DANES. Different from AMERICANS.

So I wanted to make a post that was a little less adventure-oriented and a little more life-oriented. Because being that this is not actually a vacation, I actually have to do work and have a routine and stuff. I know, snooze. But it turns out, not so much.

I’ll start with my classes.

Women, Art, and Identity (the oxford comma’s not in the course title but heck if I’m not going to use it.): It’s basically art history with a focus on women’s art from the late 1800s to the present. I had to drop my 8:30 Danish Design course because getting up at 5:45 twice a week was super unrealistic. So, Women, Art, and Identity was my next (open) choice. So far so good. Every class has two field trips built in to the schedule, but this prof is awesome and so we get to do 5. I will see ALL the Danish art museums! Actually no, but a lot!

Designing Communications Campaigns: To give you an idea of this class, let me begin by saying it is co-taught by these two guys probably in their early thirties who met in high school when they were in a punk band together– the band’s name was “Baked Beans.” So, they’re a little ridiculous, but they know their stuff about advertising, which hopefully means soon I will too.

Strategic Communication: This is my core course, and we do a lot together. Next week we have core course week where we travel in Denmark (I’m going to the 2nd and 3rd biggest cities, Århus and Odense. Yes, there is a tiny circle on top of that A.) and then we’ll have a long study tour when we’re going to LONDON! AKA why I picked this course. So far, super easy. Like freshman year’s Understanding Media but less fun.

Danish Language and Culture: A very interesting and HARD class. If you’ve never heard Danish spoken, there are a plethora of unpronounced or weirdly pronounced letters in every word (Rachael, if you’re reading this— you would HATE it. @EveryoneElse– Rachael hates silent letters). For example, asking someone what their name is is spelled like “Hvor hidder du?” but is pronounced like “Veh heela du?” There is this thing called a soft D. It sounds like an L usually, but sometimes not. For example, I live in “Fredensborg” but it is pronounced like “Fre’ensboh.” Also, the train broke down and it took me 3 hours to get into the city yesterday, meaning I missed Danish class. Not good.

Food Systems: SO excited for this class. The most excited. So far, the prof is very Danish looking (i.e. tall, blonde, and attractive) the readings are great (lotsa Marion Nestle and such.) Fall freshman year I took food-themed college writing and it was the best, so I’m pretty much assuming this class will be the best too. I’m really interested in food. Plus– FARMS. WE WILL VISIT ONE. YAY.

Dats it. My classes.

Now onto culture:

Surprise– people live their lives differently here. No, really, this was surprising for me. I did a LOT of research before I came, but none of it really prepared me for a really different life than I’m used to. Not that my host family is really different or something– they pretty much are the functional, happy version of my family when it was a conventional mom, dad, kids set up. But DANES. They’re different from AMERICANS. You know, as a whole. And so to reflect that, DENMARK is different from the US. I hope the caps helped. They helped me.


      -PDA (public displays of affection) are TOTALLY normal here. It’s not unusual to see young people making out in the middle of the street or even middle-aged or old people showing their love on the subway, for example. Yup, it’s a little gross. I guess they didn’t originate from Puritans.
      -Similarly non-Puritan, people can drink (alcohol). ANYWHERE. Well, obviously not anywhere, but in public- go for it (as my host dad would say). Teenagers party on the streets even in my small town. There was a guy sharing a bottle of wine with himself next to the fountain near school. Totally normal.

-People eat with their knife in their right hand and fork in the left. They never put down their knife or switch hands, and they cut their food up one bite at a time. My left wrist pretty much hates me for this.

      -Oh. Just remembered another. There are no water fountains. This seems small, but you actually use them all the time. You just haven’t realized it yet.

N’existe pas en Denmark.

      -On the note of public amenities, public bathrooms are SO different. The bathroom (always just called the toilet) is one room for both men and women, usually a tiny room with a sink. Attached are one or two “stalls” which are full rooms with full length doors which have a toilet (though not an industrial style one that I’m used to) and a sink. But don’t be fooled, you will probably be able to wash your hands WHILE sitting on the toilet. They’re SMALL.

Small like this.

      -Ooh, something I really like. The doors on the train don’t all automatically open. You have to press button, whether on the inside or out, to get the door to open, and then when you get in, you’re in an airlock with seating on either side of you, but to get to the seating, press another button, and the doors will open. This means that the loud people or the making out people usually hang out in the airlocks, and also, it means that you won’t get a gust of cold air every time someone might step onto the train. GENIUS.
      -On the train, you don’t have to prove you have a ticket every time. Meaning you just get on, and they pretty much trust that you do. No scanning or swiping or showing. Sometimes they check, and when they do, watch out. On the S-tog (commuter rail) the ticket checkers generally are middle-aged people dressed in normal clothes and always wear a bag and earbuds. They look very normal. THEN they pull their S-tog badges out of their shirts and you show your ticket. If you don’t have one (or haven’t “checked in” to the train before you got on– different kinds of tickets) then you’ll be fined 7500dkk = $135

The lovely S-tog. This car (with the bike on it) is the bike car. Yes, a car for bikes only. Danes ❤ bikes.

      -Taxes are SO high! The Danes complain about them, but they admit they love the system. Free education FOR EVERYONE FOREVER is amazing, as is free health insurance. My professor said “I could break my leg every day for the next ten years and never see a medical bill.” WOAH. AMERICA, GET ON THAT! People drive cars, sometimes here (my host family has two, but some families have none). Why, you ask? They love the environment, you ask? False, I tell you. Prices are sooo high. Tax on cars is.. wait for it…. 200%. That’s right, buy three cars, get one! You buy a $20,000 car? You pay $60,000. Seriously. And gas prices? Yesterday, I saw about 11,86dkk = $2.13. But you’re saying, that’s SO cheap. That is per liter, which is about a quarter of a gallon. So really, $8.52 per gallon. Yeah. And taxes are high on normal things too, but always are included in the price, so you don’t have to calculate it. Which is nice. Yesterday, I bought two postcards for 20dkk = $3.59. And, obviously, 5dkk = $0.90 of that was taxes. Whereas in Massachusetts if I bought two postcards for $3.59 (which would be pretty pricey for two postcards) at the register, they would add $0.22. Just a little food for thought.

Wow. I ended up writing a lot. I hope you’re not bored out of your mind. I thought it was fascinating. 🙂

OOOH– and I found a girl who may be interested in visiting Rome and Spain(?) with me at the end of September, so that’s something to look forward to. ALSO, I’m doing this thing called the Czech Trek which is a bunch of awesome adventchas in The Czech Republic with DIS folks. And it turns out three lovely people that I’ve met are also going and now we’re thinking of exploring the area post-trek. A few tidbits to get me through the first week yay!


One thought on “DANES. Different from AMERICANS.

  1. It is interesting that Danish toilets are different. They are also different than German toilets. British isle toilets seemed like U.S. toilets, but toilets in Greece and Mexico had minder who needed to be paid. Kenyan toilets were different yet and sometimes they were latrines. Italy was a very mixed bag. Bathing was also different in each place. Different gadgets, different products. I bet you could write a whole book about toilets and bathing around the world.

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