A little bit of love – Danish Culture II

Lennon

Yes it’s funny

Music has always been a great way to escape and to create an atmosphere where I am, it’s something that can anchor me in a culture. First at the høsjole, I heard about Kim Larsen and the højskole song book and it’s very nice, but it wasn’t something I was relating too so much.I was having a hard time being motivated to learn danish so I looked for artists I could listen to.

I found Mø…she sings in English, mostly ( I fixed that issue, I discovered Medina and Emil Stabil, my Danish is under control). You must know her. Or you must know that song. Unless you are in a coma or somewhere far away in Antartica.

Soon enough even American teens will know how to pronounce ø thanks to MØ!

Remember when I talked about being straightforward and honesty with Borgen? Mø also comes to my mind.I saw her live at Tinderbox in Odense and she is incredible, she has this raw energy and you feel that she is really “alive” while she sings. She lost this earphone they have to hear themselves sing ( I guess omg I know nothing about music please don’t throw stones at me) a couple of times and keep doing it perfectly and she did crowdsurfing. She was just running like a crazy devil on stage and jumping all around, her hair all over her face and it was actually awesome. To not have a perfect choreographed performance. I am really looking forward to see her again at Smukfest!

casually leaning on the crowd

casually leaning on the crowd

Before seeing her live I read often that people found her awkward. Unsurprisingly it comes from an american public. I don’t know if it’s about being in Denmark extensively or me not so much into this sleek perfection every popstar in America shove in your face, but I would pick awkward in a million times. I don’t think she is awkward at all or then we are all awkward.That awkwardness for some, it’s called being natural and not self conscious about it, how cool is that? It’s nice to see someone human as long as it’s genuine. And that’s maybe why I like MØ. If I have to believe someone is perfect, it’s hopeless and somehow depressing. It shows the gap between american entertainment and the way it is in Denmark. Danes overall are quite humble, they don’t show off, it’s not in the culture to try to impress (or they do it but in a different perspective) and it’s not cool to pretend to be better than your neighbour. And equality being valued very much here it’s unlikely you will see this superstar phenomenon develop so much.  I am not saying popstar and idol don’t exist in Denmark or that you can casually talk to your favorite singer in the street (or maybe you could…) but that it isn’t as big as in the US for example. In France we also have more mystery and distance even though it’s changing now (more towards american standard) so I find the danish perspective very fresh.

To me, through her music,  Mø represents very well this youth in Europe, the one we evoked through Vores Europa. We are spoiled, we have so much but we can’t decide and we have this urge of doing something of expressing something when we are confused and full of energy so what should we do? We need to spill it out and it’s a bit messy maybe. But with her it just sounds very good! And when I saw she worked with Diplo, it was like a dream. I love Diplo, for me Diplo is that time in Africa when my British roomie would wake me up listening to Express Yourself and it’s (funnily) connected to my time there and London.

Of course, I did some digging. MØ was in a punk band before (MOR) and well they sang in DANISH, so here I am, polishing my language skills! The down side is, I can’t find any lyrics I guess they were too underground for that… A Dane transcripted one of the song for me, well it’s a lot of cursing and punk stuff but it’s nice , he said it reminded him of his youth ( I had no clue he was 70). It’s not like us, French are  so bothered, listening to songs we don’t understand. All in all I just like the sound and the vibe of it.

Her early songs are a lot more rude and kind of stupid (ahaha, let’s be honest), it felt like this full on “fuck everything” attitude, but still some are really catchy and some lyrics just crack me up anyways. It’s nice to see her evolution because it blows up the myth of this “I am such a genius my first song became a huge hit”. She has been doing music for a long time, so it’s inspiring! When you see people working so hard and that it pays off it makes you want to do something yourself.To do what, I have no clue but I’ll find out in Canada.

When I discovered MØ I was in a place in Denmark where I felt most doors to understand the culture or to integrate were closed,I just didn’t get anything. Then her music was one thing that felt familiar. Because relating to honest and authentic emotions is beyond cultures. That’s why music is so important for me. There is always a song, an atmosphere an artist, connected to all the places I lived.

A nice interview here with Nardwuar (he is so weird and funny, and the way he pronounces her name is priceless)

 

 

A little bit of love – Danish culture I

What can we talk about after Roskilde uhm? Well Roskilde opened the door on Danish culture here I guess. I won’t talk about the music because I think it’s boring to talk about all the amazing bands I have seen and you weren’t there.

So I continue on culture, more specifically what I love about Denmark and that can be seen in it’s cultural objects such as movies, songs and such…and I warn you: I will not talk about cool new bands no one knows, because I don’t know them my self. This is going to seem outdated because it’s based on my experience and I am always slow and late…

I vaguey mentionned Borgen once or twice maybe but it’s time! I have always been into tv series and while abroad it’s an interesting insight on culture.

Denmark has some good quality to offer. I didn’t know when I first watched Borgen, I would move to Denmark and one of my French friend told me about it so I started it one day in a 5 hours train ride ,and well, I was almost sad to arrive because I had to stop! It’s really fresh especially when you compare to this big super production of american tv show that are omnipresent and of course some are good but it’s always the same cultural representations it’s not always something new. We got to know so much of the US and they know so little of the outside world.

The producer of Borgen didn’t expect so much success but it was a huge hit in Europe, a great success when it’s about…Danish politics! I think there is different aspect that makes people like it regardless the origin of the show. It’s a fresh look on politics because even though it’s a realistic approach, the characters are very human,we get to know their inner struggle, from the new Prime minister to the journalist and the spin doctor.They aren’t perfect or glamourous and it also portrays a positive aspect of politics because Birgitte Nyborg believes in what she is doing it’s not only about power. The fact you see such human character on very high position reflects to some extent a really nice side of Danish culture this “we are equals” , Danes are quite humble in that sense that you aren’t better than your neighbour, if you are richer, have a better job and so on and I can feel it my self, it’s a very different way of working. Maybe if you are a foreigner it’s a bit different because people are suspicious of outsiders but overall this sense of equality is quite strong. The hierarchy is almost non existent. I feel also that no matter what your social status is you will get respect a lot more in daily life compared to France where you could be judge going shopping just based on how you look.

Also the unexpected success of the show and how the team respond to it is another very danish reaction: they didn’t see it coming. Danes can’t really take compliment I notice, even less at work. If they succeed they will emphasize the team work behind it or that it was pure luck but their own merit? And people who actually do that are seen as pretentious. Have you heard of Jante law? It basically tells you to stay humble in a negative way I personally think. So Danes are a lot more humble (also a bit too much but well..) they aren’t about shoving it down in your throat. At least not in public. And maybe that’s why we like them.

I have of course checked interviews of the producers and the main actress. I actually saw some in French! I met her during a Q&A at a festival and I find it very funny because I find Danes very straightforward comparing to Americans so you have this no bullshit attitude like they won’t fake it or overdo it, I find them very honest and I connect a lot to that.

Another striking difference between Southern European countries and Denmark for example  are relations between men and women. When the show was aired in France it was called “Borgen, une femme au pouvoir” (Borgen a women in power) because for us inequality between gender , especially at work are pretty high. In interview Sidse Babett Knudsen often mentioned that the role would have been written for a man , it would have not changed the writing at all. And when you are a woman and move to Denmark, you can actually breath: no harassment in the streets or in bars, a lot less sexist comments , you simply forget about the gender roles you are assigned to. I am not saying Denmark is perfect I am sure there is still some inequality that could be solved but compared to France it’s heaven, really.

Thanks to Mark!

I decided to make a facebook page as I think it’s easier to get update for articles and quick comments now and then, you can like it here

http://www.facebook.com/thetravelinsect

Thanks to our friend Mark Zuckerberg to make life so much easier !

You don’t know pain , bitch! or Roskilde Festival 2015

If you have the slightest interest in Danish culture you must have heard of Roskilde Festival, the biggest festival in Scandinavia. Last year I though “bla this is not for me, I need peace, quiet and to lay down on the beach” but this year I was like “bring the noise, I am ready for this!”

I have heard a lot about Roskilde before going:

  • People are constantly drunk
  • They smell, no one showers
  • Danes behave like zombies during festivals
  • But it’s all amazing.
  • They do all sort of crazy stuff

So is it all true? It’s so hard to explain all of it in one article, I could write a whole book about my experience at Roskilde but I will try to keep it simple.

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This picture sums up my week at Roskilde Festival!

Are you ever to old for Roskilde?

I decided to go there when some of my friend from the højskole encourage me to go with them plus some friends from Copenhagen help me to find a volunteer spot, so I had no reason to turn it down. I was really curious about it as everyone talk about it as something big in Danish culture.

I had my first volunteer shift on friday but going to Tinderbox on Saturday I only started officially on Monday. And luckily because I am not sure my liver would have forgiven me ever. I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I was a couple of years younger, but all in all it depends your personality more than your age.

Am I in Zambia again?

When I met my friends, the camps already looked like slums. Trust me when I first enter fridat from the west entrance and had to cross camp C it was desert because the festival had not started yet but when I came back Monday, it reminded me of Zambia: trash all around, strong smell of piss and garbage (actually Zambia’s street smell better!) and all this camps, tents and food stand that looked like the ones in Africa. It was unbelievable and in the middle, all this hot guys and hot girls, completely hangover/wasted/sun burned/dirty walking like it was the new normal.

Forget the weird social rules of Denmark

After the first night I quickly realize that Roskilde is the city where no danish rules exists anymore: You can make friends instantly, sure they are drunk but you can. Everyone is.You can do everything you want, people really let go and that is something that tells a lot about danish culture in my opinion, and why Roskilde is so popular: Danes are quite behaved and keep it together on a daily basis especially with social interactions, I can’t say they are the most spontaneous people, I have heard a lot that they often question themselves about how to behave with people, as if they can’t read social interactions like southern european do it and have to overthink every social moves, the culture is simply different, hence they seem aloof. On Roskilde when you enter, you just made 50 000 new friends.

They also turn pretty much… into animals, everyone is here to get fucked up (or just to fuck also) and it’s acceptable for that week which is quite cool. No judgement. You will see your friends do crazy shit, you will do crazy shit as well and it’s alright.

Roskilde festival life

Imagine a temporary city with its own rules, just for a week

  • The camps

I didn’t know the camp life was that important, that some camps invest a lot to make it stand out, you can go around the festival just following camp signs to find your ways, so this week I first heard of camp OP where I had this amazing major lazer party, before heading towards Mordor (they do have the tower and you can see the eye from far away) where I met a friend and we ended in camp missen (the cat camp, they all have cat masks and when you are drunk it can be so freaky!) to party for the rest of the night. Camp luksus is known to be extremely gross, and how fun was it to meet a French camp, with french flag and a baguette while none of the member were french!

If you go to dream city some camp are properly built, we passed by game of thrones where a friend expected to meet the real Jamie Lannister, unfortunately it didn’t happen, we also ended in a very packed trailer that was playing music. It was packed we left because we couldn’t move but run back in “lean on” was playing. Lean on is the song I heard the most in the camp during the whole festival. So much that I can’t hear of it for the next 6 months I would say.

  • Follow the flags

You will see many things on Roskilde and among them flags. “Yes we camp”, USA , Canada, Denmark, “Far”, Curt Cobain, gay rainbow, Swedish flag but also some random objects attached to a poll like the famous alien fucking a cow, a banana and many more… it’s very practical during concert to find your friends especially on the orange scene.

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You can see the Yes we camp as well as the Alien fucking a cow

  • Noise is the new silence

Silent is strictly forbidden on Roskilde. Even if you live in a clean and silent area like I did, it will find it’s way to your ears. You can find a party at any time of the day because camp have their sound system and there is always one playing something. With a friend we did a camp crawl, one song: one camp and then i forgot what happened but I remember she was slapping me hard to wake me up and put me in her tent.

  • Wanna go to my tent?

I really wish I could see the birth stats of Denmark to know if in February there is a rise. It’s like everyone become Barney Stinson for a week.Seriously Roskilde is a shagatton. If the Danish government don’t want foreigners to fill up the empty space to boost the economy because Danes don’t have enough kids they should organise more Roskilde festivals, problem solved! So if you go, you want to have your own tent, if possible a two person tent! And take condom unless you want a Roskilde baby with an unknown father (let’s face it you can’t remember it all)

  • Sun burn, naked people, questionnable fashion statement

Because we enter the fifth dimension after the first couple of hours of drunkness on Roskilde, our standard lower drastically, so you can look like shit and never shower but that’s just fine. It was so nice to wake up in the morning and put the most random pieces of clothes together, even though I have seen some people caring a bit. Some like the naked man didn’t really bothered with that.

see what I mean…

  • Like every city there is people everybody knows

The naked man, not that young, just wandering around naked, the pikachu, the dirty drunk hippie that couldn’t understand for half an hour where to order the food on my food stand. That guy that came alone and talks wayyyy too much, and how not mention the couple that gave it a go at Pharrell Williams concert, they maybe took the Freedom song a little literally…

That is a pikachu

So Roskilde?

I really loved it, I felt sometimes maybe I am too old for that shit but I don’t think so. I think it’s awesome to just let go and embrace it, suspend your judgement for an entire week, let people surprise you and surprise your self. For sure it’s very uncomfortable, the lack of sleep , the piss all around, the constant state of drunkness but there is a cool feeling about Roskilde, I can’t describe it you should live it by yourself next year, it’s just beautiful!

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The sleeping alley in my camp

PS: I have not talked about an important aspect of the festival: the music, because it will come in another article :)

Don’t worry I am leaving a in a few months anyway…

How does it feels like to live in a country where the far right party made a big win in the last election? Well not so good. The weather sucked also the whole day maybe because a big sun in the sky would have been of bad taste in such circumstances.

What do I feel? Well I feel a lot of racism, especially since living in Copenhagen. I have heard people telling me that immigrants from the Middle East have a backward culture from the middle age and they are criminal and rapist so let’s send them back home…Truth is in 8 months there, I made one new Danish friend. Danes are very distant and seem cold. If you are an outsider you feel it straight away. It’s like they are suspicious. So at some point you stop trying. stop integrating, stop making effort to learn Danish because you have no one to speak it with anyway. It also angers me. I pay taxes, I don’t have much left afterward. It bothers me I am supporting a system rejecting immigrants. I am not taking advantage of it: no unemployment benefit, I have finished my studies, and I don’t believe in your health care system so I don’t use. I won’t receive any pension here…. So when immigrants are talked about like parasite, like a problem it really piss me off!

I wondered, are the Danes who voted for the Dansk Folkeparti, racist, ignorant or simply stupid? Maybe a mix of all? I could have just think then “fuck off, all of you” but I am not going down to their level. I really can’t see how they are offering a viable solution. They are using fear not facts, dividing instead of working together. So my question is:

Dear Danes what are you afraid of? That your culture will be swallowed during the process of immigration?

For this party, whatever an immigrant does he is a problem: if he tries to integrate and succeed getting a job and a wife he is stealing it from a Dane (because for sure a Dane wants to make a career cleaning or doing all this low jobs that immigrants take), if he doesn’t he isn’t doing an effort and exploiting the system. So he is always wrong right?

We have a wave of illegal immigrants through ALL Europe. Denmark is small and what they receive of refugees is peanut comparing to Hungary were it exploded. Nobodies know what to do but shutting the door won’t do any good. You are afraid of a globalized world? Being against it is like being against bad weather, it won’t stop it! Also isn’t it a bit hypocrite while everyone has somewhere an ikea table made in China, even Danish brands have their good produces abroad. When you all like to go to Thailand for a full moon rave party or to Italy to drink some nice wine?

I am not an economic expert, but the welfare Denmark is a lot similar to what we have in France (but ours isn’t as generous). See in France the problem is the baby boomers are all retiring and they aren’t enough young people on the job market to pay the bill. Denmark is in a worth situation when it comes to birth rate. So you need immigrant to help you pay the bill.  It comes with advantages you know. Opening to other culture you open your mind, you are challenged and become more creative. Otherwise you just become old and you …die.

 

How do you deal with confusion while abroad?

A friend wrote me she feels confused and lost about her life. I feel confused for so long now that it became my natural state of mind. It seems to be the definition of my generation or at least some of us, especially in those rich developed countries. This strange urge of having a lot to say but without necessarily having so much experience. I never felt hunger or any life threatening experience. My family is fine, we all have our issues but it’s fine. School wasn’t the best time of my life but I am not at school anymore so the circumstances are good. I have it pretty good.

But the confusion is there. It’s like it’s not even a problem. the purpose is to find a purpose and that’s where confusion is born.

I found some relief of that state of mind through meditation. It’s not about spirituality, not about some abstract concept but actually dealing with reality and raw experience. Here a few things I learned while attending this meditation sessions:

– Once the “teacher” said “we are all dying”. It wasn’t to be dramatic but this liberation that comes from acknowledging it. You can’t waste your time if you are dying but we are already dying just by existing. I don’t think it’s about quitting your job and stopping doing what you don’t like but giving quality to what you are experiencing. The texture, attention to what is happening right now. What does it feels like? For example, I felt anger this week. I didn’t attempt to change it or avoid it just to look at it and see what happens. It’s gone now but I think you can use these emotions and burn it as energy. It’s feeling alive.

Also I learnt that you can work with everything. You don’t need to be in a calm place, relaxing far from the civilisation to have a break through. It’s more surviving through the chaos, all the thing we don’t want or expect that are real around us. Finding the right action at the right time. Without filter so excluding non violence that is actually a concept because at that specific moment it might the right action.

It helps me. I feel alive and in a way I find a purpose by just existing, goals are stil there but they are secondary.

Do you want me to be your prime minister?

Danish election

As you may know, the danish election are on! If you have watched Borgen ( what do you mean Tv show don’t reflect reality?) you may understand how the danish political system works but basically unlike France where we vote for a president that will make a government , it’s the other way around:

  • There is 139 seats in the parliament and people vote for the party they want represented there. The more vote a party get the more seats they get. Usually the party that gets the most seats will try to build a coalition with others and choose a prime minister that the Queen will approve ( I wonder what happens if she says no…). So technically Danes don’t really know who they are voting for…

Because there is usually no majority, parties have to work together and that’s why Denmark has this reputation of reaching consensus. I would be very curious to see that happening in France, imagine trying to have the UDI agreeing with the FN and the PC!

I don’t know so much about each parties and this article is mostly for fun and not for an objective investigation about Danish politics because unlike Sidse Babett Knudsen  I can’t make it interesting, but I made a selection of the most interesting candidates

Socialdemokraterne

Selfie time during funeral is always fun!

Selfie time during funeral is always fun!

You should know this one, because the current prime minister is one of them, Helle Thorning-Schmidt known mostly for her selfie with Barack Obama and David Cameron. Also known by Danes for doing a right wing politic while the party is centre left….reminds me of someone.

Venstre

Unlike the name (left in Danish) they actually don’t have a left wing politic they are more center right… go figure.

Dansk Folkeparti

Yes that’s how Danes are according DF

I found one of their leaflet in my bicycle basket….they don’t like immigrants. Strangely I am not a big fan.

Enhedslisten

Like it’s name says it ( joke) it’s all the leftist together. Socialism, Communism, Stalinism

Alternativet

The name says it all. They are alternative.

John Erik Wagner

I pass by this poster everyday…no it’s not an ad for a bachelorette party as my mom said thinking my danish was that bad…

I have no clue what he stands for neither if he belongs to a party but I pass by his picture everyday. I can tell you the publicty works he is the one I remember the most.

Tom Gillesberg

Make love not war

My all time favorite because his poster is just amazing. It’s all about love.I am not sure what it is all about , he doesn’t belong to a party and he is part of the Schiller Institute that wants to stop the war and build bricks. You can find some info here if you have the courage to not stop at the horrible website they have, some good PR could help there! http://www.schillerinstitute.org/

So as you can see election time is a lot of fun in Denmark I wish I could be a graphic designer during election!

Aux cinq coins du monde – mon expérience d’immigrée

Il y a quelques semaines j’ai envoyé un email à Sara, elle tient un super blog http://www.aux-cinq-coins-du-monde.com où elle partage des interviews de français expatriés dans le monde.

J’ai beaucoup aimé son site, une bonne façon de se préparer psychologiquement (en parlant de préparation, un article est en cours d’écriture sur les choses à faire avant de partir!) et d’avoir un aperçu de ce que peut être la vie à l’étranger.

En plus ce sont des français qui témoignent, donc on a le même “filtre” culturel, en tout cas je vous recommande vivement de consulter ce blog avant de partir où juste pour révasser :)

Voilà mon interview qu’elle a posté récemment sur mon expérience au Danemark!

http://www.aux-cinq-coins-du-monde.com/2015/05/interview-camille-danemark/

The method I use to learn language

 I have been incredibly busy working, studying danish, and volunteering on a film festival! But because I am learning Danish and that I may take a language or two next year to study I wanted to share how I found my method to learn.

First, I highly doubt you can learn Danish without living in Denmark an extensive period unless you live with a Dane and speak strictly Danish together. I also think it’s the case for most language you will try to learn but that’s my personal opinion.

I won’t go so much into details about the ressources but the learning method. I don’t think there is one perfect method that will make you nail it in 3 months. Some people say they are good at language and other don’t. I don’t know if that’s true, I think it’s more about what you think you are capable of. I don’t believe the whole “I suck at language” “This language is way to difficult”. Is learning a new language difficult? You decide, I think the most important things are:

  • motivation
  • time
  • Knowing what works for you

When I was 16 years old, I would have never guess, I would be fluent in English, to the point I think sometimes more in English than in my mother tongue. I wasn’t especially good in class but not bad either, the speaking part was horrible. I had a pretty average level until I reached 20 and then it all changed:

  •  My best friend and I were watching Lost
  • I found some english speaking internet forum about groups, series…I liked
  • I met online friends
  • I decided to move to England.
  • I read Jurassic Park

Of course living in England for a year and a half really made the difference, I was also lucky to be surrounded mostly by British so I learnt a good English or at least I hope so.  I am more careless with my grammar than I should but it’s flowing so… it’s great, isn’t it?

My best friend in France lived in the US for a year and came back fluent so he could follow series in English. We just used subtitles for me. Then he made the mistake to give me 3 or 4 season of Lost to catch up…. This show is really messing with your brain. You understand nothing to the plot and the 4679 subplot and they keep adding new ones every time without answering a single question! Anyway I was hooked and so I kept watching films and tv series in English.

Then watching tv shows and listening to bands, I wanted to share my interests with people and the majority of the forums are in English. So I went, just to read and then I started to write, and I made friends. I remember this 50 years old woman from the USA she has no idea how much she helped me. I think it’s because she didn’t realise what a struggle it was for me to speak English so she would write these 10 pages essays to me , it took me time to answer but she was very patient and I learnt a lot.

Before leaving for London I was “speaking” english on a daily basis at that point.

The first weeks in London were challenging. I was actually not confident and I think that’s the biggest issue with any language learner, often you know more than you think you do. So you have to dive in because if you don’t dare ordering a coffee in a restaurant, you will never progress. That’s the stage called not caring and it takes some time to pass it.

It’s easier if you are in a country where there is no other way to communicate with locals. in Denmark it’s tough, I would even advise to pretend you don’t speak English if you really want to improve  faster. Danes unlike Brits aren’t used to have as many foreigners destroying their language with these funny accents. So they can’t really understand what you say if you don’t make it exactly like them (my secret: when they don’t understand I mumble, and it works!!!)

Also get drunk. Ok you don’t have to, but the point is that when you drink you loose your inhibition and if you are a happy drinker that want to socialise, then you will just talk and talk and talk

The last one was to get more vocabulary, just read. A lot of books. First it’s frustrating, you can’t get half of the words but I would do like Cato Lomb then: read like you barely care like you aren’t focused and then the second read you can start to try understanding your missing words with the context. I wouldn’t recommend this step too early because it can lead to frustration but I learnt so many words with Jurassic Park, like wound, shred, fence and so on…

Now I am doing the same with Danish: I listen to music and watch Danish films. I rewatch some series I know with Danish subtitles, I put them in the background when I am cooking or washing up dishes. I even put a movie on my ipod to only listen to it when I work.

I have joined various website to talk to people, find one where you share an interest it works better . Then you have to find the talkers, the native that don’t worry about writing to much.

I have a new roomate, so we agreed she would only speak danish and I can speak both but I will try to stick to danish.

I will also share what didn’t work for me but could work for you:

  • No motivation: the first year in Denmark I was blocked because I had no interest in learning it if I had nobody to talk to in Danish.
  • Only school material: it’s great for grammar but gosh it can be so boring, I need to find topics I am interested in.
  • Learning vocabulary by heart with memo cards: I just can’t get into it.

 

Learning Danish I – If you live in Denmark

Today, I will tell you how you can learn Danish. Ok…that’s a little…ambitious, I will speak about different methods to try to learn Danish :)

It will depends a lot  if you already live in Denmark or not.

If you live in Denmark it’s a lot easier!

Danish lessons

Well thanks to the Danish government and high taxes when you are new  to Denmark, you have three years of Danish school paid by the kommune you live in. For that you need to fall under the Integration act ( I don’t know how it is if you come from outside the EU) I have 10 hours a week, even though I kind of stopped lately… and it’s really good!

My first experience in Jylland wasn’t that great, it was boring, very slow and an evening class so I was tired just arriving there. I don’t feel I learnt that much there.

In Copenhagen, it’s very different, fast paced, a good atmosphere and very interesting, I feel I am learning a lot and I have made HUGE progress. When I arrived they put me with a class that was toward the end of the first level because I knew some Danish. I started 3 months ago and now I speak Danish on my workplace and in shops, I can also understand my friends when they slow down and have a basic conversation! I also passed the first level …So I would highly encourage you to join these classes, plus you make friends! I was afraid at first it would be like in France when I was in school, so competitive and if you don’t follow that’s too bad but I haven’t felt behind at all and the teachers are very good and kind!

Language tandem

I have experienced 3 different ones. The first two I found through couchsurfing and it’s people around my age that want to improve their French. One of my Danish teacher is also learning French so I have a more regular meeting with her and it’s very helpful. A good way to make progress because you choose on what you want to work and you can speak Danish.

Culture

Being a huge fan of TV show and cinema I am watching a lot of Danish movies recently! If you signed up at the local bibliotek, you can log on on filmstriben.dk and watch movies online but be aware they don’t have subtitles… Netflix is also very good for that and you can find cheap DVD in second hand store or on DBA.  I will get back to which movies and series you should watch tin another post!

I love reading so I have tried to read more in Danish but for now it’s mostly on internet through article or writting to my friend, focusing on a novel is difficult , I can’t get my self to read children’s book. I have considered downloading audiobook but didn’t start yet. Anyway, you can always read great Danish novel in English or your language because it will put you in the mindset, make you more curious of the culture.

Meet people

Of course speaking to Natives, you can learn sentence by heart before going to a shop. Ask your friends to help you, take any opportunity to practice. I find it easier when I only start speaking Danish to a person to stick to it. Now it seems weird if I switch to Danish with my friends but we do it more and more often.

Listening, Listening, Listening

Listen to podcast, or audiobooks. I know the assimil method is criticized a lot and I am not its biggest fan but it is very helpful to listen to dialogues, if you have been in Denmark for a while you can skip the first lessons as they speak very slowly but it is good to listen to it daily and your prununciation will progress a lot.

If you have heard of other methods feel free to share, it’s a non exhaustive list of course :)