I har måske hørt om dem, eller endda mødt nogle til forskellige DIS arrangementer – de såkaldte ”DIS Interns”. Men hvem er de, og hvad laver de?
I begyndelsen af hvert semester ansætter DIS 20 tidligere studerende i et 13-15-måneders langt praktikophold. Praktikanterne arbejder fuldtid i vores forskellige afdelinger og får et stort administrativt ansvar, da de kender vores studerende rigtig godt – de har jo selv været studerende kun relativt kort tid forinden. DIS blev etableret i 1959 og har siden fungeret som en vigtig del af dansk-amerikansk kulturudveksling. De amerikanske interns spiller en vigtig rolle i det store arbejde, vi laver på DIS.
Vi har talt med to nuværende interns, som alle boede hos værtsfamilier, da de var studerende. Da de fik en praktikplads hos DIS, flyttede de begge ind hos deres værtsfamilier igen.
#What do you like most about Denmark?
Rachel: “Even though my list of favorite things about Denmark is endless, it is often difficult to put into words what exactly it is that makes Denmark so special, but I think what especially stands out to me are the people and their relationships. Everyone here seems so authentic and kind. Even though foreigners portray Danes as being standoffish, I have quickly come to realize that this is not necessarily true. Someone once described Danes as onions; they have many layers that you need to peel off, in order to get to know them. I have learned that once those layers are gone, you have a Danish friend, or maybe even a Danish family, for life.”
Pippa: I loved my host family. I was their first host student, so it was a learning process on both sides. We established a pretty special bond during my time here. They even taught me how to ride a bike. Now that I’m back in Copenhagen, I bike as part of my route everyday to get to work.
#What made you apply for an internship at DIS?
Rachel: “The number one reason I applied to become a DIS intern is my Danish host family. My experience living with them was amazing. They instantly became my second family. This was even possible despite the fact that my younger two Danish siblings did not speak a word of English and I did not know a word of Danish upon first arriving to Denmark. By living with a Danish family, I was able to gain a unique perspective inside Danish daily life and culture, which is exactly what I wanted from my study abroad experience. My incredible Danish family and my experiences with them are what encouraged me to apply to DIS, especially in the Housing and Student Affairs department. I wanted to be able to give back to the department that had the most positive impact on my study abroad experience.”
Pippa: “During my job application process during my senior year of college, a few people who also studied at DIS throughout the years recommended that I apply. I also recalled my great experiences on tour with Steve Olsen, who was an intern while I was a student. He really made my core course travel weeks extremely enjoyable and I got to talk to him more about what his job at DIS entailed.”
#How did it come about, that you ended up staying with your host family again?
Rachel: “While I was a student at DIS two years ago, I had told my host family about the DIS internship program. My host parents immediately decided that their house would always be open to me if I ever returned. Throughout the process of applying to DIS, my host parents offered support and advice, and even wrote me a letter of recommendation. At first, after receiving the job offer, I was slightly nervous to share this with my host parents. Even though they had promised their home to me, I knew that 15 months was a long time to commit to hosting me again. Fortunately, all my fears were relieved when I could not put it off any longer and asked if it was still okay that I come back to live with them, and my Danish mom said “our home is open for you.”
Pippa: “After I found out that I got the job at DIS, I sent my host family an email to let them know. We never lost contact after I was a student. They weren’t scheduled to host a student this semester so they told me that I was more than welcome to come back and be a part of the family again. I was thrilled!”
#Have your hosts visited you and your family in the US?
Rachel: “My hosts never had the opportunity to visit me in the States. They were going to visit in the spring of 2015, but ended up deciding to wait until the children were older. Right now, they are currently trying to talk my American family of four into coming to visit us in Denmark.”
Pippa: “No, but one of my host sisters has informed me, that I have no choice but to marry a Dane but have the wedding in the Bahamas, so they can all come visit.”
#How is it to be back in Denmark compared to when you were a student? And how is it to live with your hosts again?
Rachel: Being back in Denmark is obviously incredible – and indescribable. I would say that I definitely have now placed more of an emphasis on fully immersing myself in Danish culture. I have enrolled in a language school, where I take Danish lessons, and I prioritize aspects my daily life so that Danish culture is always at the top. My Danish family is always number one J. Living with my Danish family again is a dream come true. My siblings are now two years older than they were before – six and eight – and our relationship has only grown. They are one of the main reasons of why I prioritize going to Danish lessons every week. My host parents are wonderful as well, with my host mom sharing Danish cooking with me, and my host dad staying up late watching American football with me. Recently, my Danish mom spent the morning searching for graduate programs I could apply to in Denmark (I think she wants me to stay forever). I cannot imagine both my experience as a student and now as an intern without my Danish family. They make Denmark feel like home, so much that I yearn for it while I am away.
My relationship with my homestay has only strengthened since my return. Between the time I was a student and returned as an intern (a long 17 months), I stayed in contact with my Danish family. We Facetimed during birthdays and Christmas, wrote to each other often, and shared pictures. I feel even more a part of their family than before. My host dad enjoys introducing me to his friends as his “American daughter.” Already since my return back to Denmark, I have been to Jylland to stay with my mormor and also my morfar, and sted-mormor, and I will be spending Christmas with my Danish family in Jylland as well.
Pippa: I am lot busier as an intern than as a student, but that was expected. I really think the transition as an intern went a lot smoother. I already knew how to get around, the best places to grab coffee and read a book. I also had a home base, family and friends already here. I really felt like just going to my second home. Living with my host family again has really been a joy. Its crazy to see how much their children have grown and matured and as an only child, I enjoy being in a full house.
# In few words, what makes your host family the best?
Rachel: “My host family is the best because my Danish dad always lets me have the last portion of food at dinner.”
Pippa: “My host family is the best because they have always treated me like a part of the family. I love all of the conversations we have about travel, food, politics, etc. and culture. It’s all of the little things like inviting me to events with extended family and friends and the big things like surprising me for my birthday by inviting our neighbors over with a lovely dinner, cake, coffee, presents and of course a lot of hygge! BUT ALSO: Saturday night post-dinner “Barnaby hygge””