This week I am featuring Paula, who studied with me at Studieskolen during modules 3.2 and 4.1.
Paula has shared a very insightful article with a thorough analysis, which is a great addition to the “Expat Feedback” series.
I sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading this post, where she shares her personal experience of learning Danish.
Thank you Paula and best of luck with your move to Jylland!
I am Paula. I am originally from Romania. I’ve been living in Denmark since August 2016. I am a special education teacher who has many hobbies suited to the Danish weather, such as knitting socks and shawls, reading novels, drinking tea (and beer), watching murder mysteries series, YouTubing, and taking care of two shared house cats 🙂
I started studying Danish at Studieskolen in November 2016. I completed Module 3.2 at Studieskolen and will be soon enrolling at a new language school in Jylland.
How did you find out about your language school? Why did you decide to study there?
I attended the Language school Fair at the International House in Copenhagen in September 2016. I didn’t get a good impression about Studieskolen at this fair and I had decided to sign up at another school, however upon going to that school’s website I could not find any information in English. In spite of the bad first impression, l decided to sign up a Studieskolen because I came across the school’s name on several universities’ websites in regards to Studieproven.
I contacted Studieskolen by mail for an entry interview. and had to wait one month to meet with a counselor and be assigned to a class. There was only one spot left for day classes at the time.
A few weeks ago, while I was waiting in the office, a prospective student came in to inquire about Danish classes. She was given an appointment with a counselor within two days. My suggestion would be to take the time to come into the office in order to make an in person appointment (Danish culture runs on in person contact!).
Your experience and feedback on the modules
Module 1 focuses on memorization and oral production of typical Danish phrases, such as:
Hi! How are you?
Where are you from?
When did you come here?
What do you do?
I would like to order, etc.
Module 2 expands on the Danish phrases adding a written component and a few grammar elements related to sentence structure, word order, verbs, and tenses.
Module 3 presents a more structured approach to grammar and focuses on vocabulary development.
I completed 2 weeks in Module 4.1. I quite enjoyed this level. The teacher focused on remediation and refinement of pronunciation and on vocabulary and idiomatic phrase development.
Each new module builds on the previous module. The topics repeat each module (food, vacation, work, hobbies, etc.), but your knowledge and understanding of the language expands and deepens with each iteration. It may seem boring at first, but hang in there, it’s worth it!
Day classes vs evening classes?
I attended day classes exclusively. In the beginning, the classes were really crowded (19-20 students). In later modules, although enrollment was high (16 or more) only half of students would show up.
Students in day classes are typically unemployed people looking for jobs, stay at home moms, sometimes college students, or people who take time off from work to focus on learning Danish. It’s mainly women. Most men tend to find jobs early on and they transfer to evening classes. Be prepared to hear many interesting, exciting, and often discouraging stories about unemployment, underemployment, culture shock, etc… briefly, the challenges of being a foreigner in Denmark. Keep in mind that it is not a representative group of foreigners. There are many successful and happy foreigners living and working in Denmark, hopefully, you will join them soon!
Lastly, I understand that educational programming is regulated/mandated by the appropriate ministerial entity and that there is a common educational philosophy and approach to teaching methods and curriculum. However, I think that it would be good to have more information about teachers, materials, and classes available. It’s not fun being stuck with a teacher that is not inspiring, and it’s even worse bouncing around from class to class until you find an effective teacher. I am old school and an old timer that prefers a more structured and organized teaching style and I sometimes struggled to stay engaged during classes and as a consequence, I sometimes lacked the motivation to attend classes daily.
Do you have any tips on how to improve your Danish while studying and being in Denmark?
I would say that it depends on your learning style, personally I am predominantly a visual learner.
I started with watching English language movies with Danish subtitles and later watched Danish movies with Danish subtitles. Besides, I enjoy reading comic books such as Tintin and Peanuts in Danish. My boyfriend is Danish and he recorded some of them for me so I could listen and follow along. I also like listening to Danish music with written lyrics so I can follow/sing along.
My boyfriend and his family have been very supportive and they try to speak Danish to me as much as possible. If available, find a Danish conversation partner.
Lastly, some of the students in my class participated in weekly Danish book club. We read self-selected materials and meet once per week to discuss.
More on the bookish side, I enjoy making flash cards/vocabulary cards to learn new vocabulary. I tape new words that I want to remember in the kitchen so that I can see and read them often. There is also Quizlet an online resource where you can make your own flashcards for practice. I started a running list of regular and irregular verbs. and I also try to group irregular verbs according to their different forms. I keep hoping there is a logic to this language!
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