(This is an Interview I had done for the Newsletter this month, at the end I will attach the link to it as well.)
Shortly tell about yourself, and what your background is YFU wise
Hej! My name is Vicky, and I am the new intern here in YFU Danmark.
I come from a city in the north of Argentina, Corrientes, and I will be staying here for half an year. Now 2 months had passed so I have 4 more left.
I knew from YFU because we had many exchange students, but it wasn’t until 2013 that I started to get involved in volunteering, in 2014/2015 I went as an exchange student to Estonia and right after I arrived to Argentina, I became the Regions-leader from my area, being the one in charge of the interviews for the future applicants, host families, YFU promotion and the responsible for the exchange students living there. This year I started with Coloured Glasses, and now I am here learning to do some Office work as well.
What do I do as and intern
As an intern here I am doing mainly Coloured Glasses workshops and school visits for promotion. But also Office work every morning If I am not traveling and assisting to extra meetings in the evenings and weekends at Huset.
As we have the schools visit competition the volunteers can always feel free to send me an email asking if I can join me, so they get double points.
What are the Coloured Glasses about?
“The concept of Coloured Glasses comes from “the Sunglasses Analogy”. This analogy explains that everyone is born with sunglasses of a specific colour based on the nationality the person was born with. That means you see the things in all colours but not the colour of the sunglasses. Each country has a different colour of glasses. The coloured lenses represent our attitudes, beliefs, values and represents our cultural identity, which we are socialized with. All information we perceive go through this cultural filter – the coloured glasses.”
The Coloured Glasses workshops I do are considered as a non-formal education activity for students from 6th to 10th grade, so while being on the class room I first introduce myself in a very short way and start making some ice breakers for them to feel more comfortable later on giving their opinion. Sometimes we do them outside in a public school space or the garden.
Later we start with the workshop itself were I engage the participants in simulations and role plays that allows them to experience some aspects of intercultural interaction. The main goal of the workshops is designed to build young people, self-awareness, leading them into cultural understanding, by introducing them to the concepts of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination.
At the end we will make a round saying one thing that we had learned during the day or writing them on the board.
Stereotypes about Denmark
I was in Danmark last year in July for almost a month, living in Frederikshavn, so I thought that somehow I knew what to expect when coming again his year, but luckily things just got better.
What I used to think is that every Dane wears only black clothes. But that is not 100% true, they also wear dark blue, dark green, grey and maybe white if is a sunny day.
I heard a lot that Danes eat a lot of potatoes, luckily or at least in my house here we don’t eat potatoes every day, where comparing to my exchange year we would have potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (nali)
Also, I thought that Danes biked a lot, and that stereotype is true. Rain, snow, could weather, warm weather, anything is perfect for biking.
My guess on why Danish students go to South American countries
In my opinion is a bigger adventure to go to a complete different culture. As the known phrase says “Magic happens when you go out your comfort zone”.
Also, you can learn another language apart from English or Danish (that here everyone knows) and be fluent on it by the time you come back home.
How do we convince all teenagers to go on exchange?
Here in Danmark students after 9th class have many options; they can go to 10th klass, an efterskole, gymnasium or as an exchange student. And the true is that not everyone is interested on going a year abroad; But at the same time there is many teenagers interested in trying something different from their routine, so there, is our opportunity to talk with them. If we do not speak, they might never heard about it.
For me, the best decision I had done, was to go as an exchange student; so I tell them about my experience.
Usually what I say is that while being far from your family, immersed on a complete different culture they will get to:
- Live with a Host Family, that eventually will become a second family for you.
- Go to a different school, maybe even with a complete different school system than what you are used to, and learn a different language or improve one you already know.
- Participate from fun YFU activities and make strong relationships with people from the all-around world.
- Get to know more about your own culture by learning to adapt to a new one.
- Try new things that you wouldn’t be able to try if you would had stayed in your home country, this can apply from food to sports to anything.
- Get to know much more about themselves. An exchange year is not Holidays, and not everything is just fun, you might struggle with many things at the beginning, especially with culture shock, but nothing can be compared to the feeling of getting over it. You grow a lot, become more tolerant, independent and learn to appreciate and enjoy everything much more than you did. You become a global citizenship.
Happy to be in Denmark
Being an intern includes a lot of work, being independent and responsible; but I love it and I am very happy I have the chance to be here in Denmark meeting amazing people and learning more and more everyday.
Now, I cant wait to experience a Danish Christmas and hopefully I will leave Denmark speaking a bit of Danish.
Link to the interview: https://issuu.com/yfu-danmark/docs/december_2016_issue_new