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Safely in Grenå

The next day started bright and early. Breakfast was at 7:30 and class started at 8:30. From 8:30 to noon every weekday, we learn and practice Danish, with a half hour break at 10:00. Then we have an hour for lunch (my second favorite time of day), and after lunch is a few hours of activities or presentations about Danish history and culture; for example, we learned about the economy, Danish nationalism, and music; and went on a tour and scavenger hunt in Grenå. Then we have the afternoon off until dinnertime (my favorite time of day) at 18:00. Finally, we have an activity after dinner to help us get to know the other students in the class; so far, we’ve had a sports day where we competed in teams for a prize, learned how to salsa, and hiked through the nearby forest. And at some point in the day we need to find time to do our homework and study the Danish we’ve learned in class. Needless to say, I’m kept busy.

Look! I’m being social and making friends and generally doing things!
There are international students in the class from all over Europe, as well as a few from outside Europe (such as my fellow Americans, a couple girls from Nepal and Japan, and an Australian). Fortunately for me, they all speak English very well, as the course is taught in English; and they’re all much better than me at Danish. Knowing both their native language and English helps them a lot, so I have to do a lot of work to keep up. Luckily in class I sit next to a Dutch guy who knows what he’s doing (Dutch is very similar to Danish), so I bug him with all my questions during class.

As for the Danish itself, the grammar and vocabulary is not too bad, although it’s a lot at once; but the pronunciation is difficult. They have sounds and letters that we do not have in English and that I honestly cannot distinguish, such as ø, å (both make an o sound), and æ (which is halfway between a and e — no surprise there). Their j is pronounced like a y, and sometimes their d is said like an L. For example, "Jeg hedder Valerie" [My name is Valerie] is roughly said like "Yeh heller Valerie", which confused me to no end on the first day. All in all, though, I like it a lot, and I’m learning quickly.

However, it is now Friday night, and my newfound friends are waiting for me to go with them to enjoy the great weather, beautiful beach, and cold beer that await us just outside the hotel, so that will be all for now.

Enjoying the beautiful beach just outside my window.