How would you best describe the process of learning Danish?
If I could use a memory, then I think the best one would be one rainy October morning, 2 months after I came to Denmark, while I was walking to the university. I decided to take a shortcut through the Botanical Garden, and well, I got lost. And then it started raining even more. And the wind was blowing. A lot. That’s how it felt to learn Danish, and still does sometimes.
Although I have to admit, the Botanical Garden is beautiful, and so is the process of learning a new language. Unexplored terrain, uncertain/harsh conditions, but the hoping and wishful thinking that one day you will be speaking that language fluently – yes, even Danish! – seem to overcome any other burdens.
I did find a way out of the garden by the way. And well, I went to class late, but I had found a way out and, secretly, I had also enjoyed the process. Perhaps this is what it’s all about: going with the flow and just trying to make the best of it. I think this is what has boosted my Danish competency the most!
Fast forwarding a few weeks later, I found myself seated in the comfy chairs of Lærdansk, the Danish language school for foreigners. I was nervous and excited. Around me, a bunch of equally nervous and excited people, from different parts of the world but with one common purpose: to master this Viking language!
Obviously I was equipped accordingly…
After a few nervous nods and smiles were exchanged, our teacher walked in. She was smiling and she seemed quite pleasant. And then, without any introduction whatsoever, she just started speaking in Danish! I think my heart skipped a beat – probably more – because I thought that I was in the wrong class. And then a rush of panicked thoughts began:
Great, now I missed my first class, because of carelessness! Well done, Marina.
Oh god, she’s talking so fast.
Is this a whole word…?!
Why is she not stopping?!
And why is she still smiling like that?!
I started looking at my classmates, trying to see if they actually understood what was happening there or taking notes or something, but everyone seemed to also suffer from a minor heart attack.
Ok, Marina, I said to myself, I believe you are in the right place after all, just chill.
It turns out our teacher was just messing with us. She started speaking Danish even though she knew we wouldn’t understand absolutely nothing – just for fun! Admittedly, our faces, especially mine, must have been quite ridiculous to look at. We must have been a good laugh. But, holly molly, was I freaked out!
Apparently, our teacher had a very special (and maybe Danish) way to welcome us in the course. After she stopped, she started laughing and she re-stated what she had just said in English. So there’s that. I think I have never loved English language more than that particular day!
As you can understand, my first experience from my Danish course was definitely something I will never forget! And I hope this goes for my Danish skills as well!