It is hard to believe that I completed the Prøve i Dansk 3 already six months ago! So much time spent on going to school and preparing for the exam.
You may have read on my Instagram or Facebook that I started a collaboration with the expat newspaper “The International“. I will be sharing every month my personal experience about the process of learning Danish in Denmark. This is a really cool free newspaper with a lot of insights from various expats in Denmark. You can find the newspaper at these locations all over the country.
Make sure to follow them on Instagram: @theinternationaldenmark
Here is my article in case you didn’t read it yet 🙂
My year of learning Danish
Each year many expats attend Danish classes with the aim to become better in Danish and eventually pass the national exam. Let me tell you a bit more about my journey into learning Danish in Denmark.
Four years ago, I moved to Denmark with my Danish wife. Two years ago, I made the decision that it was time to seriously consider learning Danish to reach a level of fluency. The main reason I did it was to become fully integrated into the Danish society. At least I wanted to be able to be able to listen, understand, read and talk. In other words, my aim was to add more freedom into my everyday Danish life.
After careful consideration, I decided to quit my permanent job and take a 12 month break to study Danish. In order to achieve this pretty ambitious goal, I chose to use my time wisely and promised myself that the only acceptable outcome would be speaking Danish.
Back to school
Firstly, this meant attending a language school 12 hours a week where all lessons would be in Danish. A great aspect of going to school is however that you are not alone. Many expats are in the same situation as you, so you can can expect to meet people from various countries who have different professional backgrounds. I was very impressed by the level of dedication and motivation from everyone in my class. The school network is vital for you to improve in Danish and stay focused when times are tough. On a few occasions I lost focus, because the learning felt too intense and I had to remind myself why I did it. My fellow students went through the same phases, so I was not alone in this journey. We pushed each other and succeeded together.
Learning never stops
Learning Danish also implied doing my homework and dedicating time to learn new vocabulary. In order for this project to be a success, studying at home and being serious was essential. Every lesson at school brought its fair share of new vocabulary to learn and remember. I allocated time on a daily basis to learn and repeat vocabulary. By doing so, my vocabulary grew very quickly, which enabled me to understand conversations that took place at school, at work and in the public space.
Reading, watching television and listening to the radio in Danish became tasks I quickly integrated into my daily routine. No better way than having fun while learning. It keeps you informed with the latest news in Denmark and is a great way to start a conversation with Danes. Just pay attention around yourself at work, in the street, in the public transports, in shops. You are surrounded by Danish and can use it to your advantage.
Getting a job
Finally, getting a job was the missing link to apply what I learnt at school. I found a part-time job in the wine bar “Le Petit” in the market place “Torvehallerne” (Copenhagen). The first couple of months were very challenging. Coming from a school environment where you have time to think, to a face-to-face situation, is not at all the same. I had to listen carefully, understand what clients asked for, make conversation and of course, do my job at the same time! Many of the students in my class worked in bars, because it was a great opportunity to improve and get instant feedback on the language.
Looking back into the journey I started, I am so proud I did it and managed to pass the final exam. Let’s be honest, it is a challenging journey, but extremely rewarding and worth trying!
You can also download the full newspaper here