At rejse er at leve;
   To travel is to live

First day of school in Denmark

As of today, I attend the MidtFyns Gymnasium in Ringe!  It’s such a great school, and I can actually say that I like going there!

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m really lazy and listing my observations in bullet points instead of paragraphs would be more interesting and less time consuming for all of us.

  1. Instead of raising your hand with all of your fingers up, only your pointer finger is up, pointing at the ceiling.
  2. You call your teacher by their first name.
  3. You have one class of about 30 and you have all the same classes with all of them.
  4. You bring your own computer and you use it in almost every class at least once.
  5. Everything is far more laid back. There are couches in every blok (Wing/hallway of the school) and two foosball tables in the front hangout area.
  6. 3 or 4 classes each day with 5 minutes to hang out/take breaks in between.
  7. Classes get cancelled frequently, meaning you can sleep in. You just check online the night before and you don’t have to be there for that class. It’s usually not actually cancelled, just postponed, but it’s still nice! My physics class is cancelled tomorrow, so I don’t have to be at school until 10:05
  8. School lunch is too expensive, so everybody just brings their own lunch.
  9. I put pesto on my sandwich this morning and I’ve learned that I don’t like Pesto
  10. Going to a boarding school for a year is common
  11. You are able to choose 1 out of 3 creative subjects: Art, Music, or Drama. (Why can’t I have them all?)
  12. Teachers let their classes out early sometimes. My last one let out 10 minutes early today.
  13. Danish Grades are numbers, not letters. For instance, you fail if you get a -3 or a 00, but it’s an A+ if you get a 12.
  14. If you want to go on Facebook or Youtube in the middle of class/worktime on your laptop, you do it.
  15. I am one of the only people in my class who does not have an iPhone 4S or 5.
  16. Our school has 600 people, which is considered pretty big.

I rode to school today on a bike, and I think it was about 4 miles. Luckily, it wasn’t that bad, actually! My bike is a bit big on me, so it’s hard to start and stop, but otherwise it’s not very bad. I only fell once, and I was mostly able to catch myself. (I’m quite proud of myself) Unfortunately, I fell right in front of an Elementary school, so the children were actually quite confused, considering everybody’s good at biking in Denmark. The babies probably ride their bikes home from the hospital once they’re born. I just told the boy that it was my first time riding, which confused him further. Oh well. I have a helmet, so hopefully I won’t be having any head injuries soon.

Midtfyns GymnasiumAnyway, I arrived at the school after my bike ride with Jonas, Amalie, and Vibe, and I met Camilla, the contact that I’ll have for the school. They still haven’t figured out the internet password for me, but oh well. Afterwards, Jonas gave me a great tour of the whole school, which was extremely interesting and helped me so much later in the day because I knew where most stuff was.

The first class of the day was Math. I was put next to two people that I didn’t know and the Math teacher didn’t really know what to do with me, considering we couldn’t get my internet to work on the right wifi. After a few minutes of awkward, I was able to talk to the two people I was seated next to. Both of them were very nice, and I was able to talk to more people as the class went forward. We took a break to take our class pictures. (I thought I missed them, but it turns out that I didn’t!) In math class, it looks like they’re focusing on stuff that we learned in Algebra II, so she said that I can try to do something else or help other people.

Somewhere in there I was able to meet Frederikke who is really nice and loves to talk in English. She said that at times she’d rather speak in English than Danish, and she wants to go to England. Anyways, she was one of my first friends and she even invited me to sit at her lunch table! I felt included! Of course, I had to spill my water on the table, but we cleaned up some of it and left the rest to evaporate…..clearly that’s the best thing to do on your first day. I was able to get to know two of Frederikke’s friends, one who I’ve nicknamed dog (because someone said she was a dog and I just continued that one) and Movie (because she loves horror movies.) Frederikke said that I could call her Nina because it was her middle name, and it was a lot easier to pronounce! We spent the rest of the break time after lunch by talking about stuff, and I always made sure that my lack of knowing Danish was turned into a joke that we could all laugh at. I was able to learn a lot of Danish words as they helped me learn! Turns out that swearing in Danish is the same as in English! (Yay!)

The next class was Physics. From what I understand, the upcoming plans for the class are that we’re going to make solar panels and making beer. I’m not sure how that is physics, but okay. I was sitting next to Dog, Movie, and Nina, and the four of us formed a group to build the solar panel thingy. It’s a competition, so I appreciate that they took me even though I didn’t know anything! We pretty much made jokes the whole time and didn’t get much done on the design of our solar panels, but it was definitely fun! It looks like I’ll also have a combination of chemistry and biology later in the year for science.

Last class of the day was something that we don’t have in America: an overall language class. It’s about the overall concept of language and fuses Danish, Latin, Spanish, German, and English into one subject. So pretty much it’s extremely confusing to me because I’m completely lost in Danish. The teacher started off the class with Danish and said, “And we have a student who has no idea what I’m saying!” (Referring to me since she knew I didn’t know Danish) I do have to say, though, it was the funniest thing ever when we watched a video on body language in English. Nobody else thought it was very funny, but by the time “Conjugating the head” came on, I was literally crying on my desk of laughter, and everyone probably thought I was weird. If you want to see the video, it’s below: (Please do, it’s hilarious)

Not only did the students do all they could to include me even though I didn’t speak their language, all three of my teachers made gestures to help make things easier for me as well. In math, she said that I was able to pretty much study what I wanted to study in math, since I had already completed Algebra II. My physics teacher put our worksheet into google translate and projected it on the board so that I could read along and understand. My language teacher came up to me after class and asked how I was doing in school and said that I could always talk to her if I needed anything. Even though I don’t currently speak Danish, it’s really cool to know that everyone around me trying to help make it enjoyable for me.

On the ride back home there is a huge hill that I’ve decided I will walk from now on. I’m getting used to biking, though, and I don’t think I even fell off the bike on the way back! #proud. Anyways, I don’t have school until 10 tomorrow so I get to sleep in, and I think I may have a music class tomorrow (Yay!) Soon I’ll be able to be in the school choir as well, and Nina will be doing it too, so I won’t be too alone!

I’m bringing candy tomorrow so I can make more friends.

Hej Hej,


7 Responses to First day of school in Denmark

  • OMG, I don’t know how you kept it together during that video. “My genitals are unavailable. My boom-boom is unavailable.” Thanks for bringing us into your first day at school. What an adventure.

  • Yes…you are good at writing. You gave me a peek into your new season of life and it sounds fresh, new, challenging(bike) and fun to meet new people and get spontaneous classes cancelled. Thanks for being YOU! Auntie Auntie, Rita Love you:)

  • So proud of you, Cameron, for taking this brave step. You will be richer for it! A common cuss term in Danish is “gyngehester tis” (pronounced goong- a-hesta teese) … it means “rocking horse piss,” and is said when one is frustrated or screws up (like after you spill water at the lunch table). Try it out some time, for a laugh. I’ll try to give you more useful tips as the year goes along! God dag! Mr. H

  • That is Awesome Cameron!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing, what an adventure!!! Nice writing, thanks so much for sharing. I wonder if they have a work exchange program for old people.

  • Cameron, loved reading your blog. You are a very funny writer. I am so happy you are enjoying your new school, and have readily made friends, although I had no doubt you would do so. Love You

  • Hi Cameron!

    I am very much enjoying reading about your early adventures. You have a great sense of humor and I am glad you can laugh at yourself. Keep the positive attitude and have a blast.
    Ps- I am a friend of your dad.

  • OMG! It’s sounds like you had your fair share of embarrassment already. that video is soooo funny but Danish people don’t get it. Schools there sounds so much better than it is for us. I hope you have a great time there! Stop being so clumsy Cameron!

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globe senior pic squareMerhaba, I'm Cameron Neader.

I'm an 18 year old going on Rotary Youth Exchange to Turkey and I was an exchange student in Denmark in 2013-14.

Click here to read more.