Vallaura's Blog

"Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted."

Clash of Culture

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Few days ago, my Facebook timeline was flooded with a post shared from local.dk issuing the headline of “Expats: Denmark ‘world’s worst’ for making friends“. I was planning to voice something about it but could not find the necessary motivation. Until yesterday, I spoke to a friend and she really hit my motivation button.

I have to say that people are being slightly harsh to the danes. Pointing out someone else’s weakness in broad public, under spotlight, will not help in making friends with the danes.

Denmark was dead last when it comes to the ease of making friends, 64th for being made to feel welcome and 60th for the perceived friendliness of the locals.

will. not. help.

The reasons why I feel that I need to voice up is because of my fantastic danish buddy, sweet previous landlady, current super kind landlady, friendly boss, nice co-workers, funky church friend, and the names go on. But if asked, is it difficult to be friends with the danes? I’ll be one of the people who would say “yes”.

Yes, it is difficult, but it is possible.

Denmark is a country of half cold and half hot. There’s no thick snow during winter (or at least for the past 2 years) and there’s no super hot sunny days during summer (well, maybe 1-2 days). Unlike other nordic-scandinavian countries, the area is flat, no giant magnificent fjord, no iceberg, no humongous lakes, no wildlife, and no aurora borealis. What they have is an utterly very difficult language. very difficult. I guess, if I could say it, these are all what make the danes become people of a difficult society. Other people, a.k.a foreigners, have so much difficulties to learn the language so that they also have so much difficulties to interact with the local in their own mother tongue. It is always the danes (in my experience) to give up their language and use the-so-called-international-language-of English. Can you imagine being in your own country, people are coming and trying to integrate with you, but you are the one who gives up your mother tongue without the other side trying to learn your language. Not so nice, I assume. Condition that would never happen in English-speaking countries.

Coming from a country which mother tongue is of the opposite difficulty level from danish, I have never had known this, had I not learned danish for the past 2 years. My language is very simple and very easy. People coming to my country could get the language in a snap of a finger, hence I feel so easy to be friend with them. People also love our nature and food. While in Denmark, people are constantly complaining about the weather and the food, of how cold and tasteless they are. Not a friendly gesture neither.

Again, I have to say that people are being slightly harsh to the danes. But I wont judge you. Maybe, like me, you are also learning the super difficult danish language. You, do, try to mingle in the office with your co-workers and receive cold shoulder look. Maybe it is the danes’ fault for being tightly closed introvert people. But I just wanna make sure that you try to see the world from their side, before you call them ‘biggest losers’ as written in the post.

Denmark’s drop of eleven spots made it one of the survey’s ‘biggest losers’ and the decline was driven in large part by the difficulty of feeling at home in the nation.

This post is written as a thank-you note for my danish buddy, Sara. HUGS. You are the best dane in the whole universe!

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