Pround Momma of a Danish Exchange Student

Congradulate me–I’m going to be the pround Momma of a Danish exchange student! Whooppee!!! It’s only going to be two weeks at the end of September, and she’s a college student here visiting one of our local colleges, but boy howdy are Hallboy and I excited. We’ve hosted a couple of other students/interns, but this is our first one from another county. She’ll be at the college all day (9-4), but evenings and weekends she’ll be with us, so we already have a few things we’d like to see if she wants to visit and see. (How familiar are the Danes with the Amish?) I don’t know what her traveling restrictions are, but if possible I’d like us all to take the train to Philadelphia for the day and let her see that as well. (Hallboy and I and the student–not our entire Doper community, but ya’ll are welcome if you’d like to come.)

So, Danish Dopers, want to give me any information about Danish way of life? Are there any big social No-No’s I should be aware of going into this?

Hallgirl2, who was a exchange student for year in Istanbul, said to learn one or two general words in the student’s language, that even if I screw them up, she’ll be pleased that I made the effort. So, what word(s) should Hallboy and I attempt to learn?

OOHHHHH, I’m so EXCITED! :smiley:

Jeeze Louise. That’s a proud Momma of a Danish Exchange Student. :smack:
Preview, preview, preview…

Not danish, but I can tell you that all I knew about Amish before going to Philly is that “it’s some religious group and they drive buggies rather than cars and stuff like that”. Shopping in the market showed me that they’re not “against all things new”, since they have refrigerators; it spurned my interest into doing some more research.

Markets similar to that one are common in Spain but very uncommon in the States. No idea whether they’re common in Denmark. One of the shocking/giggly things for many Europeans going to the US is that your definition of “antique” would barely be considered “used” over here (in Spain it isn’t an antique unless it’s at least 100 years old).

Her travel restrictions shouldn’t preclude day trips with you; I think it would be good to offer her a “shopping for presents for people back home trip”, asking what kind of stuff would she like to buy. My family likes coffee-table books or stuff that you can’t get back home; other people prefer stuff that you could get at home but which is cheaper “over there”. Of course, those are bought in different places.

Good on you! - thank you for taking one of my countrymen under your wing.

Danes tend to be a rather laid-back lot when it comes to social interaction, I honestly can’t think of any faux pas that would lead to severe awkwardness. A student who ventures out in the big world will probably be eager to try to assimilate as much as possible - part of the adventure, see ?

I’d think a Dane would be very interested in learning about the Amish - Denmark is old farmland and from what I know about the Amish, it may be a bit of a time trip.

One word of warning: Danish TV broadcasts a lot of US series etc., with two consequences: On is that most Danes speak passable Englich - but on the flip side, when Danes (even in Denmark) drop or break something, they tend to curse in correct, but very colourful, 4-letter English.

I’ll see if I can come up with a few words in Danish later today…

I’ve hosted a number of people in your neck of the woods - at least, I think you’re in Harrisburg (I was in York at the time). Trips through Lancaster were often enjoyed - typically driving around and gawking, then stopping at one of the many Pennyslvania Dutch gift shops followed by a stop at the Rockvale outlets to shop in a ‘oh my, everything is so cheap!’ kind of way. Baseball games were also a big hit. We always went to Orioles games but Phillies would be just fine. All of the people I’d host were camp counselors and so the last thing they wanted to do on time off was anything outdoorsy - but they did all enjoy some of the great hiking in the area before the novelty wore off. In south central PA, there MUST be a town or county fair within spitting distance of you during that time frame - excellent for people watching and a funnel cake.

That is such a great area for this kind of hosting - have fun!

I can think of some cool things she might like that aren’t too far from you. Knoebels, Hershey Park, Strassburg Railway, Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival/ Mt Hope Winery

I can’t speak a single Danish word, but chocolate and wine would seem to be a decent good-will gesture. (They also do ‘Poe’ performances at Mt Hope around Halloween and ‘A Christmas Carol’ nearer to Christmas.)

The war memorial at the train station. Sorry, but I like the Stalinesque Social Realism style. I find it very moving.

When I was a student in high school, an exchange student from Flekkefjord Norway came to our school and talked to us about his country. I still have the copy of his hometown newspaper that he gave me. I developed an interest in Scandanavia because of that encounter and I promised myself that I would visit his country some day. It took eleven years, but I made it!

Eventually, I stayed most of the summer with a family in Denmark and returned to visit them at Christmas. You will not find anyone more agreeable or likeable than the Danes!

I’m not sure of the spelling – I think it’s “Tak fer dey” – but it’s pronounced, I think, TOCK FUR DAY. (It means Thanks for that!) Spiney may correct me!

HI! means the same thing in both languages, but I think it’s spelled differently.

One funny thing to ask your guest to do is to say “strawberries and cream” in Danish. It is something that is impossible to say in English, but it is a delight to hear.

You are going to have so much fun and I’m sure your guest will too!

I’m living with a host family right now. It can be a very rewarding experience, but also a trying one. Here are a few bits of advice.

Give them space. Let them know it’s okay to hide in their room for a while. Don’t be offended if they want to spend a weekend or two lazing around by themselves.

Give them a chance to have their friends over now and then. Offer to host a party, or to have them come watch TV after school. It can be hard to maintain friendships when you have no space of your own.

Invite them to things like weddings, parties, etc. They may not want to go, but they will appreciate the invitation. And if they do go it will be a rewarding cultural experience.

Be infinitely patiant with the language. It can be really hard to have someone living in your house that you can’t talk to, but it’s even harder to live in someone’s house and have trouble communicating basic needs. Don’t let them see you frusterated.