A few months ago I wrote a post reflecting on life as a foreigner in Denmark. I wrote it in response to the constant and ever-changing rules related to Danish language schools in Denmark. One that left most of us foreigners in Denmark feeling a little lost.
If you are a fellow foreigner in Denmark, and one currently studying Danish you will likely understand this feeling. It’s all just been a bit of a mess since the announcement was made in March that language schools in Copenhagen were closing and we’d all have to pay for lessons after the 1st of August.
Since that announcement, language classes haven’t been the same. It’s been a very strange environment as teachers and staff tried to also make sense of what it meant for them.
I looked into learning Danish before moving to Denmark but between incubating a little person and managing several other significant life challenges, it just wasn’t an option. So, I like many others have been extremely grateful for the support and languages classes provided by the Danish Government since arriving. Classes which I have been diligently attending for the last 2 years. Two night classes every week and at least 3 more nights of homework. Staying at home in the weekend to do study while the Dane and BBB go on adventures. It’s an invisible burden to most, unless you’ve travelled the same journey previously. And it is a weight that continuously hangs heavily on my shoulders. Not because of my integration contract (because I do have one with the Danish government) or any other government requirements, but because it is my personal wish to be fluent in Danish. I know I need it to be able to live a proper life in a Denmark. I refuse to be labelled as the ‘dumb foreign mother’ standing next to Bilingual Backpack Baby (BBB), unable to understand what her little friends and their parents are saying.
So, I’ve been taking this whole learning a language thing quite seriously. And today after many months and weeks of grind and study, I got the news that I passed my latest module exam (Module 4) out of 5. It’s a relief and yes I am drinking a glass of wine right now to celebrate.
But the recent announcement on changes to the system forced me to do a bit of self-evaluation as well. Is the Danish school system the best place for me now? And what should I do after the first of August when the new rules come into effect. What school will I register with because my current school will close in 6 weeks time.
Which lead me to discover 2 quite big things.
Firstly, because I am in Denmark on a ‘Family Reunification Visa’ – the new rules do not actually apply to me! Free Danish lessons, courtesy of the Danish government are still available to me. But no one ever told me this before now. It appears the ‘Dane’ finally came in handy for something 😉
So if you are also in Denmark on a Family Reunification Visa, I strongly encourage you to ring International House and ask how the rules specifically affect you. My current language school never told me this, so don’t rely on your own school to tell you either. Ring International House. They are super helpful. You can contact them here.
The second thing I realised when evaluating my options is that the Danish language school system isn’t the right place for me right now. Especially in this very muddled and confusing environment where schools are still setting up timetables and finding classrooms for the influx of students they are expecting to now get. Also, after 2 years of study. I'm tired. I need to do this at my own pace now.
So, I’ve been taking additional private lessons for the last few months and have gained so much more from these. The lessons are suited to my learning style and are a power punch of Dansk (that’s Danish) every week. If it wasn’t for these I know I wouldn’t have passed my recent exam. And the best thing is they are done via skype, so I can do them from home with minimal disruption. I get homework, individual feedback and a full summary and recap of each lesson within a few hours of each lesson.
Working full time and being BBB’s ‘manager' means my free time is in short supply and highly valued. So what I do with that, and how I choose to learn Danish are important decisions for me. If you are also evaluating the best use of your money and time, then check out https://www.tasteofdanish.com/ Loads of free content available on their website (join the mailing list if nothing else!) and great one on one lessons.
But above all else………and if you have only skimmed read this post, then let me say again……..if you are on a Family Reunification Visa in Denmark, RING INTERNATIONAL HOUSE because it is highly likely the new rules do not apply to you and you are still entitled to free Danish lessons in Denmark.