Hi GUESers! It’s me, MC, writing from Copenhagen, Denmark. I cannot believe I’ve been living in Copenhagen for almost two months already. As I near the halfway point in my stay, it’s the perfect time to reflect and share with you all what the heck I have been up to (and obviously, what I’ve been eating).
First off, let me set the scene for you guys. Copenhagen is like no other place I’ve ever been to. Everybody bikes, nobody jaywalks, public transportation is pristine. Castles are in the smacked in the center of the city and 17th-century architecture is blended with modern buildings. Check this out to get a little bit more of an idea:
Copenhagen is aaaaall about the hygge, and I’ve been fully embracing it. There is no direct translation of ‘hygge’ into English, but basically it means enjoying the simple, good things in life with good people and creating a warm atmosphere. This means that all of the cafés and restaurants are super cozy. I traded in a crammed Lau 2 for a café called ‘The Living Room’ that has huge couches, wool blankets, and candles.
Now the not-as-fun part: school stuff. My program at DIS Copenhagen, is centered around a core course and four electives. My core course is European Business and am surprisingly loving my class. Our core course is structured around having one full week to travel around Denmark and one full week to travel around other countries in Europe. During my week in Denmark, my class visited successful Danish businesses. Some names you might recognize are LEGO (yes, we visited the LEGO Factory and it was my childhood dream come true), ECCO shoes, and Carlsberg Brewery (my professor is the Secretary General of the Danish Brewers Association). This weekend, my class departs for Berlin AND Prague to visit more companies and to do some touristy things along the way. The best part about my program is the emphasis on learning outside of the classroom and taking advantage of our surroundings in Europe to develop our understanding inside the classroom.
One of my electives is Danish Language and Culture (a requirement taken begrudgingly by all Georgetown students here). I’m not going to lie, the Danish language is tricky. I took French for eight years and it is not at all similar. The written language looks nothing like the spoken language. For example, the word for food is spelled “mad” but pronounced “malle.” Luckily for me, almost everyone in Denmark speaks English, so it’s easy enough to communicate.
Okay, enough about classes. Back to what you guys are reading this for… the food. Another thing you need to know about Copenhagen? It’s expensive. I’m here to confirm the rumors: coffee is 8 US dollars. I have to confess, I (like the rest of the Danes) have succumbed to drinking instant coffee every morning. Because the food is expensive, I needed to create a balance between enjoying the amazing food Copenhagen has to offer and not becoming bankrupt by the end of my first month. My solution: cooking.
Because I never had an apartment at Georgetown, this has been my first real experience cooking for myself. Braving my first Danish market was a frustrating experience. First of all, all of the food names are in Danish (chicken = kylling; cheese = ost; you get the picture). I couldn’t find foods that were staples in my kitchen cabinets back home (still have yet to find normal tortilla chips and salsa). But then I realized that this is probably my only opportunity to be living in another country. I need to embrace the food and the culture here, rather than hold onto the things I like from home. I swapped my white bread for rugbrød, the dense Danish rye bread (actually fantastic for avo toast!), rather than seeking out what I missed from home.
Though I cook for myself, I also can’t help but to eat out. The food in Copenhagen is absolutely incredible. While there are some staple traditional Danish foods you can find everywhere, Danes basically eat any kind of food you can think of: Thai food, pizza, pasta, ice cream, lots and lots of shawarma. One traditional Danish food is smørrebrød, a piece of buttered rye bread stacked (and I mean STACKED) with means, fish, or other spreads. Danes love their fish. Since I’m not a huge fish eater, I sadly cannot report on any of that. Danes also love their porridge. They make breakfast, lunch, and dinner porridges, and layer them with fruits, veggies, sauces, anything really.
My favorite part about the food in Denmark is the diversity. I never get sick of a certain kind of food because there are SO many things to try here. I’ve eaten at so many incredible places and tried so many incredible foods, so I’ll try to give you the highlights of my favorites:
Okay, wow, are you still with me? I just unloaded a lot on you. I guess to sum it up, I’ll leave you with this: Food in Copenhagen is expensive, but trust me, it will be worth every bite.
Taste The Culture
Welcome to Fork Tales – The GU Eating Society's blog. Read all about our members' cultural food experiences, right here.