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The Log

Denmark Divulged

Highlights from the Tabor Denmark Trip

Could you imagine Viking descendants thriving in a socialist country, Hamlet’s descendants founding a lawless community, or Anderson’s compatriots chewing on rye bread and pork belly? Well, this is Denmark. Through one week’s exchange with students from Rysensteen, Tabor students tasted a slice of the Nordic Kingdom of Denmark.  


The Visual 


Except for the somber Scandinavian sky, the first thing you would notice is the equally cloudy code of dress. From the practical windbreakers of Arc’teryx to the Copenhagen weather-resilient brand of RAINS, the Danish daily wear triumphs against harsh climates, over-consumption, and fashion critiques. We spent time in the pedestrian commercial zone, Strøget, to shop, rest, mingle with throngs of tourists, and be awed by the height of Copenhagen fashion.  




The Auditory  


Strong but soft, the Danish language descended from the Germanic and is now spoken by about six million people around Denmark and Greenland. Over the week, we had the opportunity to learn a few fun facts that encapsulated the cultural differences between the two countries. Danish students address their parents and teachers by their first names and think it reflects t “the equality and friendship between teacher and student.”

“Teaching and learning are a form of cooperation or partnership,” says Linnea. “This first-name-basis helps us get rid of the formality to communicate more efficiently.”  





The Smell 


Monarchy has embedded unparalleled grandeur in the history of Denmark, churches and palaces where phantoms of past glory reside. We smelt in the Rosenborg Castle the moldy luxury of the Danish Crown, the sun-kissed peace of Roskilde Cathedral, and the refreshing modernity of the Glyptotek.  




The Taste  

Lunch boxes! 

Here, Tabor students had their first encounter with making their lunches from scratch. While some prepared salad and pasta, many ventured into the unknown with rye bread—the dark, fiber-filled staple of traditional European diet. The Danes like to keep everything open—from individual’s political affiliation to the ubiquitous cycling lane — including their sandwiches. The famous open-faced sandwich consists of a single piece of rye bread crowned with meat and veggies—an easy feast, but hard to defend from the prowling pigeons and ravens. 


The Touch  


Like kisses on the cheeks for the French, the Danes have their way of bidding farewell—huge, forceful hugs, friends even if you will see them in school the next day. A 1957 article in The New Yorker branded “hygge”, the Danish for hug or coziness, as “ubiquitous” in the city.  

Raised in Germany and acquainted with such greetings, Mrs. Watt hardly noticed the change.

“Americans are reserved in their manner, while Europeans grew up in an environment where everyone greets everyone else very passionately,” reflects Mrs. Watt. Though taken aback in the beginning, many Tabor students embraced this tradition as they hugged their hosts goodbye on the final day.  


The Future

For years, Tabor has maintained friendly relations with our sister school Rysensteen in Copenhagen and these wonderful culture exchanges would not have been possible without the support of our faculty.

“There’s a lot of work behind the scenes,” says Director of Global Education Mr. Sirois. “Faculty communicated with Rysensteen throughout the year to make the trip happen, especially the faculty chaperons who had to plan everything in advance.” 

And for students who wish to get a bite of authentic Denmark, keep an eye out for the visiting Danes in October, and apply for the trip in November! 



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