as a form of transportation, not exercise, which explains why they can eat cake everyday and not get fat.
- For farther distances, you can take a train, but it’s a bit expensive. The cheapest thing to do is get a “Youth Card” where you pay 350 Kroner (64 Dollars) so that you can travel all over the island of Fyn for free.
- Fridays and Sundays are “expensive” days for trains/buses. Just avoid these days if possible.
- A ticket from one end of the island to the other (Svendborg → Odense) is about 75 Kr on a normal day (14 Dollars) It’s not too expensive, but you could get broke fast if you had to travel a lot.
- Cars are extremely expensive (180% tax on them when you buy one) and gas is expensive as well, so they don’t use cars very often —-Unless it rains. Then hundreds of cars will be everywhere as you’re getting poured on while biking to school.
- Don’t fall while on your bike, because that just doesn’t happen. Make it seem like you did it on purpose, or they’ll secretly judge you.
And one final fact: There no poisonous spiders or snakes in Denmark! I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that, and I’m sure it must make my Australian foreign exchange friend very happy.
There you go, all of my first impressions after being here for 2 months. If you have any questions or comments, comment them below!
Thank you for reading, and I’ll be posting more later!