Denmark: It’s Really a Lifestyle Experience…

Posted: December 22, 2010 in Categorized
Tags: , , ,

So on December 15th, the Copenhagen Youth Ambassadors had our last meeting of the year. I have to say this has been a phenomenal experience.   It’s a combination of everything from the access to some of Denmark’s top companies along with the opportunity to network and just an inside view of what Denmark has to offer to the world. We discussed our roles as Youth Ambassadors and what we are expected to do in the following year. Our main responsibility is to promote Copenhagen/Denmark using our own networks, talents, and experiences. In essence this is a talent development program and we are charged with the task of using our talents to promote Denmark!  I very much look forward to connecting with my undergraduate college, the University of Copenhagen, or whomever to really market Copenhagen as a great place to work, live, and/or study.

On a personal level, the opportunities that the Youth Ambassador program has provided, has really made me appreciate living in another country.  I believe that studying abroad is more than just a “taking a vacation”. Sure it’s a great time to explore the world and then brag about all the places that you’ve visited. In a way that was me, 2 years ago. However, now things are changing. I’m back in Copenhagen for the second time, so obviously something is drawing me here.  I think this time I am here for a deeper appreciation of this small country’s lifestyle or culture in general. I am simply fascinated, not in a exoticizing sense, but truly fascinated by the culture here. It’s a combination of everything from the relatively high gender quality in society, being able to bike everywhere, the drive for renewable energy instead of using fossil fuels, a general health consciousness, the welfare state, and the list just goes on. In the Youth Ambassadors program we kept debating how could we really market Denmark and it’s very challenging because Denmark is really a lifestyle. It’s something you have to experience to really appreciate. You can stay at the surface of experiencing Danish culture or really dive in and try to make an effort to understand. One of the things I love to do is having a dialogue with Danes about Denmark, danishness, etc. This has really helped me get a broader and more nuanced perspective about Danish culture. Many times I notice contradictions and sometimes I notice similarities. That isn’t to say that Denmark doesn’t have many flaws. It’s known for its very tight immigration policies, not being open to foreigners, high taxes, and many other things. It’s just really easy to allow first impressions or even just what you’ve heard from other people to shade your view of Denmark, but you can either choose to experience for yourself or just look at this country from a very surface value.

So far, I think my Danish language skills are progressing at a fairly decent rate. Not only do I have to work on pronunciation, I have to really focus on intonation. It’s the intonation and stresses that prove to be the most challenging because we don’t have that as much in English. I also, have to learn to take the Dane’s reactions to me trying to speak Danish with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, it’s a fun challenge and comes with the package of coming to another country. Some things are only as difficult as you allow them to be. Okay I just wanted to write a short reflective piece of what Denmark has come to mean to me as a Fulbright researcher and as one who is trying to integrate himself into Danish culture.

Also, I’m officially on winter break so I’ll try to update my blog more often! 🙂

Lastly, since I’ve updated my blog a lot about the Copenhagen Youth Goodwill Ambassador program, feel free to check out the short video providing a snapshot of the program.

  1. Karina Blinkenberg Mortensen says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts … 🙂

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