Year — Fall 2020
Spend a full academic year in the friendly northern country of Denmark, while attending a local high school and living with a welcoming host family. Explore Denmark’s fairy-tale villages, complete with picturesque castles and colorful town markets. Between your time with your host family and at school, you’ll get the chance to learn Danish though the Danes are, by and large, excellent English speakers. They’ll also be very impressed if you already know a few words in Danish!
Bicycles are everywhere; they even have bicycle highways! Danes value their personal space but are very warm once they open up and they love to be cozy and comfortable. The most popular Danish lunch is a traditional open-faced sandwich, called smorrebrod. Nowhere in Denmark is more than an hour away from the seashore, so it’s a perfect place for those who like to go swimming, sailing, or rowing.
Your program will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the United States, attend an overnight orientation, and then travel together to Copenhagen where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers.
On the way to your host family you’ll be able to appreciate the beautiful landscape of Denmark, with its moors, lakes, farmlands, and forests. In the towns as you pass by you might see people riding their bicycles or sitting and chatting at a cafe.
AFS students have lived all over Denmark; you might even experience the adventure of being placed in Greenland or the scenic Faroe Islands, north of Scotland. If you’re placed on the mainland of Denmark it will most likely be in a rural or suburban area. Towns are close together and there is an excellent public transportation system.
Families in Denmark are very close and most prefer to cook dinner at home together every night. Danes are very cosmopolitan in their attitudes and lifestyle. Most Danes are well educated so you can assume your host family will place a lot of importance on your education, as well. They’ll probably expect you to be independent and to take care of your homework and help out around the house on your own, like most kids do.See where past AFSers have lived
Teenagers in Denmark spend their time much like teens from anywhere else; they love meeting new people, spending time with friends, going to parties, hanging out at cafes, and going to the movies. Playing sports is also very popular, especially soccer. Many of the cities also have traffic-free walking streets, where kids like to hang out on weekends.
Danish food is diverse and has a wide variety of fresh produce, grains, and meats. Dinner is usually the main meal and typically a time for the whole family to gather and talk about their days. Once in a while Danish families will go out to eat at a restaurant, but this is a pretty rare treat. Danish favorites include pickled herring and salted black licorice. Other staples are roast pork, fish, beans, Brussels sprouts, rice pudding, potato soup, meatballs in curry sauce, and pastries.
There are two types of schools that you may be enrolled in. You’ll either be in first or second year of Gymnasium, which is a 3 year college prep school similar to high school, or Folkeskole, which is geared toward 6-16 year olds. School runs from August through June, with breaks in October and at Christmas and Easter. You’ll attend classes Monday through Friday from 8:00AM to 3:00PM. Students usually have 5-6 mandatory subjects and 1 or 2 electives like a foreign language, sports, or physics. You’ll also have the opportunity to take Danish language classes throughout the year.
Danish schools and local community organizations also offer a bunch of extracurricular activities, like sports, music, crafts, drama, and scouting.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.
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