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I am now enrolled full time on a course called “GIF”. It is a super intensive 1 year course, where I will achieve a “studentereksamen” – a typical Danish school leaving qualification – by next Summer.

It was daunting doing everything in Danish. On my first day there, the introduction speech about the course was punctuated by a lot of laughs. Not that I understood much of it – I was extremely nervous, and it is really hard to concentrate on listening to a foreign language when your attention is all going into how uncomfortable you are feeling!

But then suddenly I tried to reframe the situation and think a lot more positively: ”I am going to get so good at Danish by the end of this course!”

To my relief, the average age of students seem to be in late twenties… many of them have families and are married (often to Danes or Danish citizens). Most of them have only been in Denmark for a few years, so we have all learned this language very quickly and are all extremely motivated.

The quality of teaching is outstanding. The teachers really care about including all the students and helping them feel welcome – in the first lesson many teachers came up and shook everyone’s hand and did a personal introduction. Things are explained very clearly (enough for me to follow along in Danish, anyway!) and I’m just incredibly impressed by how prepared and engaged the teachers are.

There is also a lot of group work in every subject, which helps my Danish massively. I am really, really grateful for that. In just two days on the course, I’ve taken part in several long discussions all in Danish. It is such a boost to my confidence, and I am finally beginning to really enjoy this language!

It is good that I am practising speaking, too. There are a lot of verbal examinations! Some of these are in subjects I would never expect a verbal examination in – such as maths. Then there are some subjects which only have verbal assessments, such as history and biology. This absolutely blows my mind!

There is also an average of just over two hours of homework every day on this course, so I may have to concede a drop in quality for my blog posts until next Summer (I’m sure you can understand why). For example, this blog post deliberately doesn’t have a picture or any hyperlinks to stuff, I simply don’t have the time to do add that right now.

Bizarrely, I got a chance to practise some Thai language on my second day on the course as I found out a lady from my class is from Thailand. She was very surprised that I could speak Thai! The really surprising thing is that she already knew of me – it turns out we have a mutual friend who went to my old language school! I was apparently described as a “language genius”. I was flattered! It is nice when you find out you are unknowingly building a good reputation. I definitely don’t see myself as a language genius, but I will add one final thing to this blog post which makes me smile:

A week from now, I’ll have been in Denmark for two years. One year from now, I will have a Danish “studentereksamen”. It takes a regular native Dane three years to get their studentereksamen as part of their gymnasium education.

Have a good week, and I’ll see you next Sunday!

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