So here’s the homestay post you were waiting for.
I’m living in a homestay out in Farum. My host family consists of my host mom, Vibeke, and my host brother, Oliver. They’ve been so incredibly helpful and welcoming, and I really do think they’ve made my abroad experience thus far absolutely incredible.
This is my room and I am obsessed with the windows and patio. Like how can I not love that?? Something interesting is that a lot of Danish buildings don’t have any air conditioning because it almost never gets warm enough to need air conditioning (but they do have radiators for when it gets cold). When it’s hot – and even when it’s not – I’ll open the door to my patio and the breeze is amazing. Danish air just smells super fresh and clean.
My incredible view also means that I get to wake up to this gorgeous sunrise literally every single day.
My home brother loves to play video games and I’ve definitely bonded with him through Fortnite, Minecraft, and CSGO (he still kicks my butt every time we play but it’s fine). He’s also always trying to convince his mom that he deserves to eat ice cream, and he usually wins – which is a plus for me because he always gives me one too. He’s always super excited to teach me Danish; we always end up with him saying “rødgrød med fløde” and me absolutely butchering it and hoping that maybe…one day... that I’ll get it right. But alas, today is not that day.
I’m slowly getting adjusted to life in Denmark and being in a homestay has been such an interesting experience thus far as I finally understand the sarcastic Danish humor and decipher what seems like 300 different types of cheese.
I had a lot of questions/concerns before and even after I chose my homestay:
Will I have my own space or ever be by myself? How long will my commute be each day? Will I be able stay in Copenhagen after my classes and hang out with friends? Also will I even have any friends? Will I be able to travel? IMO, all very valid questions, and here’s what I’ve found so far.
- I have my own room and my own space in my homestay. I do my best to engage with my host mom and host brother every day, whether that just be talking about our days, watching a movie/show together, or playing board/computer games together. BUT I do have my own space and they’re completely fine if I just go to my room after dinner once in a while to just be by myself and relax.
- My commute from walking to the train station, taking the train to Copenhagen, and walking to DIS is usually around 55 minutes. I was definitely really nervous about this at first, but then I realized that it’s honestly not that bad at all. I’ll usually just do homework on my 35-minute train ride and jam to Taylor Swift’s new album (if any of you readers want to talk about this album, please hit me up) as I’m walking to/from the station. I also just love riding the train and looking at the Danish landscape. I think another benefit of living further out is that my transportation pass covers more places/stops than those of some of my friends who live in the city. I’ve been able to explore more towns (for free!) and go hiking at Hareskov. The commute has honestly been fine for me, and I don’t think I needed to stress about it as much as I did.
- Even though I try to eat dinner with my host family as much as I can, they’re really understanding and are always fine with me staying in Copenhagen later than usual to eat dinner with friends instead of with them. My host mom just asks that I let her know the day before so she doesn’t end up preparing more food than she needs to, but I think that’s a really fair request. Most of my days end pretty early and I usually have around 3 – almost 4 – hours to explore Copenhagen with friends, do some homework, or whatever I feel like doing, and I think it’s a decent length.
- I was definitely freaking out about not having any friends because living in a homestay is a lot different from living in a kollegium or LLC for example in that you aren’t really surrounded by other DIS students. However, DIS provides a homestay network to help DIS homestay students living close to one another connect and establish those friend groups. We had a housing orientation where we got to meet everyone and my host family hosted the jump-start event for my network where all the families brought cake and bonded. I think I’ve been able to make some pretty fantastic friends both through this network and through my classes, and I’m completely happy with where I’m at now!
- I’m also definitely able to travel! My host mom knows that I want to travel and has actually helped me plan a couple trips too! I’ve definitely been really cautious about not over-traveling though because I love spending time with my host family, but even then, I’m planning on traveling to 7-8 cities. The way I planned my traveling is that I’m doing them during the major breaks so I don’t spend too many weekends away from my host family.
But which housing is the best?
I wish I could tell you the answer, but I really can’t. I think every housing option has its pros and cons. I will say that I’ve l o v e d my homestay experience so far and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m sure other DIS students in other housing options also enjoy their housing situation as much as I do, so I guess just really consider what it is you want and need from your housing to t h r i v e. Definitely really take your time as you write your housing application and put down everything, even if you don’t think it’s important. I mentioned that I love Taylor Swift in my housing application, and my host brother does too! Coincidence? Maybe…maybe not.
That’s all for now! See you next week after my short study tour!