An Experience of a Lifetime
The anticipation was over as we landed in Denmark and our chests pounded with excitement for the ongoing adventures that we were about to endure. As we walked sleep deprived, I was speechless as we made our way through the dreary weather to the coach bus parked just outside the airport. From the gloomy skies, open fields, and roads, to the airport, cars, and clothes; I got ready to start a new journey.
This journey truly started in September 2011, when I was accepted into the Danish exchange program. I was selected, along with twenty-nine fellow classmates, to participate in an exchange with Danish students for a total of twenty days. First we would travel there, live with their family, and then vice versa when they came to America. I prepared myself for months as this was not a typical situation that I would get myself into, but I soon realized that there was no turning back when I was thousands of miles away from home
We made our way to Helsingor Gymnasium, which was the school that our Danish partners attended, and stood facing each other across an enormous room. We soon intermingled, as the partners made their first encounters with each other. I quickly spotted Kasper hiding in the middle of a group of Danish students; we shook hands, introduced ourselves, and sat down for a lavish breakfast that was prepared for our arrival. We sat in silence for a bit, having no knowledge of what to say, but eventually everything was all right.
Throughout our ten days, we traveled to Copenhagen, Sweden, went to school with our Danish partners, visited castles, learned traditional Danish dancing, and ate a lot of Danish food. We went to Kronborg, Rosenborg, Christiania, and Amalienborg Palace. It was all so spectacular and breathtaking, which created such a meaningful experience throughout the exchange.
My favorite moments of the exchange occurred in three parts and are all very different from one another. On day two, we went to Kronborg Castle (Hamlet’s Castle) and it was my first experience with being at such an extravagant place. From architecture to history to size; it was truly amazing. My second favorite part included walking around town shopping, eating, and learning. It felt like I was living there and it was just part of my daily routine. My third favorite part included taking a ferry over to Sweden. This was one of the best days of the exchange because we got to go to another country for a day and have fun as a group, which was completely organized by all of the Danish students.
I left Denmark with a better experience than I imagined and the sense of accomplishment. I had learned a different type of culture, I met some amazing people, and I visited mind-blowing castles. I made amazing bonds not just with the Danish students, but with the Americans who I hadn’t even talked to before. I made life-long friendships, which brings me so much happiness. Denmark was amazing and I am overjoyed that I got to travel and experience such a great place.
After the twenty days, departure turned into a sob-fest of sixty teenagers. Depression had descended upon us and that black cloud of pouring rain followed us for the rest of the day. I would have never thought that once a timid and reclusive child that I was could ever do something like this. It was amazing how close we all became in such a short amount of time and how everyone still gets emotional to think back on that moment.
** Watch the montage video that I created after the Denmark Exchange 2011
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