What I say when I’m welcoming newcomers to Denmark

This column originally ran in the Danish tabloid BT on August 27, 2019. Fall is one of my favorite times of year, because it is time for one of my favorite types of speaking engagement – introducing Denmark to some of the smart, motivated young people arriving from around the world to study at Danish universities. The university people have wisely decided that another foreigner might be best suited to explain some of the quirks of Danish culture when welcoming newcomers to Denmark. So since the publication of my first book, How to Live in Denmark, I’ve been speaking regularly to audiences of new arrivals, and I probably learn as much from them as they learn from me. What Danes are most proud of One of the things I’ve learned is that the aspects of Danish culture that the Danes are most proud of can be troublesome for newcomers. For example, the Danes are proud of their egalitarian society and informality. But this can be daunting to someone who has grown up in a more stratified, hierarchical society where titles are important – like China, or India. Or Germany. The idea that professors, doctors, and prime ministers should be called … Continue reading What I say when I’m welcoming newcomers to Denmark