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Verena in Denmark

Image by Verena
Image by Verena

About three months ago my ERASMUS + semester in Denmark started. I cannot believe how fast time flies. On the one hand it feels as if I would have been here only a few days and on the other hand, I have the feeling that I have lived here for years. It is crazy how fast you can feel comfortable in another place.
In the end of January, after packing my luggage and freaking out about leaving home, I finally flew from Vienna to Billund in Denmark with one stopover in Copenhagen. After driving with the bus for a while I finally arrived in Haderslev, a small, loveable city in the south of Denmark. (Don’t try to say “Haderslev” – it is almost impossible!)

In Haderslev I live in a big house opposite the archeological museum together with one of my Erasmus colleges from Germany. We share the kitchen, the living room and the bathroom, but we both have our own cozy bedroom. Our Landlord, which is also one of our teachers at the university, lives also in the same house, but we have different apartments and separate entries to the house, so we hardly ever see her.

It’s so interesting to live with someone from another country. Even though my flatmate and I speak the same language we are totally different in our culture and habits. We often discuss our lifestyles, traditions, and thoughts about various topics also with other students.

Here in Denmark, I study at the University College Syddanmark (UCSyd) which has a small campus with a very familiar atmosphere. Due to the fact that it is so small the teachers know our names, take care of us and they all build up a relationship to their students. As there are only 1400 students you easily get to know other international and Danish students and you quickly make friends all over the world.

The university is offering a well-organized Erasmus program for teacher education. It is called Living and Learning together and consists of three different courses. Education and Culture in Europe, which is mandatory for all, and two other courses we could choose out of four.
As we don’t have a lot of classes here some of us (including me) decided to do an additional course of 10 ECTS. Besides “Education and Culture in Europe” I have the courses “Youth Culture Expressed through Music”, “Creative learning and innovation in schools” and “Outdoor Living and Learning for world citizenship”. All four courses I have are very interesting and based on practical work. We have done an excursion, Workshops, group work etc. and we are always integrated into the lessons.

Education and Culture in Europe
– Education systems in Denmark and Europe
– creating our own Dream schools
– philosophy based on the book “Momo” (High-speed society; waste of time; what is happiness)
– school practice (2 weeks + some additional lessons now and then in different schools)
– pedagogical thinkers

Creative learning and innovation
– playing games
– learning about different methods
– creative learning in schools
– Art
– Drama
– Movements

Outdoor Living and Learning
– outdoor learning
– living three days in an iron-age-inspired village (no electricity, running water, heating..)
– searching for fossils
– fishing
– 30 km hike
– workshops with students

Youth Culture Expressed through Music
– recording your own song
– several songs performed in groups
– making a cartoon about the time when your parent was 18
– workshops with students
– listening to music and drinking a glass of red wine now and then

Not only our classes at the university but also the classes in schools are totally different compared to Austria. Here in Denmark, everything is focused on group work and practical work and less individual work and theory. The motto of Danish teachers is “happy learning, happy children” and they always want to create a “hygelig” atmosphere.

The Danish people are all very helpful, no matter where you are (supermarket, on the bus, on the streets etc). As there is a German minority here in Haderslev you easily find someone that speaks German that’s why I never had problems with communication so far.

To sum up, I really love it here and I’m already sad when I think about going home in less than seven weeks. Denmark is a great place to study and I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

Med venlig hilsen fra Denmark,
Verena

 

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