Another month, another article collaboration with the expat newspaper “The International“.
Every month I share 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 🙂
When I enrolled at my Danish school, I had one goal: learning Danish. Little did I knew that the journey would be a lot richer than expected. Denmark is poised with great schools and patient teachers for expats to learn Danish. Not only do you learn the language, but you can expect to discover a lot more about Denmark. Let’s look at the top three unexpected discoveries that changed my learning journey.
Learning a language also comes with understanding its history and roots. While at school, we were often challenged to learn more about Danish history, by reading books from important people who shaped the way Denmark is today. For example, N.F.S Grundtvig who influenced the Danish school system or also H.C Ørsted who was and still is, one of the most famous Danish scientist. If you pay close attention when walking in the streets or in the bus, you may see Grundtvig’s name popping up on a sign. Learning the basics of Danish History at school helped me understanding better Den-mark and Danes. Besides, it gave me more material to talk and contribute in conversations with my Danish network. In other words, to practice every day and get better at Danish.
We are exposed to Danish culture on a daily basis and school helped a lot in better understanding this aspect. We got the fantastic opportunity to go outside the classroom, explore Danish culture and dive into it. Among many experiences, we attended a session at the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) in Christiansborg Palace (Copenhagen). That day I realized that understanding politicians debating was a true challenge. We visited various museums with guided tours in Danish and even got to study the Little Mermaid in Danish! Being given the chance to do all of this, certainly impacts a lot on the way you will integrate in Denmark. If you have time, make sure to go out there and experience Danish culture.
Throughout my journey at school, we studied various topics that were directly linked to Danish society. We discussed themes such as the Danish liberalism in the past and now, child education, school system in Denmark, medias in Den-mark (traditional and new forms), Finance (real estate, saving money, the tax system, welfare state). We live in a country that does a lot for the environment, we therefore discussed environmental challenges, pollution, urban design in Copenhagen, Odense and Århus and electrical cars. I gained so much insights into the Danish society, that even my wife admits sometimes that I know more about certain aspects of her own country than she does. Understanding the way Danes interact, also helped me appreciate their humour and there-fore optimized my integration in this society, which I now consider home.
Even though I am now finished learning Danish at school, the journey has actually just started. The learning system for expats in Denmark gives you enough tools and knowledge to go explore and get the most out of your integration. I think we are very fortunate to be surrounded by such dedicated teachers who want to share the best of their country. Let’s give back to the land of Denmark who is welcoming us and show that we all want to be integrated. It is a long and hard journey, so don’t give up and keep challenging yourself.
Speaking Danish will be an invaluable skill you can carry with you anywhere !
You can also download the full newspaper here.