Maria er fra Brasilien og er udvekslingsstudent i Danmark. Hun bor hos sin værtsfamilie i Frederikshavn, hvor hun er en del af familiens daglige liv. Her oplever hun det danske familie- og kulturliv. Hun kom til Danmark i august og skal være her indtil juni 2018.
Her kan du læse nogle af de tanker og oplevelser, hun har gjort sig det første halve år.
My name is Maria, I’m 17 and I’m in Frederikshavn in northern Denmark, for almost six months. What I can say about my first months is that yes, the first few months are difficult. You can’t avoid this, especially since you are far from home, away from your culture and what brings you comfort. It is a totally new cultural experience, in a new country, city, school, habits and most importantly, in an unknown family.
Well, my first months have been pretty difficult, but it’s all a matter of adaptation, in the new house, new town, new school, new country and new family. Everything is very difficult and takes time to conquer. But, one hour we get there, and that’s what motivates all exchanges, including myself. I would say that we have chosen a country with a difficult language, with different weather and habits. Even more so when you are sent to inner cities, then you live with the true culture of these people, you can see how that country and people are real.
Getting into a new school requires a lot from you, especially in another language, you probably will not study like them, but you have to live with them and that is one of the most difficult parts. My host mother always tells me, exchangers in the first months are like babies, need help for many things. And that’s kind of a hard thing to get at school fast. They are already there, accustomed, with their friends, speaking a language they know and from nowhere you come asking for their attention. Ask them to explain to you almost everything and to translate many things. So it seems like you are a burden in their lives. But they will help you, but it all depends on you. How willing you are to conquer that shy Danish friendship. In my case it was difficult, but now it is probably one of the best parts and I know we will enjoy it very much from here until my last day. The trick is to never give up, to have the same shadow behind them, to pull subjects to talk and show that you care, because no one wants fake friends, because after all they will show you the best in their country.
I can say that I was very lucky. I have a wonderful host family, who helps me in everything and is always there for me. I had problems with my student ID and they helped me sort it out. Many times they explained the same thing to me. Sometimes I just wanted to give up and they helped me to stay strong. They are the basis of everything, in my case, that I live in a place far from the city and far from exchanges students, it is with them that I spend most of my free time and I say, is where we always have the best conversations, laughter and hygge.
This does not mean that you, after getting accustomed a little, will not miss home. But believe me, now it is easier to overcome. But it’s also the good days and the new and different moments that help you stay and not give up and leave you curious to know: what will happen next?
I remember that on my first day of school coming home, I got lost on my bike. And this will happen a lot, even more so in a country like Denmark, where the bike is used intensively, even if it is raining or snowing, but here it only rains.
Comfort is knowing that other exchanges will be in the same situation as you, and so will be your best friends. It is they who will understand when some problem happens because they are going through situations like yours. And that yes is one of the best parts, I made so many friends, people that I can call brothers, I learned so much about other countries and cultures that I would never learn this elsewhere. The exchange brought me so many new friends, that I may or may not review. But that will be one of my biggest missing.
In addition to getting to know other countries by talking to others, you still learn a lot about the country that has chosen to do your exchange, and discover that it is not what you read on the internet or your friend told you, or even what your friend who is also doing exchange says. Every place is different, what I live here is not the same thing as someone living in Aahrus or Copenhagen. And it also depends on how they are showing you and talking about the country, as in my case, my host parents, they taught me what is normal for them, and sometimes this is not normal for another Dane.
But you also learn many things for yourself in travel and experiences here. For example I went to Copenhagen, the capital, and saw that many things that were traditional for my classmates at Christmas, is not traditional for a Dane living in the capital.
The exchange is not about learning only about that country. My parents from Brazil, who were invited by my host parents to come and spend Christmas in Denmark. It was great to see my parents and give them the chance to get to know this part of the country. What’s more, they had fun with my parents’ stories about me coming back home and seeing a wolf, as much as they still do not believe me, I’m sure it was a wolf! Or when I lost the bus card and only realized I was without it when they came to check me, and it turned out that I got a ticket.
It’s six months with many moments. To try to summarize: difficult, learning, falling in love. And today who asks me if I regret it, I say no, no doubt! I hope to make the most of these last few months, which are going so fast.
You just have to be open for new experiences because soon we will be coming back. But part of us, or of our heart, will always be here.
Maria bor hos en værtsfamilie, og de deler både hverdagen samt de store og små oplevelser sammen. Hvis du og din familie er nysgerrige på at blive værtsfamilie, kan I læse mere om det her.