I honestly had no idea what to expect when I was told that I would be going on exchange to Denmark, to some school I could hardly pronounce the name of, Herlufsholm. When I had filled out my form I wrote “someplace where English is spoken.” In fact, I had no Idea that there was a Round Square school in Denmark. In addition to this, I was also going without another Athenian student as a partner as many other exchanges do. The only real comfort I had was that Lindsay Virgilio had been there two years previously and seemingly had had a blast. I was also worried about the school atmosphere. The campus appeared rather old and a bit like a museum. The school required students to wear a uniform and the only experience I had with uniforms was a brief, but emotionally scarring, stint at an uptight Upper East Side elementary school in Manhattan. All of these things came together to make me begin to doubt how my exchange could possibly be fun. Boy was I wrong.
Many people talk about how they become more and more stressed as the timer ticks down to when they leave on exchange, but I actually found myself in a kind of zen, accepting the inevitability of my departure. However, all my doubts came crashing down when I woke up on the day after my arrival. Fortunately, my host family are quite possibly the nicest people that I have ever met. They helped make my first day in a completely different country and culture relatively stress-free. They took me around the town and helped me acclimate to my surroundings by encouraging me to leave the house. I think that this experience helped ease and expedite my integration into Danish society.
Two days after arriving I had my first day of class. I was expecting a school full of repressed stiffs but this expectation couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The people that I met make even the most socially adept Athenian students look like they never get out. Everyone here has also been extremely nice and outgoing, gladly helping me and introducing themselves.
My experience overall has been far better than I could have possibly imagined. I almost feel that I have found a home away from home.