My name is Marcel Loebens, from Rio Grande, Brazil, and I was an exchange student with AFS in Haslev, Denmark, during the year of 2015 while I was 18 years old.
Before going to Denmark I didn’t know anything about this small and cold country called Denmark, I didn’t know what to expect or what was waiting for me there. But the best experiences are out of the comfort zone so I took the chance.
As an exchange student in Denmark, I learned new things and shared ideas and cultures with amazing people from all over the world. Learning other cultures opens you a world of opportunities and experiences you will never forget.
The life as an exchange student
For me, being an exchange student is an adventure, full of challenges but at the same time very exciting. My life as exchange student was like a roller coaster, it was an up and down all the time. In the beginning I was totally lost in an unknown country for me until then, knowing no one and unable to speak the local language.
But after while everything got better, I started being more confident and to make more friends, so then I finally felt that I had joined the school and the Danish community.
Why learn the local language?
Learning the local language for me was a big challenge, since the beginning I’ve been told that Danish was impossible to learn and I would only use my English. Since then I tried to speak only Danish with my host family and classmates.
After a while I learned to speak Danish and it was the best thing ever. You get proud of yourself and beyond the satisfaction of understanding everyone around you, everything gets easier. You start making friends and create friendship bonds easily, you can join groups or conversation because there is no longer the language wall that used to keep you away sometimes.
Being an exchange student at MSG Haslev
During my time in Denmark I attended the gymnasium MSG Haslev, it was new for me to study in a Gymnasium because the school system is very different from my country.
I changed from 4 hours of school in Brazil to almost a full day of school in Denmark. And the idea of using computers in class was also new for me, because I used to use notebooks and pencils in class.
But even with the differences I had a great time in MSG Haslev. There I had staff and teachers to support me throughout my time in the school and I also found really good friends always available to help me out.
I can say that my biggest satisfaction is that I grew up a lot during this year in Denmark and I’m better person then I was before back in Brazil.
I got the satisfaction to look back to all the challenges I had in Denmark and I got over all of them by my own, and I found out that if you really want do something, you can do it, but you have to work for it. Can be hard, yes it can but you will be rewarded.