Andrea was our second exchange student from Spanien. She was here in the schoolyear 2013/14. Here you can see her goodbye video.
This blog is about having an exchange student for a year. So how is it so be a host family for a person from another part of the world.
On monday the 25. feb AFS held a meeting where all the AFS student should present their life in Denmark. Here you can see the presentation, please be patient as the videoklip is very long to load.
Hør Valentina tale dansk efter 2½ måned i Danmark.
Autum has now arrived and it is getting darker and wet. People get more tired and depressed, so what do we do instead?... we “hygger”. Hygge is the a danish way to compensate for this time of year. We eat a lot of tasty food and we meet and have a good time with families and friends. I think that Valentina is getting used to this as we almost every weekend have friends or go to friends.
Exercise is necessary when all the Danish food
In week 42 the schools are closed for a week, so the whole family took some vacation. Magnus went to the Nederland’s to play soccer and the rest of us went to Hamburg to spent some time in a big city and that was a nice little vacation. We went to Miniature World an amazing place where everything is made in small models like the airport, soccer stadium.
Miniature world in Hamburg
We also went shopping which was something Valentina liked, but when you love shoes and other things, but have to take care not to used much money, then it can be really difficult.
The harper in Hamburg
Valentina now got a hypercard, this is a transportation card for student, so now she can travel around without worrying about money for a bus ticket.
Halloween party at the school was her first party with her Danish school friends and this was a very different cultural experience for her. In Denmark the young people get quite drunk before they go to the party, this is different in Venezuala. As Valentina sayed after the party: “ I wonder if they can remember what we talked about on Monday”.
A Valentina pice of food Leverpostej and Salami, not typical Danish
Danish is improving very fast, the leader of AFS Køge was here for a visit and she was quite impressed the level of Danish she has learned in this short time.
Now the first month has passed and I think that Valentina has adopted the Danish way extremely fast.
A couple of weeks ago I took Valentina and Clara to a Japanese show in Greve. It was a combination of the use of multimedia’s and comedy in a very Japanese way , done with a perfection that was amazing. I think we all had a wonderful evening.
In teather to see a Japanese show
We can feel that we are a person more in the household on the food budget, washing clothes and other stuff, but the importance is that everyone in the household participate in cleaning up, washing up, making the washing clothes an so on. Of course Valentina has the same duties and in this way she is also a part of the family and not just a guest.
On Sunday/Monday they had the election in Venezuela and Chavez won it. If this was cheating or really what most people wanted, it is difficult to say, but what I can say that an election in Venezuela is more important for the people, than in Denmark. In Denmark it really isn´t that important if on part or the other win. All in all it is almost the same politic and we won´t feel a big difference. In Venezuela on the other hand for many people it seems as this election really was about their future. So Valentina was really sad when she heard about the result of the election and she felt quite alone as it is difficult for us to understand the importance of this. We have had some talks about this and I can understand the worries she has for the future of herself, her family and her country. I think she is a strong girl and will certainly overcome the challenges she will face in the future.
Celebrating Joan´s birthday in a Chinese restaurant
The third week was going extremely fast. We all had a busy week, so stopping up shortly to remember the highlights of the week, then it must be, that Valentina found out that biking in Denmark can also be difficult as she felt and hurt her knee a little bit. Her jeans also got a hole, but I guess that is fashion, with hole on the knee.
Music seems as a big part of her life, she has music in the school and home she sings quite a lot. One of her wished is to learn to play the Guitar and as I have on standing, which I don´t use (my music career was very short ), she is starting to play it a little bit. It will be interesting to see, if she will spent time on practice this or it just will be a dust collector…..
Learning how to play guitar
Even though the autumn has arrived, we have to mow the grass, so Valentina got a chance to tried this for the first time in her life. The lawnmower can be a little tricky, but all in all it went quite well.
Cutting the lawn for the first time
On friday Valentina visited her contact family and that seems to have been a big success. A contact family is some kind of safety line for the exchange student. If there is something they don´t quite understand in their hostfamily or they can´t quite get along with their hostfamily, they can contact their contact family and they will try to help them.
One of the things that you are told as a host family is that you have to learn the student to eat Rugbrød. Rugbrød is a Danish kind of very dark bread, which quite fast make your stomach full. Valentina very fast adopted to this kind of bread and lot of Danes love to put Leverpostej on. Leverpostej is a kind of meat from pigs and Valentina didn´t like first time she tried it on the welcome camp. In our family we buy the finest product, because of our son Magnus, who is very fastidious, so when she tried that, she really liked it and put it on all her Rugbrød for lunch!
A lot of things is coming to order, Valentina got her social security number (a number you need to go to hospital or doctor or talk to some community administration). She got her nem-id (a security system for banking on the web) and her youth visa card, so she can withdraw money from her account. Joan also went with her to the foreign police as she need a biometric card as id to stay in Denmark as an foreigner outside EU.
Our friend Robert came by with a lot of clothes from his two girls Cecilie and Marie and there was quite a lot that Valentina could use. She is properly the girl on school which has most t-shirts with “Roskilde festival”, which is a big festival in Denmark J. From another of our friends she got some boots for winter time. It is not that easy to try them on, when you haven´t tried boots before, especially when they have shoelaces. My mother is knitting a hat and a scarf, so soon Valentina will be prepared for wintertime.
Trying boots for the first time
I think that she is doing fine in the Danish language, she is working hard to improve her skills and we try to speak easy sentences to her. The tricky part is to hear the difference between the vowels, because they sound pretty much the same for her. When you practice Danish with a person that starts without any skills, you really start to understand how difficult our language is and you get many questions that is difficult to answer like what is the difference between “jo” and “ja”, why it is called “Vaske Op” and many many more, but it is quite fun to teach someone in your own native language.
I also think that the kids are doing fine together, especially our daughter Clara is very fond of Valentina. Clara is a bit shy about speaking English, but she tries and her English is improving, because now she can see a meaning about learning the language. She gave Valentina a present, she had made in school and I think that meant a lot to both of them.
The children having fun with a game of WII
Next week Valentina has invited her classmate Pil with her home, so that will be nice to say hello to someone from her class, also because it is important for Valentina to try to make friends of her own.