Clara in Copenhagen

Clara is a junior journalism major in the Meadows School of the Arts, and the recipient of the Rotunda Award and Outstanding Scholar Award. During spring 2013, she is participating in SMU-in-Copenhagen and is looking forward to exploring Europe.

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The Amazing Race

I have arrived! Already within the first 48 hours of living in Copenhagen so  much has happened and I already feel like I am beginning to settle in like a real Dane.  But to recount the whole experience well, I will start from the beginning.

I felt like I was leaving the United States the minute I set foot in the Airport.  Although I have traveled through LAX multiple times and feel like I know the place like the back of my hand, it was a whole new experience. The check-in personnel all had accents of different sorts, and security was full of people speaking quickly to each other in different languages.  The international terminal is VERY large.  Waiting in the terminal was what made me even more excited-and also a little bit more anxious-about what I had just gotten myself into. Every person there except myself and a few other young travelors were speaking english. I suddenly thought, what was I planning to do when I landed in Frankfurt? Speak German? So I quickly pulled out my little DIS booklet with helpful phrases and tried to learn some Danish words. I would have to improvise in Frankfurt!

The flight itself was pretty easy. Almost every flight attendant was speaking German, and several times they would turn to me and say something I didn’t understand assuming I understood.  I was flattered-it means I may fit in pretty well here! At least I will look like a Dane when I walk to class and take the bus every day. I was also lucky enough to be seated next to a native of Copenhagen who helped me learn some Danish words and decipher the map of the city. She also gave me her contact information, and told me that I was welcome to her house for dinner if I ever had the time.  The rumors are true-the Danish are some of the most welcoming and friendly people you will ever meet.

After I finally arrived at my residential building and met my roommate (Elizabeth, who is extremely nice ) I was able to sleep for a few short hours before waking up at 7 am for my first day in the city.  After the opening ceremony, we went on a scavenger hunt that led us to several of the landmarks around Copenhagen, and was designed to help us get used to the city’s layout.   After my group tried several times to successfully reach each landmark (with several stops in cafes and bagel shops along the way in order to warm up), everybody gave up because of the cold and we took the bus home. This was the first time I had the chance to really see the city, and it was so beautiful.  The streets are covered with cobblestones and every building is gorgeous (and old!). Another important thing to note at this point is that Copenhagen is absolutely one of the coldest places on earth. 32 degrees (Fahrenheit) in this city is far colder than 32 degrees in Dallas, Texas, or anywhere else in the United States.  Guaranteed.  It was impossible to take our hands out of our pockets or gloves without them becoming completely useless; I couldn’t even turn the page of my map! This was the main reason why we gave up. Nobody knew exactly where we were going, so we used our map and ended up guessing which stops we were supposed to get off at on the bus.  Danish street names are also very long, making it even more of a challenge. But as it was everyone’s first time at the rodeo, we were all lost together! Although I am pretty tired, I have reached the end of a long but highly successful first-day in Denmark.

Tak!
Clara

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