Boston College junior Lauren Lynch feels a world away from home in a land where handball is big and locals smack their lips at pickled herring, liver pâté (leverpostej) and rye bread (rugbrod). But that sense of being steeped in a different culture is what Lynch sought in choosing to study at Kobenhavns Universitet in Copenhagen.
A LITTLE FOREIGN AID: "I had heard that the Danish could be somewhat more reserved, almost to the extent of being classified as 'standoffish' and I worried about being able to integrate at all, or really delve into the culture at all. However, I think having three Danish roommates was a huge, huge help in overcoming that."
BIKER CULTURE: "In reading about various cities and universities, I came across Copenhagen and fell in love with the descriptions of the charm of the cycling, cafe-loving, fashion-forward, liberal culture."
NO LOVE FOR LICORICE: Lynch says the strangest local food she has encountered is lakrids sostjerner: salty black licorice. "It is absolutely horrible." Nonetheless, the kids love it. "Young children actually crave the stuff, and I can't imagine eating it myself, let alone giving it to a young child to enjoy."
PLEASE AND THANK YOU: "It is interesting that there is no word in Danish for please, so in situations where you might say please, you simply use the Danish word 'tak' instead, which means 'thank you,' which, to a native English speaker, can sometimes feel as though it has the connotation of prematurely assuming a service be granted."
NIGHT OWLS AND EARLY BIRDS: "That is one thing about the night life culture that is very different here. Acceptable, normal times of arriving home at the end of a night range between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m." But it helps make friends. "I have found that the international student population is very outgoing, and if you are willing to suffer perhaps from a slight insufficiency of sleep during the first few weeks here as a sacrifice for building strong social ties, then meeting people is not difficult at all and is quite fun."