Welcome new students…now go home foreigners: figuring out the rare Dane species

It’s time for another pre-semester entry. In anticipation of all the new international students who will be arriving in Denmark over the coming weeks, I thought I’d share an interesting map I came across the other day (and also received by other former international students who had studied in Denmark and have now gone on to other, more friendlier countries). The map came from a webpage called “40 maps they didn’t teach you in school” and showed all sorts of silliness… maps about how to say beer in different languages around the world, maps about driving orientation, etc, etc, etc. There was one map that hit specifically close to home though and was about the attitude of the population towards foreign visitors. Here, take a look…

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See tiny little Denmark there? RED! On the red-blue scale of less welcoming to more welcoming, Denmark is shown to be LESS WELCOMING to foreign visitors. WHOA. HOLD UP. Hold the rødgrød med fløde and just give me a second to think here! How can that be? The happiest country in the world is also one of the least welcoming in Western Europe? Hmm…

Now, I’m going to be completely honest and say that the truth of thruths is (and this is not meant to scare off all the new, incoming students)…. Danes – IN GENERAL – are not very welcoming. *runs and hides and waits for the mob of Vikings to come marching through the streets to rob me and club me to death*

Their Viking senses can smell your foreign blood!
Their Viking senses can smell your foreign blood!

Each semester, international students are given looooooong presentations about how the Danes are such closed people and hard to get to know. The International Centre constantly hears about how international students would have loved to get to know more Danes during their time here. I mean… there’s no other answer than to believe that Danes actually are some of those less welcoming people, right? Closed people who, semester after semester, seem to hide from all the international students and never want to get to know us. Hiding in their little clubs of other Danish people, being able to tell everyone else apart because they’re not wearing the latest hipster shoe or don’t have a red beard with significantly different color hair on the top of their head (in a hipster cut nontheless) or they aren’t drinking a hipster enough beer. I mean, just look at the Lego people in this blog’s featured image! ANGRY. Angry Danes who only want to hang out with other angry Lego Danes.

But now I’m going to add on to my truth from before. Though I may have said that Danes are not very welcoming, that does not mean that they are unwelcoming. Actually, I’ve found it quite the opposite. Danes are really interested in foreigners…they love traveling (I mean, look at their ancestors!) and hearing stories about different places. They’re super openminded and once you get one of the rare Dane species to start talking, it’s hard to shut them up! They’re just super shy. And the thing is – the shyness often comes off as that they are cold, unwelcoming people. But now we all know better. We foreigners are on to you, Danes! And we’re going to melt your cold disguises with our international love whether you like it or not! *Insert “Xena: Warrior Princess” scream screech thing*

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2 thoughts on “Welcome new students…now go home foreigners: figuring out the rare Dane species

  1. Reblogged this on Our House in Aarhus and commented:
    What perfect timing. hey you, AU! – a blog for the international students at Aarhus University – calms all the new students’ fears about those reserved Danes: “once you get one of the rare Dane species to start talking, it’s hard to shut them up! They’re just super shy. And the thing is – the shyness often comes off as that they are cold, unwelcoming people. But now we all know better. We foreigners are on to you, Danes! And we’re going to melt your cold disguises with our international love whether you like it or not! “

  2. Been here two weeks and hooked up with a very open-minded, welcoming, outgoing chatty crew at Institut of [x]. Whenever I’ve been in any shops or most public places and asked for advice or service or any questions, everyone has been nice and pie. There are nice and nasty people all over the world.

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