“One Sunday we made pancakes for a hyggelig afternoon. I had an initial shock because these were NOT American pancakes, but instead they had ice cream and jam on top.”
Hallie, 20 år, læser et semester hos DIS i København i efteråret 2017, og hun bor hos en værtsfamilie i Søborg. Hun er opvokset på Rhode Island og læser til dagligt på Santa Clara University i Californien.
Hi Hallie! Thanks for meeting with us! Tell us about your homestay – who are they and what makes them special to you?
“My homestay is in Søborg, and it is honestly the best part of being abroad. Whether it be watching soccer games after dinner, playing cards and drinking tea, or discussing our days at dinner, we enjoy being together.
My host parents are Katrine and Jesper. He works for a startup doing computer science work, and she works for the Ministry of Finance, and they make me feel so welcome and comfortable.
The youngest, Eva is 7, we play games and jump on the trampoline. She doesn’t speak English so it has been interesting trying to figure out other ways to communicate with her. She has been learning words and phrases in English, and our communication includes a lot of mimicking and thumbs up or down. The middle son, David is 12, and we have found common ground cooking dinner together, and watching soccer games. He is very funny and I have enjoyed getting to see him become more comfortable with me.
The oldest daughter Marie is 14, and wise beyond her years. She is at the age that we can just be friends, so we Snapchat during the day and do grocery shopping together, and watch TV and listen to music. We have just started watching The Voice (US edition) together at night while we drink tea and it is usually the best part of my day.”
Why did you choose to live with a host family?
“I wanted a homestay because I really wanted to have that support system since everything was going to be so new to me. Having a family to come home to after long, tiring, and sometimes very wet days is such a great reward. Also, since we are in class with primarily American students, I thought this would be a perfect way to get immersed in Danish culture. My first official day at DIS, my host mom rode the bus in with me and dropped me off at the meeting point. I would have been so flustered without her, and felt so much more comfortable with someone showing me where to go.”
What is the biggest obstacle so far you have discovered between your homestay here and your family back at home?
“The biggest obstacle I have faced has just been learning to speak up for myself. When there is a small problem, or I just want something at the grocery store, it sometimes feels as though I could be imposing on my family. Whereas at home it is so easy to just tell your parents what you want. However, what I have realized is that Danes especially are very upfront about things, and if you need something chances are if you just ask they will not be offended and will be more than happy to get it for you or help you figure out a way to get it yourself.”
What is your favorite small moment you’ve shared with your family so far?
“My favorite small moment has been different with each member of the family. With the youngest, Eva, she always comes and asks me, “do you want to jump?” (her only English), asking if I want to go jump on the trampoline with her. I love seeing her pure enjoyment and we can just laugh and play together. Also, every night she rates the dinner that we had by giving me a thumbs up, down, or in the middle. It is funny to see her reaction when she doesn’t like the meal, and also gives us another way to communicate.”
“With David, the middle son, he has been helping me learn some Danish, and now has phrases he always says to me. He left to go on a school trip for the week, and we joked about how tragic it would be that he would not be home on Wednesday to cook for us (he cooks dinner on Wednesday nights) and how we would all starve without him. I love seeing how proud he is of the dinners that he cooks.
Marie, the oldest, and I have spent the most time together, and I think the best part about that is that we are starting to develop inside jokes and now we are always laughing together. We watch tv, she tells me about problems at school, and we do homework in my room together. Some of my funniest moments with her are when my host mom does something funny (unintentionally, as Moms do) and Marie and I just cannot stop laughing over it. These tend to be running jokes for weeks to come.”
“With the whole family, one Sunday we had an afternoon of hygge and we played games and made pancakes. There was an initial shock because these pancakes are NOT American pancakes, instead they are crepes that you fill with ice cream and jam. Marie, Eva, and I spent the morning making them, and we all had so much fun spending the day hanging out together.
My homestay has definitely been the best part of my abroad experience so far.”
What is something you or your hosts initiated in this first week together that was a good icebreaker to get to know each other?
“During the first couple of weeks, I think it was really good to have all of our meals together. We also do little things like help get dinner ready, or go to the store that can facilitate conversation or just being together. Also playing games has been a really good way to play with the youngest one, who can’t really talk to me. Every night, I sit down with the parents and watch the news or something else that is on TV. We also went to the F.C. København game together which was really fun and provided us with a good environment to come together with a specific goal.”