Danes aren’t all that different from us. We both live in the developed world and enjoy all the comforts that come with it. We all work to live, and some live to work. We eat, we drink, we love. We just live. It is amazing how often I found the simple connections between what at first appears to be quite different cultures. Laughing while enjoying a night of games and chatter…it doesn’t matter the subject of the game. The feeling of closeness and warmth that draws us to these shared moments spreads across cultures.
I didn’t really meet quite as many Danes as I would have hoped, but for the right reasons. It wasn’t that I was too afraid or to unwilling, but that I found people who I wanted to be with and stuck to them. Honestly, if I wasn’t in class or doing work, which was as often as possible, I was either with my host family or my crew. I didn’t need much else because these two groups were so perfect. Still, I did meet some nice Danes and befriended a few. Purely social, I met a few people through Volleyball. Sadly when I play sports I kind of get in the zone and I don’t talk too much. Looking back I wish I would have done a better job reaching out there, but I did manage to befriend one guy named Johannes. He was a cool guy and we hung out once or twice outside of volleyball. If he ever realizes his dream of traveling in the States I hope to host him for a little while and share my culture with him just as he did with me.
I met a number of other Danes including Christian, Karsten, Kristina, and several more. But of all the Danes I met I was closest with Mensure. She was the coordinator of my DIS Buddy Network, a group designed to facilitate interaction between DIS and Danish students. This was especially for us home-stay students that didn’t have siblings around our own age. As is typical for American students not a lot of commitment was given, and Mensure and I bonded over the differences between a Danish commitment and an American one. We hit it off quickly and I really enjoyed talking with her. We shared a lot of peculiarities about our cultures. I remember my last night in Copenhagen we spent a good hour or two discussing the difference between Danish and American relationships and what it means to be “dating.” It’s time like these that you really appreciate living in another country 🙂
So, overall I don’t think I made as many strong connections with young Danes as I would have hoped. But when I think about my host family and how well I integrated into their family I realize I that although I might not have met a ton of Danish friends, I still started lasting relationships with quite a few Danes. On top of that I also met a few other internationals from Mexico, Argentina, France, and a handful of other places. If I ever have the opportunity to live for a period in another country I will learn from this last experience and try to meet even more locals, but until them I am happy knowing I made real, lasting relationships with the Danes that meant the most.
So many good memories 🙂