“My favorite small moment with my host family was when I got back from class, and my host brother started dancing to the song ‘Feels’ by Calvin Harris. He was wearing his striped bathrobe, dinosaur slippers, Louise’s sunglasses, a huge gold watch, and carrying a soft baseball bat. We were all laughing while he was sporting some great dance moves!”
Caroline, 20 år, læser et semester hos DIS i København i efteråret 2017, og hun bor hos en værtsfamilie i Klampenborg. Hun er opvokset i Massachusetts og læser til dagligt på Bates College i Maine.
Hi Caroline! Thanks for meeting with us! Tell us about your homestay – who are they and what makes them special to you?
I am staying in a homestay with a mother Louise and her 11-year-old son, Christian. Louise is a massage therapist, a nutritionist, and a wonderful mother. What makes my host family so special to me is how open they have been with me about their lives. Louise and I talk for hours about our families and she has been so welcoming. She was actually an exchange student herself in Australia when she was in high school, so she knows what it is like to be away from home and to experience a totally new culture. I am their first exchange student so it has been really fun getting to know them both. I have also never had a younger brother and I’ve had a blast playing soccer and hanging out with Christian! I absolutely adore him!
Why did you choose homestay?
I wanted the opportunity to be with a Danish family because I felt like the best way to immerse myself culturally is through directly hearing the Danish language, eating meals and talking about our days at dinner, and learning about history directly from a family that has lived here for their whole lives.
What is the biggest cultural difference so far you have discovered between your homestay here and your family back at home?
I would say the biggest cultural difference between my homestay and my family back at home is how in Denmark, meals are longer and most often eaten together. With my family at home, Sundays are typically the time to eat meals together because it is a nice way to end the week and we know we will all be present. In Denmark, I have eaten every meal with my host family and usually, they are longer because it’s a time to share, relax, and talk. There are no phones that create a barrier between real conversation! I actually really like it because it stresses the importance of taking time out of your day to be with the people that are important to you and I feel like I could definitely do that with my family at home more.
What is something you or your hosts initiated in this first week together that was a good icebreaker to get to know each other?
The first couple of days in my homestay, Louise brought me around Taarbaek and showed me her favorite places. We went to The Bread Station in Charlottenlund where she gets her bread and introduced me to the owner. We also went grocery shopping together and she had me pick out a few things I liked, which was so nice of her. Christian wasn’t with us yet because he was at his dad’s house but we talked about how he was so excited to meet me. The thing that was a good icebreaker for us was when we went on an hour walk in the deer garden together. The walk sort of forced us to get past the surface level conversation and to dive deeper into talking about who we are as people. It was a beautiful day, and I felt more comfortable after because I was able to share a lot already with my host mom.
And what happened when you met Christian?
When Christian and I met for the first time, I was really nervous because he didn’t speak much English to me and only really spoke Danish to Louise. However, I downloaded the Duolingo app to learn more Danish with him and it ended up being a nice icebreaker moment because he was helping me play the app and it was a way for us to communicate.
And just the other day, on his way home from soccer practice, he told his mom he was going to speak English that night. He only spoke English and we were so surprised! It really made me smile and he has really gotten a lot better at it. Christian is with us every other week, and as soon as he comes home and sees me he runs to give me the biggest hug and smiles so wide. He has never had a sibling before and I love being a big sister to him!
What is your favorite small moment you’ve shared with your family so far?
My favorite small moment that I’ve shared with my family so far was when I got back from class the other day, and Louise told me Christian wanted to put on a show for us. As I was taking off my shoes near the door, Christian bursts into the kitchen and starts dancing to the song ‘Feels’ by Calvin Harris. The best part about it was he was wearing his striped bathrobe, dinosaur slippers, Louise’s sunglasses, a huge gold watch, and carrying a soft baseball bat. He is so goofy and we were all laughing while he was sporting some great dance moves! After that, we had a nice walk on the beach and found a beautiful spot to eat some amazing flødeboller!