After an amazing month and a half in France (and then a visit to London), I finally made it to Denmark! This is the first time I have been in a Scandinavian country and also the furthest north I have ever been in my life! Denmark is on the same latitude as Canada, so it has been a gorgeous 65 degrees Fahrenheit every day this summer (be jealous Tuscaloosa kids!). Since the study abroad program I am participating in is not a language based one, I have not had any prior experience with the Danish language, and the first two weeks of the program were a little rough because of the language barrier. Fortunately, almost everyone speaks English because they start learning it in second grade and I have discovered that it is not a problem to go up to someone and immediately speak English. It is amazing how well one can get around a country without being able to read the signs or understand announcements on trains; I’ve definitely learned to pick up context clues from being here. One great thing about Denmark is that the people are extremely nice and helpful. Many times locals have come up to my friends and me asking if we need help translating a sign or figuring out where to go. It is such a nice gesture!
Another great thing about being in Denmark is the cool excursions we can go on. When we are not working on labs, we are free to go wherever we want, so this week I went to Odense, Denmark, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. The town is very small, but they have an awesome museum about his life and you can even walk around his boyhood homes. The ceilings were so short in the houses that I hit my head a few times. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to live in that time period.
What I miss the most is living in a house. In France I was at a home stay, but here we are living in dorms that are glorified shipping containers. It’s been a bit of a shock getting used to the living conditions, but you can put up with anything for a month! Also, I miss pastries. France really spoiled me in the dessert category. All in all, it has been a good first few weeks despite the language barrier and I am excited to continue my class here. If you get the chance, visit Denmark. It is a beautiful country.
[A gorgeous and tasty French pastry for your viewing pleasure.]