Hverdagen hos en værtsfamilie og efter-refleksioner hjemme i USA

Hvordan oplever DIS-studerende egentlig hverdagen hos en værtsfamilie? Halvvejs inde i det forgangne semester fangede vi DIS-studerende Sophia til en snak om, hvorfor hun sætter så stor pris på at bo hos en værtsfamilie, og hvordan dagligdagen forløber. Nu er Sophia hjemme i USA, og hun har skrevet en opfølgning til os, som I kan læse nederst.

Sophia er 20 år, fra Chicago og læste Medical Practice & Policy hos DIS. Hendes værtsfamilie bor i Vanløse, og hun var familiens tredje DIS-studerende. Sophias to værtssøstre er henholdsvis 10 år og 14 år.

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Sophia (th) med hele sin værtsfamilie

Sophia, how is your homestay experience? Tell us about your everyday life, and why you enjoy it so much?

I really like my homestay! Back in Chicago I actually live at home, so I really like to have a home environment here to come back to every day. It is so nice to actually have a family here.

The first night I was here, my host family asked me if I wanted to have a weekly evening where I cooked dinner. But since I never cooked before, I said it was maybe better that I just helped out if they gave me instructions, or do the dishes instead. But it is absolutely amazing, because the two kids have their own food day. The 10-year-old is guided by her parents, but the 14-year-old is cooking all by herself. That is so fascinating and inspiring to me. When we eat during the weekdays, dinner conversations are held in English. Even though it is challenging to the kids, they practice their English a lot. And if there is something they want to say, they are allowed to say it in Danish after having given it a try in English.

Other than that, we watch TV on Friday nights or watch X factor and Danmark har talent. I am going to many events with them, like birthdays and gatherings. On Saturday, I am going to one of my host sibling’s final dance shows, and I am so excited to see it. It is the finale show closing down the season, so she has been practicing a lot.

Usually during the weekdays, my host parents and I sit in the kitchen after dinner and discuss stuff like the differences between Denmark and the U.S. on topics like the education system, transportation, hospitals, or we talk about the technological development of the world and how that affects our everyday life.

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It really seems like you enjoy living with your homestay. What have you especially noticed and learned from it?

Well, I think that overall it is the best way to get immersed in Danish culture. In my Scandinavian Crime Fiction course at DIS we discuss how important family is in Scandinavian countries. And I can really sense that. In my family in the States we rarely eat together, because we are always on the run and no one is ever at home at the same time. So it is more of a coincidence, if we realize that we are all at home, and we can have dinner together. But with my host family here in Denmark, dinner is served at the same time every night, and I love to have that to look forward to during my day. Not only because it is delicious food, but also because of the talks we have and the new perspectives I get. I’m so lucky to live with a host family!

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Sophias semester i Danmark sluttede i midten af maj, og hun har nu haft en god måneds tid til at vænne sig til dagligdagen hjemme i Chicago. Vi har været i kontakt med Sophia for at høre, hvordan det er at være tilbage, og hvad hun har taget med sig hjem fra sin oplevelser hos en dansk værtsfamilie.  

What do you miss about your homestay?

Oh I miss so much about my host family! I legitimately don’t know how to answer this question. My host mom’s little “have a nice day” notes in the morning, learning Danish words at dinner, trampolining with my host sisters, all the long talks I had with my host parents, delicious dinners, Friday night TV, and candy and blankets on the couch. There’s just so much!

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How was the goodbye and how is it to be back in the States?

I’m actually really glad to be back home – I didn’t realize how much I missed my Chicago family until my sister and I were suddenly hugging and crying at the airport. They actually all came to visit me in Copenhagen, so it was really great to have them meet my Danish family. It was a lovely dinner, and I think a good way for me to transition from study abroad life back into U.S. life again. The day of my goodbye to Denmark, my parents and sister stayed at an apartment downtown, so my final goodbye with my host family was just me and them. It was on a work day, so we all woke up extra early and had a giant breakfast with all our favorite wienerbrod and it was lovely. (I’m actually tearing up just remembering it). We hugged a lot and I cried and my 10 year old host sister cried and then my host dad was so nice to drive me with all my luggage to meet my parents so I wouldn’t have to lug it all on the metro.

Now that you are back and can look back at your homestay experience, what have you gained from it the most?

There are many valuable things I have gained from living in a homestay, one simply being good friends in Denmark 🙂 But also, I think being in a homestay has given me extra insight into the life and culture of Danes, which I wouldn’t have gotten simply from living in a dorm with other Americans or even from discussions in my Danish Language and Culture course. You’re not just talking about or observing the culture – you are actually participating in it.


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