The Denmarkian in Daneland

A record of my adventures in Scandinavia.

Host family gifts!

So on Sunday I decided to start buying things I'd need for exchange, so I had a lot of fun looking for host family gifts (I still need to get an adapter though).

I ended up getting six small koala plushies, two ultra cool Australia badges, two packs of Australia themed cards and a stationery set of Aboriginal patterns carved in wood. I'm thinking of getting more things, but this is what I have for now. I don't know if I should get a few tiny Australian flags or not - some exchangers give them out to people they meet and run out of them pretty quickly.

And guess what? Orientation is this Saturday! Yes!
Plus, I'm planning to eat out at Pepper Lunch afterwards, so be jealous. (:

En måned og to-og-tyve dage.
One month and twenty two days.

Now to end with some entertaining exchange student themed material.


  1. You ask for some type of food/snack/drink to be care packaged to you as your X-mas present.
  2. When you have problems understanding people in your native language because you instinctively assume they're speaking your host language and listen for words in that language.
  3. Back home, you watch lame documentaries on the History channel in the hopes of seeing your host country or hearing your host language.
  4. Back home, you have a hard time walking off the sidewalks (and always scan for dog poop if you do).
  5. You have at least five stories you could never tell your parents.
  6. You ever got out of punishment of being yelled at, or gotten out of school work because you didn't understand the language or pretended that you didn't.
  7. You at least miss 2 months of school because of traveling or just because of that 'I don't feel like going today...'
  8. You can sing all the Top 20 songs from your exchange year...even a year later....
  9. You buy everything in sight with the name of the country you went to visit so when you go back people are bound to ask you about it.
  10. You're so used to another culture and language that your home country is a distant memory.
  11. You can trick people at American parties into thinking you're from wherever you went on exchange.
  12. Getting yelled at doesn't bother you because they just sound so funny getting all worked up in a foreign language.
  13. You wait all week for your school's one English magazine (TIME) to arrive in the library.
  14. People believe you when you say that back in America your house has 10 TVs and you eat hamburgers 3 times a day.
  15. You get to be the mascot of your rotary club.
  16. You make references to your exchange casually all the time, because sometimes you'll find someone who actually cares.
  17. You want to kill your classmates in your foreign language class back home, because they're not as good as you are - but of course you secretly like it that way.
  18. You get letters and emails in a language that no one else can read.
  19. You've ever eaten anything called 'masonja', only to later discover it is actually caterpillar stew.
  20. You've ever attempted to fit all your worldly possessions into 2 suitcases and a carry on. (And have succeeded, more than once!)
  21. You cringe at the mention of 'baggage weight limit'.
  22. You have 20 siblings and 8 parents.
  23. You can describe in perfect detail every symptom of traveler's flu, but still travel anyways.
  24. You can swear in 20 languages but only speak 2 or 3 fluently.
  25. The only reason you have for wanting to go to a country at first is 'the guys/girls are really hot' or 'I hear the food is wonderful' or you don't even have a reason.
  26. You're living or have lived in a country that most people can't identify on a map, or in a city that nobody you know besides you has ever heard of... ... and you recommend it as a vacation spot to all your friends. ... and when you get home, you're automatic friends with anyone who has even heard of it.
  27. You crave food that would make most people where you're living go 'ughh....' (Whether you're abroad or back 'home')
  28. You have a supply of some food that you're hoarding because you can't get it wherever you are.
  29. The best gift someone could possibly get you is a can of Mt. Dew / a jar of peanut butter / tortilla chips and salsa, American style / marshmallows
  30. You watch really stupid television shows late at night (like Jerry Springer and curling competitions) and you stay up late to do so, just because they're in English.
  31. Your excuse to watch really stupid programs (like Jerry Springer and curling competitions) is that they're subtitled/dubbed and thus it's all about learning more of the language, right?
  32. Your family calls you by the name of your hair color, because it is natural and not found in the country you're in.
  33. You have been in the country long enough that when you see a 'foreigner' you laugh and shake your head - but you never help, just watch.
  34. When you get together with other students, the only stories you tell are the ones that rotary does not need to hear.
  35. It becomes habit to introduce yourself by saying 'I am from (country) and my name is (name)
  36. It's a shocker to actually have clean clothes for once in your life, because you don't do your own laundry back home.
  37. When rotary calls your house your first thought is OK for once it wasn't me.
  38. You look forward to the Rotary meetings for the food, but dread going for all the boredom that will follow.
  39. Every day is a new adventure and you don't consider it a day unless something worthy of story telling happens.
  40. Water in unopened bottles is your best friend.
  41. (For the guys) the nearest restroom is exactly where you're walking.
  42. You read books you've never heard of and would never dream of reading if you were back home because they are the only English books in your city.
  43. You 'talk' to your pets when you phone home.
  44. You find the things that were strange to you when you first arrived so normal that you now think the equivalent back home is strange.
  45. You become really good friends with people you barely spoke to back home because they e-mail you more than the people you considered your 'good' friends.
  46. You can't imagine what life will be like without all the wonderful things you have experienced and friends you have made in your new country.
  47. You speak the wrong language every time you open your mouth for the first few days you are back home after the first few days of speaking the wrong language, you speak your own language with a strange accent.
  48. You can't remember the words for things so you make them up, and everyone understands exactly what you mean, or thinks that your word is cooler than the real word.
  49. People mistake you for a local until you speak (sometimes even after).
  50. You help tourists because you know where the nearest bank is, how much it costs to mail a letter, how to use the pay phone, what bus to take, local customs, etc.
  51. You can't walk through a public place (e.g. train station) without seeing someone you know.
  52. Major tourist attractions no longer faze you (e.g. you go to the Grande Place because there's an ATM there).
  53. You can understand things in languages you've never studied
  54. You no longer know where home is.
  55. You think blazers with tons of pins are way cool, although everybody laughs at them.
  56. While other, non-exchange people are amazed by how many pins you have, you insist that you have very few and won't be satisfied till you've at least doubled the number.
  57. Your eyes are constantly scanning for more pins to buy, and when you can't buy any more you make them out of bottlecaps and transit cards.
  58. You have dreamt in the native language of the country your in, and had no clue what in the world happened, let alone what was said.
  59. You get offended when people try to speak to you in your native language.
  60. You find that speaking in your native language becomes strangely difficult and you forget words that you have known almost your whole life.
  61. You can't pass a pastanesi/patisserie/bakery without getting something, or at the very least pressing your nose up against the window.
  62. You've got friends on more than two continents.
  63. You can legitimately argue with yourself in 2+ languages.
  64. You have actually done this.
  65. You worship a hand written letter that went 'snail mail'
  66. You have a license plate hanging off a wonderful blue blazer.
  67. You have a phobia that if someone were to spontaneously explode in their blazer all would perish nearby due to the pins.
  68. The first words you learned were the 'bad' ones
  69. You go to school only to do nothing
  70. You worship Pepto Bismol (South American exchangers you know what I am talking about)
  71. You have Pepto Bismol in tablets, gel caps and liquid.
  72. You take all three at once to give it a kick.
  73. You begin to talk to the animals in the house or just random objects
  74. When you walk down the street, everyone stares at your 2nd head.
  75. You begin to think like you're 4 again, because you have no language.
  76. You begin to feel like you're 4 again, because everyone just leads you from place to place and you never know what's going on.
  77. When you call home your family is convinced you are getting stupid because you can't speak your own language.
  78. You have trouble explaining to your host family why you celebrate certain holidays in your country.
  79. You can't say your host family's phone number in your native language, only in your host country's language.
  80. You forget your home address (in your home country).
  81. You worship chocolate chip cookies freshly baked from the oven.
  82. It's normal to you to see a man walking a cow down your street.
  83. You can pick a tourist out of the crowd because they're dressed so weirdly... and you don't consider yourself one of them.
  84. You have eaten animals you once considered pets.
  85. 'Good job! I understood you!' is a compliment.
  86. You and your native friends talk about and mock English speakers right in front of them, and then the tourists get all charmed that they are listening to 'real' people from that country.
  87. You are reading this list and find it hilarious, though people around you reading it say 'I don't get it. 

- From a Rotary site.


001] Before waiting to see if anyone understood what you meant, you start acting it out.

002] You think 100 pounds to pack up your entire life is plenty of space.

003] You don't have preferences anymore, especially when it comes to food. Nothing tastes familiar, thats for sure.

004] You spend a lot of time smiling, nodding, and pretending you understand what's going on.

005] You classify "doing your homework" as translating half of it. And that alone took three hours.

006] When your grandma asks you what you've been learning, you tell her something general, instead of "how to open beer bottles with a 50 cent coin."

007] You sometimes use the excuse "Sorry, I don't understand" to avoid answering a question....even if you do.

008] They offer cocktails at the back-to-school party.

009] You want to hug the people who attempt to speak your native language to you.

010] You've called every person who says "hi" to you your friend... because you don't really have any yet.

011] You'll read anything in your native language just to have something to read...even packaging labels.

012] You've got on the bus and had the driver say "you don't want to be on this bus" because you got on the same bus the night before and it was wrong then, too.

013] You sometimes walk around the school during breaks to act like you're doing something, because you don't see anyone you recognize and don't want to stand there awkwardly.

014] You know the answer to a question in a class but don't raise your hand because you don't want people to expect to much from you.

015] You're better than your teacher in your foreign language class.

016] You are a master of pantomime and circumlocution and still can't have a conversation.

017] You actually think the language barrier is a good thing when it comes to things like lying to your host parents.

018] You've ever mispronounced something in your native language (for example, names of products, TV shows, companies) because you know the others will understand it better if you say it with an accent.

019] You've tried so many different foods due entirely to the fact that you cannot understand the person asking you what you want so you just nod your head, say "yes", and hope to god it tastes half-decent.

020] You've tried to order something in your host country's language only to be answered in English because you did it so badly.

021] You've gotten annoyed with said people that automatically answer you in English when you try to speak to them in their language.

022] After you come back everybody tells you that you have a weird accent.

023] Your dreams are bilingual.

024] Sometimes it takes you about 5 minutes to remember a word in your native language that you were going to use.

025] You automatically use words in a foreign language that you cant even translate but they just seem to fit the context.

026] You watch television shows and movies that you know in your native language, just to understand it for once.

027] You begin to enjoy foods that you had previously despised at home.

028] You've gotten out of a punishment or being yelled at because you didn't understand the language, or at least pretended you didn't.

029] It becomes a habit to introduce yourself by saying: "I am from (country) and my name is (name)."

030] You've gotten upset because someone assumed you wanted to do something...and then were told you were asked if you wanted too, and you said yes!

031] You've said something like 'oh yes' or 'not thanks' only to have everyone laugh because your answer made no sense compared to the question.

032] You actually got a high five when you understood what someone said to you.

033] You're never sure if someone's being your friend, flirting, seducing you, or sexually harassing you.

034] While you're having a nice conversation with your Gastopa and Oma, your host sister is making out on the same couch. Then her and her boyfriend are always sure to announce when they are going to take a bath together.

035] You're not sure whether it's a children's book or porn.

036] You get a little scared before starting a sentence with big words in it in another language.

037] You have been put in a one or more classes with the fifth graders, because you're supposed to understand more there.

038] You are always counting the time difference between where you are and home.

039] You always forget the time difference when you call a friend or family member back home.....sorry for waking you up at 4am mom.

040] You do something wrong and people look at you weird, your excuse is "That's how we do it in my country" even if it isn't.

041] You have gone in to greet someone with a shake of hands and find yourself being pulled into an awkward hug/double kiss on the cheek or the other way around.

042] You carry a dictionary and a camera in your bag.

043] You get so used to broken English you finish people's sentences even though no one else can understand them.

044] You get into arguments with the foreign language teacher (English) over how to pronounce something.

045] You try to speak in the native language and everyone immediately knows "You're not from around here".

046] You can get into the strictest clubs with your ID from you host country, because most people get confused and just let you get in.

047] You know every cuss word in your host language, but still cant conjugate into past or future tense.

048] Peoples stares don't bother you anymore.

049] You're ready to drink anytime of the day.

050] You have mastered the arts of deception and sneakery.

051] You've spent more than one night getting drunk with your host parents.

052] Everyone thinks your playing the tough guy when you say you haven't called your mom yet and don't miss her too much.

053] A conversation is going fine, before it suddenly get stuck on some word or phrase which makes you completely forget what you were talking about.

054] You buy clothes in your country so you don't look so much like a foreigner.

- From the Facebook group 'You Know You've Been an Exchange Student If ... '


Exchanges, exchanges a long way from home,
We're highly obnoxious so leave us alone,
We drink when we're thirsty,
We drink when we're dry,
We drink till we're motherless and then we get high.

We are exchanges, exchange,
We live it up we do,
So pass some more 'Tequila 2.'
If the ocean was whisky and I was a duck,
I'd swim to the bottom and drink my way up.
But the ocean isn't whisky and I'm not a duck,
So let's go to Munich and have a good fuck.

Host brothers, host sisters, we love them a lot.
As a matter of fact it can get pretty hot.
We like to give kisses, we like to give hits.
But too many kisses get us in deep shit.
Someday we'll be doctors, someday engineers,
But right at this moment we're into our beers.
No drinking, no driving, no grass,
These AFS rules are a pain in the ass.
We like to eat chocolate, we like to eat cake,
We like to eat ice-cream and gain lots of weight.
Our butts may be fat and our thighs may grow.
But give us a chance and we'll give you a blow.
We're disorganized, we're fucked in the head.
We Just hope one day we don't drink ourselves dead.
We like to drink whiskey, we like to drink wine.
So give us a chance and we'll do 69.
We like to have parties , we may be there last,
But that doesn't matter cause we drink really fast.
At the end of the night we smell like a skunk,
But that doesn't matter,
because we're probably drunk.
Exchanges like us, we sometimes do wrong
But give us a chance and we'll sing you a song.
The songs that we sing, we think they're a hit,
But to tell you the truth
they're a big load of shit.

- An AFS song


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