The Danish Summer: the Greatest Day of the Year

Four hours sleep within a 26 hour flying period seemed unbearable. Do I even have enough energy to lift my bags off the luggage belt? My movie froze and an air hostess’ voice interrupted my Two and a Half Men marathon. “Cabin crew prepare for landing.” The marathon resumed and I sat there frozen realising that once I land in Denmark, I leave my identity at the border. A new start. What would Aarhus have in store for me? My body, feeling like a collapsing wall of bricks, fell deep into the uncomfortably upright seat.

Needless to say, after arriving at my hotel, exploring the city, then settling into uni accommodation, meeting locals and mingling with other exchange students; I seemed to be quite well settled within the first few weeks. The university did a fabulous job at arranging activities for exchange students, such as trying the typical Danish foods, international party nights and a day where we all gathered in the park for some “fun and games.” Although the fun and games lacked in fun due to the games being designed for seniors (think lawn bowls but with wooden planks that don’t roll) I made some great friends on that day who I go out with regularly.

As a city, Aarhus is mesmerizing. The locals cringe about the weather and I’ve heard the joke “the Danish summer is the greatest day of the year” a few too many times (cue the fake laugh) however I cannot get my head around how gorgeous and luscious the landscape is, not to mention the incredible city centre vibe. Walking through the Botanical Gardens without taking a photo is almost impossible, the ARoS museum and it’s rainbow silhouette roof is breathtaking, and the city centre with well-preserved traditional canals running through it like its veins overshadows any negativity regarding the weather. I take a stroll through the city every few days just to embrace the scenery and the hypnotic acoustic music that floods the streets.

The nightlife here is one you won’t forget! Drinks are cheap, the music is great, the people are humble to speak with in class yet manage to tear up the dance floor on nights out. My university has parties every Tuesday and Friday nights yet the bar is always open from 10am to 3am just in case you wanted a wild Wednesday… or Monday if that’s what you fancy. The nights out promise to be filled with laughter, decent music, A LOT of people and possibly even bless you with a throbbing head the next day.

Despite enjoying the parties and going out with friends every day or every second day, I do manage to do all my university readings and write notes. It’s very important to attend the classes and maintain the level of attendance because that contributes to my overall grade. Life is all about balance so by having a social life, a night life, an independent life, and a more serious school life; then that balance can be achieved.

Looking back at that moment in the air where a nervous, fidgety girl, who perhaps ate a little too much food on the flight, (who doesn’t though?), I realise that I had nothing to be nervous about. By losing myself in a foreign country, I’ve found a sense of self not able to be articulated. It has been one month and I can already say that by having to rebuild my identity, I’ve added some more bricks to my sense of self than I could ever have imagined.

Nicola McClean

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