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This post marks the beginning of the “Denmark: Behind the Curtain” category – the series of short stories with personal experience and reflections during my stay in Denmark, a relatively small Scandinavian country in the northern part of Europe. In these stories the usual “chic & sparkle” available for every tourist is combined with some “backstage peeping” possible only for residents of this interesting and colourful country.

I arrived to Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, on the sixth of August, 2010 to pursue my two-years Masters programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics at the University of Copenhagen (Københavns Universitet – KU), Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE). This has been possible mostly due to obtaining of one of the Danish Government Scholarships this year.

The LIFE representatives state that I am the first student from the Republic of Moldova admitted to the faculty (or perhaps even the entire KU). There are some other pioneers, for example, my friend from Honduras.

Well, the above-mentioned statement seems to be quite realistic, because the overwhelming majority of Danes do not really know where Moldova is or even that there is such a country.

For instance, here is a dialogue between an owner of a bicycle shop and me:

- Hvor kommer du fra? (“Where do you come from?” in Danish)

- Moldova (at that time I already knew some Danish words and phrases, thanks to the International Graduate Orientation Programme)

The guy thought I had not heard the question, so he repeated it:

- Hvor kommer du fra?

- Moldova!

My companion looked annoyed. He gathered all his knowledge in the English language and asked me for the third time:

- Where are you from?

- Moldova. Jeg kommer fra Moldova (“I come from Moldova”), – I tried to explain, – It’s a country in Eastern Europe.

- Hm-m… Molidova-a… – He murmured wistfully, trying to memorize the new location on the World map. I left him with his thoughts.

Usually you can easily explain a Dane the location of the Republic of Moldova by mentioning the Black Sea or by pointing out at the two bordering countries: “So, do you know Romania? Yes, good. And have you heard of Ukraine? Very nice! Now, imagine Romania, Ukraine, and in between there is a small but very beautiful and cosy piece of land called Moldova”. As a result, your companion nods with a smile, happy that he / she learned a new country today.

Still, there are people here, who have already heard about Moldova. As LIFE is a former agricultural university (and still maintains its specifics), some of its students know about our fertile black soil and the wine-making orientation of the Moldovan industry. In Danish the country is pronounced as Moldavia, which is a former name of this and the surrounding land.

Thus, raising awareness about the Republic of Moldova here should be a good thing to do. I have already demonstrated a small part of our traditional cuisine by preparing the salad “Moldova” for the International Dinner in August. And I have sung the national anthem of the country “Limba noastra” at the beginning of one of the lectures (it was our teacher’s initiative to present every country’s anthem).

So, there is a start. Now I have two years for continuation in introducing Moldova to Denmark. This should be a nice learning experience for both sides.

Filed under: Denmark: Behind the Curtain

2010-10-04 22:37:08


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