University Post
University of Copenhagen
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Life, love and language issues

See how three new international students are finding their feet after the first weeks in Copenhagen

Psychology student Mary Chan (21) from the USA got off to a chaotic start on her first day in Denmark, rushing straight from the airport to her first class. But since then Copenhagen has made a good impression.

See also picture gallery to the right.

»The first week was hectic because I arrived about two hours before my first class started so I had to rush to class. Actually I didn’t feel jetlagged because I was so excited,« says Mary to the University Post.

Difficult to meet Danes

Like many international students, Mary has found it difficult to mingle with the natives here in Copenhagen.

»For the first month I met so many people every day, all different types of people except I have not really met any Danes,« she says.

When asked what annoys her about Denmark, Mary says with a smile that all the street names sound alike.

However, despite the language issue, Mary is in no hurry to get back to the USA.

»When I go back to California I will miss everything. It is so easy going here, so free. During the nights it is so lively, I can’t believe how many people are on the metro a three in the morning! At home they would all be asleep. Also, you can drink in the streets without being arrested,« she says.

Matthew (21) from Australia is studying Chemistry and mathematics.

He has been in Copenhagen for 7 weeks, and is not looking forward to the Danish winter.

»The weather has been great, it’s just like being back in Australia. It’s winter in Australia now so it’s the same temperature in winter there as it is in summer in Copenhagen. I am going to die when the winter sets in here! But that’s ok.«

College life surrounded by Danes

Matthew has found it easy to make friends with Danes as he lives in the predominantly Danish Egmont College.

»It’s easy to meet people at the college. It’s about 500 people, and only 10 per cent, if that, are international students. On my floor, I am the only non Dane. So I meet lots of Danes,« he explains.

He finds Danes just as easy as anyone else to get to know, remarking, »It takes time to get to know anyone, no matter where they come from.«

Missing cheap food

However, being surrounded by Danes has its upsides and downsides, especially concerning the language barrier.

»When you are in a mostly Danish atmosphere, they will speak Danish until you interject, so you have to make the effort to get them to speak English. But it is helping me to listen to Danish all the time, although it’s a slow process,« says Matthew.

Matthew laughs when asked what he misses from Australia. »Cheap food,« he replies, »and shops that are open on Sundays.«