Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Intro Campin'- I've had the time of my life

This past week from, Sunday to Sunday, I was at my Rotary intro camp in the town of Bjerringbro on Jutland. We stayed at a boarding school type place that students go to for only a few weeks at a time to sort of figure out what they want to do or at least that's how I understood it. There was one other group there and it was a large group of elderly people who were constantly shushing us. Finally we asked our teacher why they were there and he said it was somewhat of a nostalgia thing for them.
On Sunday I got on the train in Odense with around 10 other exchange students from the surrounding areas on Fyn. The train was packed with exchange students. I think there were 3 cars full of us, but we all felt a little bit bad for the people that had the other seats in our cars since it was very loud the whole way there (about 2.5 hours), but were constantly apologizing to them. We arrived at the station and around maybe 120 of us got off. We got assigned our room mates; mine was a girl named Susan Alexis from Massachusetts. The rest of the day we just had a short introduction where we met our teachers and the rest of our class mates. I was in a class with a teacher named Emil and 19 other students from all over the world. The majority of the students seemed to be from Brazil, Canada, and the United States. The rest were from other South American countries, Taiwan, Japan,  Mexico, and one girl from Lithuania (the only one from Europe). Then we had more free time, dinner, and then we took a short walk in the town and had tea in a park, which was nice; after that was more free time.
On Monday the regular routine began:
7:15: wake up
8:00: breakfast
8:45: morning assembly telling the day's schedule/activities
9:15: class starts- Danish lessons for many hours
12:00: lunch/ free time
1:30: back to Danish class
4:30: free time
6:30: dinner
7:30: evening activities with the teachers
9:00: free time
11:00: time to be in your rooms
and then do it again.
On Monday the evening activity I chose was "hyggeligt" which has no direct translation in English, but we really just sat in a room with candles, eating, drinking tea and coffee, and talking about certain talking points they gave us. I mostly talked with Alicia, the other Rotary exchange at my school, and Simran, a girl from India. We had a lot of fun with the topics and laughed a lot.
On Tuesday our evening activities were outside. People could go rock climbing and then sit by the bonfire. It was really nice by the bonfire and lot's of people were singing, generally South Americans, until us Americans took over and sang "Don't Stop Believing".We then roasted this bread over the fire to make snobrød, which was pretty tasty.
On Wednesday we had a special surprise, which ended up being a concert by the band the Striving Vines, which I guess had won a concert to open for the band Kashmir, which is a pretty well known rock group here. Overall it was a fun night and we enjoyed having a private concert.
We also had some different discussions in class about being in Denmark. We had one about the culture shock and another about being a teenager in Denmark. We mostly talked about the differences and some things that were shocking to us, but I think everyone liked hearing about each other's experiences.
Thursday we did the same as usual and then had evening activities. This time I chose to learn the past tense in Danish. It was just a short lesson, but I feel it was a good choice plus I hadn't really felt like doing synchronized swimming or volleyball in the cold haha :).
Friday was the day most of us had been waiting for, Århus!!! We went to a nearby city called Århus, which is the second largest city in Denmark at around 300,000- 400,000 people. We first went to a really interesting art museum called ARoS. It had very modern art and was overall a really neat place to go. I enjoyed seeing the huge, 5 meter tall "Boy" statue that is very well known and also going in this room filled with smoke of different colors was pretty fun since your couldn't see more than 3 feet in front of you. Another one of my favorite places to go was up to the roof where there is a rainbow walking area. You are in an inclosed glass area with different colored glass all around, so you can look at the city in many different colors.
After that I met up with Alicia, Simran, a girl named Kirsten (from Canada), and a girl named Marisa (from Illinois). We walked around downtown Århus and got lots of food since at intro camp we were really only given the 3 meals a day with some bread and tea in between meals sometimes, but everyone was still hungry. We spend the afternoon watching a British comedy show on the street, which was pretty funny and I think we were the only people who really understood all of it. There was a big festival going on while were there, so there was lots of music on the streets and people in costumes, which was fun to see.
We ate quite a bit our day in Århus; first we had hot dogs from a stand on the street, then we had some dessert from a chocolate place, then we had fries at Burger King since we were craving "American" food, then we stocked up on candy to bring back to the camp for when we were hungry, but that's what it seemed like most of us did.
Århus was a really beautiful city and I hope to be able to visit it again before I leave.
Saturday was our last full day at camp and we all talked about how fast it had all gone.
We had Danish lessons in the morning and then after lunch we planned a group presentation as a class to present to the other classes.
I'm going to try and find a video to add to the blog of our class's presentation, but that will come later, so stay tuned....
We then had a banquet with everyone dressed up and after that the show started. All 7 classes did a performance. There were lot's of dances to Danish songs and some classes made up songs about our week there. After the shows we had a dance until 1 a.m. We just all had a great time dancing and enjoying our last few hours with each other. At one point Lily (from Alaska), Wilmary (from Venezuela) and I went outside since it was really hot and we just ran around on the grass. The weather felt perfect after being in the hot room for so long and the stars were gorgeous. We all just kind of had the "Wait, I'm actually in Denmark" moment. It was just a really fun and memorable night.

Then Sunday it was time to say goodbyes and get back on the train.
Intro camp was really a great week and I learned some more Danish, which is always great!
Pictures are updated here from intro camp: http://s1121.photobucket.com/albums/l511/ninabreece/Intro%20Camp%202011/
Farvel for nu,

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nina, I'm the first one up this morning and used this quiet time to finally read your blog. It's quite a treat - you share your parents' gift for storytelling. So glad you're having a good time! I didn't realize till I looked at your map that Denmark is made up of islands. You've got quite an international collection of readers - you're world-famous.
    Looking forward to more posts,
    Beth Coogan from New Jersey