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How to become a Dane

1) Get used to being cold

After being greeted in København with a ‘mild’ -8°C, I soon learnt that although I feel cold in Australia, I never really knew what being cold actually felt like. This became very obvious when I spent my first day on a walking tour not being about to feel my toes and fingers for hours despite wearing two pairs of gloves and socks plus a feather down jacket. When I asked my Danish flat mate if she ever gets used to this, I was sad to hear that this feeling of being cold all the time is a regular occurrence for most people and that the Danes are not super humans that can resist the winter. I later found out that my tour guide was actually wearing eight different layers, but was simply very good at disguising them and looking effortlessly fashionable, which brings me to my next point.

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2) Layering clothes is key, but only if it’s in black or grey

On my first day of ‘school’ as they call it here in Århus where I study, I was amazed by all the blonde haired beauties that were so well dressed. Even when on the way to the gym they look like they have just walked off a catwalk. Maybe they look so elegant because it is easy to match black with black or even with black. But I have now even caught myself being excited by the different variations of black and grey clothing at the markets popping up all over town. The only acceptable thing to own in bright colours is nikes, which are apparently appropriate to wear anywhere, which I still don’t quite understand.

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3) Eat lakrids (aka licorice) and lots of it!

No true Dane doesn’t like licorice. And they like it super strong and super salty, nothing like the supposedly ‘sweet’ stuff we get at home. Not only do they eat it in the form of lollies of which there are hundreds of variations but you can buy almost anything in licorice flavour – ice cream, cake, chocolate, biscuits, alcohol, you name it – overseas brands have even made certain products that have a licorice flavour just to sell in Danmark as they know it will be popular. I am highly enjoying being the test subject of the girl that sits opposite me at school with new and weird delights each day.

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4) Everyone is a designer

Whether it be the clothes they wear, the way they decorate their apartments or the food they cook. All the Danes have a great sense of style and even though I am studying an architecture school, it seems everyone else I meet has an interest in some form of design, so I can truly see why Danmark is at the forefront of all things Design and am so glad I chose it for my exchange.

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5) Danish people love having a ‘hyggeligt’ (fun and cosy) time with a beer… or 10

Now that the weather is heating up the best part of the day is enjoying a beer in the afternoon sunshine somewhere outdoors, who cares if it’s only 5 degrees? And my do the Danes enjoy their beer and drinking in general for that matter! Before coming to Danmark I hated beer but I am becoming accustomed to it and the time spent with the locals in hidden, cosy bars. Maybe this is because everyone here seems to drink nothing else and because it is all you can get at most bars and perhaps because it is easily the cheapest thing. Atleast biking to and from school each day makes me feel a little healthier to make up for it.

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So now with these tips, you can pretend to be a little more Danish and blend in with the locals like me if ever you visit!

Farvel from Århus,

Eloise McDonald

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Denmark

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