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Danish Language Course with flæskesteg and rød grød med fløde, pleaseDanish Language Course with flæskesteg and rød grød med fløde, please

You have probably been asked numerous times to say the phrases “Rød grød med fløde” and “Fem flade flødeboller på et fladt flødebollefad” only to be almost too enthusiastically taught how to pronounce it. Now, you can improve your Danish with IA Sprog.

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By Nicolai Guldager Agernem | 14 February 2018 

Technological advances and the ever ‘-shrinking’ world allow us to travel to distant foreign countries, collaborate and compete with people from all over the world, and create invaluable social relations across cultures and continents. Pivotal for navigating this shrinking world is language, which allows us to facilitate the many nuanced challenges of facing, learning, and living in a new culture.

You have probably been asked numerous times to say the phrases “Rød grød med fløde” and “Fem flade flødeboller på et fladt flødebollefad” only to be almost too enthusiastically taught how to pronounce it. Danes simply do not appreciate the difficulty of pronouncing the “R”-sound in “Rød” especially when followed by the off-putting “Ø”-sound and the almost vibrating soft “D”-sound (phonetically written as ðˀ). Our dear Scandinavian neighbours in Sweden and Norway claim we have a potato in our throat. Actually, Danes probably appreciate the difficulty of pronouncing Danish words a bit too much.

There is no denying that the written letters in Danish transform in mysterious ways when uttered out loud. But just like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts, help is readily available for those who seek it. Metropolitan University College offers Danish language courses in collaboration with IA Sprog. The language courses will cover lessons on pronunciation, grammar, and even culture. Oh, and by the way – it is free of charge! However, new legislation requires a refundable deposit of DKK 1.250. 

Read more about IA Sprog and their modules here

22-year-old Portuguese exchange student Cláudia Faria, who studies Biomedical Laboratory Science at Instituto Politecnico de Lisboa in Portugal, spent a semester in Denmark for an internship at Rigshospitalet in collaboration with Metropolitan University College. Cláudia Faria enrolled in the IA Sprog Danish language programme and she was full of praise on the experience, ‘The teacher was amazing, very easy-going, and flexible in scheduling the classes.’

IA Sprog offers Danish language courses on different levels of difficulty. The language courses are designed to adhere to the goals and structure of the ‘Act on Danish Language Courses for Adult Foreigners’. The weekly class focuses on verbal communication, pronunciation, and grammar. You will quickly acquire basic Danish language skills to navigate at university and at work in addition to new friendships and insight into Danish culture.

After following the language course for a little while, Cláudia Faria found it much easier conversing and understanding Danish culture when she first delved into the language itself, ‘I started to feel at home because I was able to understand and participate in some Danish small talk at work,’ she said. ‘And the best thing is that you can actually see that Danes love it when you embrace their culture, and that encourages you to learn even more.’

Cláudia Faria was confidently uttering some Danish sentences with much authenticity. When I met Cláudia Faria, I could not resist the temptation of hearing the infamous four-word sentence “rød grød med fløde”. I was half preparing the almost inevitable 5 minutes of (too enthusiastic) teaching of the different sounds of “R”, “Ø”, and “D”, but then she somehow managed to utter the sentence with much authenticity – and followed up with a casual, ‘What is it anyway?’

We at Metropolitan University College do our best to help integrating our exchange students in their educational programmes, internship, and society. Going abroad, living in a new home, meet new people, new culture, new food, and new educational programme – the challenges are there for everyone to see. 

Read more about exchange programmes with Metropolitan University College here.

The International Department at Metropolitan University College organises a series of introduction events for exchange students. When I asked Cláudia Faria about the biggest challenge of going abroad she quickly responded, ‘Doing everything myself, you know, like laundry’. The “Welcome Week” is where Cláudia Faria first learned to embrace all the help available, ‘Metropol made it better with Welcome Week and other social events such as seeing touristy stuff, it was a great way to meet new people and new cultures. We could share our problems or fun stories.’

The most important thing when going abroad is – of course - to learn. However, learning is not necessarily constrained to books or explicit knowledge acquisition. Interpersonal and intercultural skills are rapidly becoming more and more important. For Cláudia Faria, those intangible skills were probably the catalyst for learning more during her internship. The language course and the willingness to learn the culture allowed her to understand the Danish jargon during lunch and understand some of the cultural quirks of Denmark. In some ways, it was the catalyst for appreciating Danish humour, rugbrød, and flæskesteg – and feeling “at home”

Cláudia Faria really managed the nuanced challenges of facing, learning, and living in a new culture, ‘I think I am falling in love with this country, and I think I owe that to the people. As they took me in as one of them, I became even more motivated to learn their culture, and be part of… it,’ she said. ‘This has been the best experience of my life.’