The Denmarkian in Daneland

A record of my adventures in Scandinavia.


So today we had the pre-departure orientation and it was really great! We got to meet Nick ( the national director) and Sue, (the/(a?) program manager).

There were about 20 of us. I got there really early because of the train timetable, so I waited at the ground floor for a bit (one of the receptionists told me that Nick and Sue were having coffee). When they came out, Sue peered at me, like how people do when they kind of recognise someone but aren't sure if they are that person of not.

So I stood up and she immediately said, "Stella, right? You're going to Denmark aren't you? I thought I recognised you!" which really surprised me because I had never seen her before in my life - but I suppose she'd know because she, as I found out later, organises the departures to Japan and Scandinavia.

So Nick, Sue and I got onto the lift, Sue introducing me to Nick and Nick telling me how the receptionist was Danish. An awkward kind of silence followed.

Finally we reached the conference room, which was set out with the tables, with folders full of paper, a few postcards, a pen and exchange information labelled with names in front of each chair (everyone was grouped with others going to the same country), a few jugs of water and little bowls of Mentos', going around a big space in the middle where Nick and Sue talked. I quickly found my name, sat down and watched the others nervously walk into the room, as if unsure where they were meant to be.

Firstly we had to introduce ourselves to three or four people we didn't know (Name? School? Where are you going? Why do you want to go on exchange?). There was one other girl who was going to Denmark, and out of 20 people there were only two guys! From everyone I talked to they were either in year 9 or 10 - which quite surprised me since a lot of them looked about year 11 or 12!

After that, we went around in a circle, saying our names, school and destination again, and adding our expectations and concerns, which were written up on a piece of butchers paper.

[Laura wants to know exactly what happened in the presentation as I don't have too much on the content which we talked about, so I will write that at the end of this post.]

So anyway, after about an hour or two, there was morning tea. We filed out of the conference room and voila! Two trays of muffins and portuguese custard tarts had appeared which weren't there before, along with a few jugs of juice and the like. We all just mingled and talked for a bit (it was funny because there was a swimming pool right outside and people kept walking right through us in swimmers, giving us funny little looks, and trying to get to the door).

Sue thought that I had already gotten my host family, and that I was going to live in Copenhagen, and she was really surprised to hear that I didn't and so concluded she probably mixed me up with somebody.  Arghh I can't wait to find out about my host family!

I asked her what my itinerary might look like and she said I had to fly through Singapore, and then London where I will be switching terminals via shuttle bus (eep) and finally to Copenhagen with British Airways.

I freaked out when I heard that! Not much experience with planes ...

Afterwards we went back in and launched into another talk (everyone now seemed braver in regards to reaching forward and taking a Mentos - previously we'd all settled with taking a small sip of water). I found out that I need a lot more preparation, like activating and loading my card beforehand and everything. Does anyone know how to use B-Pay? :\

After an hour we had another break, in which we waited for our parents to come in for the last hour of the orientation to hear a summary of what we had talked about.


Okay, so this was what we covered:
- Expectations and concerns
- Program rules
- Culture shock
- Homesickness
- Support structure
- Getting along with your host family (e.g. chores, curfews, communication, host brothers and sisters, religion, etc.)
- Some case studies (there were worksheets)
- Communication with home/calling home
- Money (don't borrow or lend money to your host family either!)
- Insurance
- Transport
- Communication in the case of a language barrier (sign language is the way to go!)
- Student adjustment cycle

There might have been a few additional things, but those were the main points.

Hopefully that was helpful to you, Laura!


3 kommentarer:

laura. sagde ...

Hey! I'm Laura from CS, and I want to know what you looked at orientation!!! My orientation is on the 7th with Becs? So tell all!

20. september 2009 kl. 10.13  
laura. sagde ...

Thanks! AHhhhh i'm so excited :)

20. september 2009 kl. 12.44  
Anonym sagde ...

ahh we had no muffins OR mentos.. there was another conference on at the same time so i think they ate our food while we were inside haha...
i was soo hungry though

8. november 2009 kl. 18.05  

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