onsdag den 3. oktober 2012

Reblog: The ABC of CPH

Found this fun post at disabroad's webpage, hope it entertains you. I'm sooo sorry there are not many posts these days, but the thing is, someone close to me is very ill and I don't have my usual energy. I post as much as possible to keep my mind off all the depressing stuff, and this made me laugh!

The ABCs of CPH


African Culture in Denmark
There is a thriving African community in Denmark. Find out about cultural eventshappening in and around the city. And, read more information on our website about being an African American student in Denmark.
The Danish opinion towards alcohol tends to be relaxed. The legal drinking age is 16 and most young Danes have their first experience with alcohol before they start high school.

At the same time it should be noted that young Danes are very responsible drinkers. They accept that some people don’t drink and forcing someone to drink is frowned upon.

DIS aims to provide an environment that facilitates the achievement of educational goals and supports student development and autonomy. However, autonomy and freedom of choice exist with the expectation that students will respect the intellectual, physical and emotional health of self and others. While DIS prohibits alcohol at the DIS offices and classrooms, students may consume alcoholic beverages in a responsible manner in their housing.

Students who choose to consume alcohol do so with the knowledge that they remain responsible for their actions at all times. Alcohol misuse is prohibited and does not constitute an excuse for irresponsible behavior or misconduct. Disorderly conduct, intimidation or other infringements on the rights of others is prohibited.

Repeated intoxication, antisocial behavior or an inability to pursue one’s own education may result from excessive drinking and may indicate chemical dependency. DIS administrators may notify the home university of a student’s abuse of alcohol or drugs. In some instances, a student may be dismissed from DIS.
Students with food allergies should consider ordering food allergy cards which are translated into a number of languages. When ordering food, simply present the card to the waiter/waitress to inform them of your allergies. These cards can be ordered through: www.selectwisely.com.
Danish architecture is world famous – especially in Denmark. The Danes are very proud of their architectural heritage and design is a big factor when decorating homes in Denmark.


BaconPork, pork. Pork! Many Danes consider bacon the ‘herb of the pig’ – hotdogs are wrapped in bacon (you can never have enough pork), pâté is topped off with bacon, and soup is served with dried rashes of bacon.
Beauty Products
There is a wide variety of makeup and beauty products available in department stores and health and beauty supplies stores in Denmark. To get an idea of what products are available visit the Matas website. If you don’t see your favorite brands or even products similar to what you use, be sure to pack them and bring them along with you to Copenhagen.
African skin and hair products are generally available in specialty stores in Vesterbro and Nørrebro (the western and northern sections of Copenhagen). As these productsare imported, they tend to be more expensive – but they are available for purchase in Copenhagen.
Denmark has a long beer tradition. The oldest archeological evidence is from a grave dated to around 1370 BC. The most common beer type in Denmark today is pilsner produced by breweries such as Carlsberg and Tuborg. These generic beer brands have however been challenged by microbreweries in recent years, and the Danish beer scene is thus one of the most interesting ones in Europe.
BikesDanes are obsessed with bikes and no distance seems too far to bike. Danes have a tendency to describe distances in bike minutes instead of miles or kilometers. Furthermore, Danes are most likely the only people in the world who would ever notice what kind of bike you are riding, the width of the tires, the design of the saddle etc. Copenhagen is the world’s most bike friendly city. There are bike paths along all major roads and it is often quicker to get around by bike than it is on public transport or by car.
BlondesYes, Copenhagen is full of ridiculously attractive blondes.
See women and boys
BLUSSee LGBTQ and www.blus.dk
BoysDanish guys are used to very independent women. The concept of chivalry is more or less non-existant in Denmark. Forget everything about macho men, the concept is considered to be ridiculous. Danish guys will expect girls to be a bit cold at first.
See dating
BuddyA buddy is a young person from greater Copenhagen who volunteers to introduce an American college student studying abroad at DIS to life in Copenhagen. Buddies are to invite you to parties, go shopping, have dinner and tell you about what it is like to be a young person living in Denmark.  At the same time the American buddy can share thoughts on American culture and explain about the US college system.


Danes love lighting candles. Very often you will see Danes lighting candles in their homes and at work, even during the day.
See hygge
Cell Phone
If you are interested in getting a cell phone while you are in Denmark, check out the deal you can get with Piccell, which has a created a special offer for DIS Students. Visit thecell phone page for details.
ChristianityThe Danish state religion is Christianity but only a tiny fraction of the Danish youth considers itself Christian.
See religion
Freetown founded by the hippie movement in 1971. Christiania was for many years known for Pusher Street where Copenhageners openly could buy cannabis. Pusher Street was however closed by the police in 2004. Christiania is mainly known for the internationally acknowledged music venues, great restaurants and cozy cafes.
See drugs
Danes dress in a stylish yet casual manner when going out. Very often they will have dinner before going clubbing so expect the clubs to be more or less dead until midnight. Don’t travel in big groups. You will confirm all stereotypes about Americans.
ConversationAmericans often don’t have the same views on topics such as religion, morals and politics as Danes do, and they don’t have the same tradition of discussion. Danes are often seen as being very direct and at times even rude, because they say what they think instead of disguising their views in polite euphemisms. Also, it should be noted that Danes do not small talk – the concept simply doesn’t exist. Danes would rather keep quiet that take part in polite but meaningless conversation.
Culture ShockCulture shock is a normal reaction when your life is moved to a foreign culture. You are very likely to feel confused and maybe excluded at times, but you have to remember that it is a normal reaction. The best treatment is to talk to people who are in your situation. Share your thoughts with people from your program. You will soon discover that many of them feel just like you; also, remember to stay in touch with your loved ones at home. You are always welcome to see Housing & Student Services, where all staff members are very experienced when it comes to dealing with students who find it hard to adapt.


DatingDanes are very informal and liberal in their ways of life. Marriage is not a prerequisite to starting a family. Many couples live together without legalizing the arrangement with marriage. It should also be noted that the genders are very equal in Denmark. Women should not expect chivalry. Guys do not hold doors and it is expected that a girls buy the occasional round of drinks. At the same time guys should expect Danish women to be very elusive and ‘hard to get’. Danish women expect you to be able to lead a fairly intelligent conversation. Corny pick-up lines and small talk are not accepted.
See sex and women
DannebroThe red flag with the white cross is considered to be the oldest national flag in the world and the Danes love it. Legend has it that the flag fell from the sky during a battle in Estonia in 1219 and later on led the Danes to victory.
When living in Denmark you will see the flag everywhere, because the Dannebro is the flag of the people. In Denmark many house owners with a garden have a flag pole and they hoist the dannebro on holidays, birthdays and whenever the opportunity arises. Danes are also known for putting their flag on the birthday cake, for dressing up in the flag before soccer matches and for hanging small flags on Christmas trees.
See National identity
DepressionA normal reaction to studying abroad is cultural shock. For some students it turns into depression. In order for you to get the best possible experience, DIS works with a team of professional therapists to ensure your mental health. Another common problem is light deprivation.  Students suffering from winter depression can borrow light therapy lamps free of charge from housing and student services.
DinnerIf you are lucky enough to be invited for dinner there are a few unspoken rules that are important to remember. First of all the time you are invited for indicates what to expect of the meal. Six to seven usually means a bigger meal. The later the more unclear it is what to expect and often it is a good idea to ask the host. Everything after 8pm usually means snacks. Remember that it is a good idea to bring a present; flowers or wine is always appreciated. be on time - and not fashionably late!
See table manners and timeliness
DistanceDanes are willing to bike for hours, but anything more than 30 minutes away on public transport is considered to be a waste of time.
Diversity See Diversity at DIS Pages
Young Danes are very skilled drinkers. You should however never feel forced to drink.
DrugsAll drugs are illegal in Denmark! The use of illegal drugs is no more acceptable in foreign cultures than it is in the US and it is treated as a serious criminal offense. All students are cautioned to obey the laws of Denmark. Anyone in possession of drugs or using any type of illegal drugs risks being arrested and will be expelled from Denmark and as a consequence dismissed from DIS. Expulsion from the program will result in total forfeiture of all fees paid to the program and loss of all course credit. Neither DIS nor the US Embassy can assist students arrested for illegal drug possession. It should finally also be noted that charges of possession of drugs will make it hard, not to say almost impossible ever to enter the EU in the future.


EnvironmentalismDanes make an effort to conserve resources. It is considered offensive to keep the water running, to take too long showers and to keep the heat on when the windows are open.
EducationThe Danish educational system is very different from the American one. There are almost no homemakers in Denmark and children therefore go into kindergarten very early so their mothers can go back to work. Formal education starts when you are about five in what Danes term the folkeskole. For the next ten years a Dane then takes all classes with more or less the same twenty something children. After the folkeskole you can leave school or continue for three in the equivalent to high school, gymnasieskolen.
Danes very often take a gap year before starting college. Compared to the American college system, the Danish system is very specialized. Danes only takes courses within the field of their major and a bachelors degree is only three years. It should also be noted that only a fraction of Danish students decide to leave university after completing college. The majority continues with grad school.
Finally it should be noted that all education in Denmark is free for Danish citizens and that Danes over the age of 18 are paid to go to school.
See universitet


FashionThere is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. So regardless of heavy showers or blizzards everything goes on as normal, including biking around the city. In spite of the need of practical outfits it is still important for Danes to look fashionable and many Danish designers make limited editions of rain coats and rubber boots every fall.
Danes tend to be well dressed. They wear their clothes tighter than Americans and rarely wear bright colors.
FoodTraditional Danish food consists of a lot of pork and even more potatoes topped off with gallons of gravy. It sounds bland, but it is really delicious.
See bacon, pork, pølsevogn, shawarma, salt and wienerbrød
FriendsDanes tend to have a close circle of friends that they have known for ages. Danes don’t believe in superficial friendships and it can thus be hard to make friends with Danes. It is, however, not impossible and as soon as you have made a Danish friend you are guaranteed a friend for life.
See small talk


Gammel DanskNasty brown alcohol that Danes drink in the morning or when ill.
Gay communitySee LGBTQ
Grocery ShoppingFor every day shopping the cheapest places to go are Netto, Fakta, and Aldi. These supermarkets can be found everywhere in Copenhagen. They are not known for high quality, but they always have fresh products. Please note that shopping bags cost 3 kroner due to an environmental tax.
GymnasiumDanish High School. Americans at DIS in late spring will experience the very peculiar Danish high school graduation ritual that consists of driving around Copenhagen in the back of an open truck flashing cyclists, drinking beer and biting hats (Danish high school graduates wear sailor hats).
Gym membershipJoining a gym is a great way of meeting Danes in their natural habitat while breaking a sweat. You can learn more about joining a gym at the Immerse Yourself Fair.


See Beauty Products
HomesickIt is very common to experience homesickness while studying abroad; especially around national holidays and other occasions where you would usually spend time with your close family and friends. Always remember to stay in touch with your loved ones at home. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter, skype them when you have time and remember to keep them updated about your life in Denmark. They most likely miss you as much as you miss them.
See Culture shock
Housing & Student ServicesThe office at DIS that is dedicated to making your transition into living abroad as smooth as possible. You are always welcome to see housing and student services if you have any questions about life in Denmark. Alternatively you can contact housing at housing@dis.dk
HyggeDanes love spending time outside during spring and summer. They meet up at squares around Copenhagen and hang out in parks.  Danes are however hard to get in contact with over winter and tend to nest at home munching on various goodies. The concept of hygge is central to the life of Danes, and they usually put a lot of effort into making their homes comfortable and inviting.
A student studying abroad once noted that the shift from summer to winter puts the whole country on PMS over winter, therefore previously cheery people on the streets become angry morons, and the cursing on the bike lane doubles. It is however not impossible to meet Danes. You have to find them in their natural habitat – see it as a bit of a safari. Young Danes usually spend a lot of time at the café’s around the city centre or at the Studenterhuset.
See Studenterhuset
HumorDanish humor is often seen as extremely rude and very often also offensive. Danes love jokes about everything that include bodily fluids. Include both and you will make the Danes laugh.
See Political correctness
Husk Mit NavnCopenhagen street artist who started working in the late 90s. his name means ‘remember my name’ and he has become widely known in the past ten years due to his sarcastic ‘wall cartoons’ that often have a political message. Husk Mit Navn also does cartoons for the Danish paper Politiken and he has designed chairs and t-shirts.
See http://www.huskmitnavn.dk/ and street art


InteractionWhen interacting with Danes it is important to remember that Americans travelling in larger groups often come across as very intimidating. If you want to strike up a conversation with a Dane you have to break out of your comfort zone. A group of three is a good size when going out. You have people around you that you know and still your group is small enough to blend into the crowd.
Immerse Yourself FairFair during the first week of the semester where a number of sports clubs, community groups etc. are invited and where newly arrived students get a chance of learning how they can build their own international experiences.


J-dagA holiday in late November dedicated to the launch of the Christmas Beer.
JaywalkingIllegal and frowned upon. Danes will wait at a pedestrian crossing at four in the morning, even though there is no traffic.
Jews and Denmark
The Jewish community in Denmark is the oldest in Scandinavia.   In 1684, Copenhagen’s Jewish community received royal permission to hold services in their homes.  By 1726 there were 65 Jewish families living in Copenhagen, growing exponentially to about 250 families in 1787.  Copenhagen’s Main Synagogue on Krystalgade was opened in 1833.
Today, there are about 7000 Jews living in Greater Copenhagen. Below you find the contact info to various Jewish community groups, kosher stores, temples, museums etc.
Read more about where you can reach out to the Jewish community in Denmark.


KollegiumA brilliant housing option if you want to live like a college aged Dane. The kollegium also gives you the option of meeting other young people.
KronerThe currency of Denmark. As a student you will most likely always lack kroner.


LanguageDanish is far from a beautiful language and is hard to pronounce. It is however very practical in the sense that the sentence structure is more or less the same as in English and that many words are very similar to English.
Trying to speak Danish is also a good icebreaker when meeting the Danes!
See Æ,Ø,Å
LGBTQDenmark was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Copenhagen is very liberal and has a large LGBTQ community. It is recommended that LGBTQ students get involved with BLUS. BLUS is an organization run for and by LGBTQ students in and around Copenhagen. BLUS organizes parties, debates, movie nights and other events in addition to running the café every Tuesday from 19.00 at Studenterhuset in central Copenhagen. Membership is free! Read more about theLGBTQ community in Denmark.
See Studenterhuset


MadklubLiterally food club. A club you join at the kollegium where you will cook together with people from your hall and share the expenses. It is a great way to make friends and additionally get delicious meals while saving money.
MadpakkeThe Danish word for a packed lunch. Danish schools don’t have meal plans so Danes are used to bringing a packed lunch to school and even to work. A madpakke usually consists of Danish smørrebrød (open-faced sandwich), fruit and vegetables. It is a cheap and healthy way to get a meal during the day.
MannersDanes are generally well mannered, but in a very different way from what you are used to. Danes are very relaxed when it comes to social interaction. They will almost always say what is on their mind, and they can therefore sometimes come across as rude. You will never hear a Dane use euphemism – they don’t see the need. Danes do however find table manners extremely important. The same goes for how you behave in public. Even when you go to bars where you can expect people to be under the influence of alcohol, you will experience that Danes are fairly civilized and that rowdiness is frowned upon. 
See table manners and shoes
MetroThe Copenhagen subway. There are only two lines and it is an easy, reliable and sustainable way to get around Copenhagen.
Mmm….One of the most common Danish conversation fillers. The use of mmm… does not nescessarily mean that the Danish person is uninterested.
Music SceneCopenhagen has a rich and varied music scene, by many characterized as one of the best in Northern Europe. The indie scene and the electro scene excel and give you the opportunity for some very unique cultural experiences.
Approximately 4% of the Danish population is Muslim. Read a Muslim Visitor Guide and see the link to Visiting Denmark in the left-column menu.


National IdentityMost Danes will claim that they are not particularly proud of their country and that patriotism is backward and stupid, but they are in fact extremely proud of their country. The national pride is however not manifested in narratives about victory at war or great achievements. The Danish national identity is much more subtle and can often be perceived as smug contentment with the mediocre. Danes also take pride in the the Danish welfare model and will most likely be offended if foreigners criticize core institutions such as the Danish health care or educational systems.
NettoDanish super market chain. The service is close to non-existant, but the goods are fresh and prices relatively low. It should be noted that you pay for shopping bags in Danish supermarkets.


PartyMany young people throw house parties. The parties usually start around 9pm and it is customary that you bring your own drinks. You don’t have to bring a present for the host, but a bottle of wine is always highly appreciated.
PleaseDanish does not have a word for please.
See political correctness
Political CorrectnessUnknown phenomenon to Danes.
PorkThe main element in any Danish meal. There are five times as many pigs in Denmark as there are people.
See food and bacon
PølsevognSausage stand. Found on most major squares. A must if you want to experience Danish cuisine.
See pork


QuestionsYou will most likely have a lot of questions about Danish culture, customs and traditions. Never feel afraid to ask if something puzzles you. Danes are very helpful – you just have to ask.
QueuingThe first thing Danes do upon entering a bank/pharmacy/post office is to look for a line to queue in. Danes just love to queue.  
Queer sceneSee LGBTQ


ReligionThe state religion of Denmark is Lutheran Protestantism and the majority of the population is member of the Folkekirke (the state church). If you practice a religion and what to learn more about places of worship in Copenhagen, visit our religious groups in Denmark page.
Danes are however not religious at all, on the contrary. Religious holidays are seen as an excuse to eat and to drink to excess.


SafetyDenmark is a small, quiet country, located far away from the international centers of tension. Danes are proud of their democracy and commitment to peace and security for everyone. Nonetheless, the potential risk of international terrorist actions, not least against Americans and US property, is present everywhere in the world, including Copenhagen.
For this reason, student safety is and has always been of the utmost concern to DIS. Contingency plans for the event of a general international crisis or specific threats of local terrorism have been worked out in cooperation with the Danish Police Intelligence Service and the American Embassy in Copenhagen.
When traveling around the city, avoid travelling in bigger groups, exchange phone numbers with friends from your program and always notify DIS if you leave the country.
Danes love their salt and use it at all occasions; in the bacon, on the roads in wintertime, even in the candy. Danes just can’t get enough salt.
See food and bacon
SexDanes tend to be very liberal and open minded when it comes to sex.
Sexual HealthSexually transmitted diseases are not uncommon among Danish youth. If you intend to have sex, stay safe. See housing and student services if you have questions about safe sex. Condoms can be obtained for free at the DIS front desk.
SharwarmaDelicious Middle Eastern sandwich with either meat or falafel; popular among Danish students heading home from a night on the town.
ShoesIt is customary that you remove your shoes before entering most Danish homes. Ask the host if you are in doubt.
Small TalkDoesn’t really exist in Denmark. Danes do, however, love to talk about the weather.
SnapsAlso known as akvavit. It may be a traditional drink, but it is still foul to most newcomers.
See gammel dansk
StereotypesStereotypes are common and a natural way of navigating in a social space. They are often based on misconceptions such as: Americans are perceived as loud, uncultured, and superficial. Danes are cold, aloof, smug and impossible to befriend. If you want to break down misconceptions about your own culture and Danish culture it is essential that you immerse yourself.
Studenterhuset is the student union of the educational institutions in Copenhagen. You can easily gain membership and you are always welcome to volunteer as a bartender. Studenterhuset is open every night. Tuesday is LGBTQ night and Wednesday is International night.  
See www.studenterhuset.com
Street ArtCopenhagen has a big street art scene and especially the area around Blaagaards Plads and the area around Christiania have some amazing pieces of work. You should however note that tagging is illegal and that there is a considerable fine for vandalizing private property.
See Husk Mit Navn
Surviving on a budgetSome would argue that it is impossible in Copenhagen and that it would be stupid even to try, but it is possible to lead a comfortable lifestyle while saving some of those hard earned kroner.


Table mannersDanes believe there is one proper way in which to act in any given circumstance. This also applies for table manners. The fork is to be held in the left hand and the knife in the right hand. The silverware should never be placed on the table, but on the plate when you are giving a toast and when you have finished your meal. When toasting, raise your glass about eye level and make eye contact with the people seated closest to you.
See dinner
TraditionsThe life of young Danes doesn’t really differ as much from the life of college-aged Americans as you would think. Young Danes listen to more or less the same music, wear the same brands and watch the same movies. Young Danes do however like traditional parties and holidays.
See gymnasium, pork, and j day
Tribe mentalityDanes are often described as more of a tribe then a nation.
See friends
TimelinessDanes are very punctual and being late is considered to be rude. If you are running late, it is polite to call and inform your host that you are on your way.


UniversitetUniversity is very different from the American college structure. It is normal that students have taken at least one gap year and that they only take classes focusing on their major. Danes are paid by the government to go to university.


VegetarianismVegetarianism is common among young Danes, it does however require knowledge of Danish products if you want to keep a varied diet. You will have a chance of learning about how to stick to a varied and sustainable vegetarian diet while in Copenhagen at the Immerse Yourself Fair
VikingsEvery Dane learns about the Vikings at school. The Vikings were great ship builders, sailors, warriors, traders and adventurers. Danes regard them as their ancestors and take pride in the thought of Denmark’s former glory. The truth is however that the Vikings were not only Danish, but also lived in present day Norway, Sweden, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland and France, but don’t tell the Danes!


WeatherA Danish summer day at the seaside or by the Copenhagen harbor is about the most beautiful thing you can experience. The winters, however, can be a little depressing. The weather is often cold and rainy and the days are quite short.
See fashion
WienerbrødDanish pastry – highly addictive!
WomenSorry guys; but to be quite frank Danish women wear the pants in this country. Many American guys get the impression that Danish girls are made of Teflon – it seems like all attemps to strike up a conversation slide right off.


Æ, Ø & Å

Unpronounceable vowels found in the Danish alphabet. They appear at the end of the dictionary!

Heart, heart

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