You can expect this as a student:
When you have to learn Danish, it is important that you prepare yourself for the fact that it is a very, very big task that will require a lot of effort. We will of course do everything to make it a success for you.
Even before we start the teaching, there are some things you can think about:
How do you get motivated?
– how do you best learn something new:
– by reading about it?
– by hearing about it?
– by watching videos?
– how much can you work
– are you ‘the hard worker’?
– the slightly mellow?
– can you ‘drive’ yourself?
In the beginning, impatience can become your biggest opponent, because there is no doubt that you are recruited because you are an extremely skilled doctor. Then it can feel deeply frustrating when you cannot communicate with your new colleagues unless it is in English. The frustration of not being able to do the work you’ve been doing for years is your biggest enemy.
It is a requirement from the health authorities that within one year of employment you must pass Danish Test 3. Your Danish lessons will also aim to prepare you to be able to pass this test with the required grades. After a short period of teaching, together with your management, we determine when you must register for DP3, which is held in May/June and November/December. This gives us a specific deadline to work towards.
Mentally, it is extremely important that you always remember that the harder you work with the language, the faster you will start to be an equal colleague in the department. The language is the tool needed for you to practice your skills.
You get intensive 1:1 teaching, which is specially tailored to your way of learning and working. At the same time, we plan the teaching so that you always learn as much as possible – as quickly as possible.
In addition to the intensive and individual teaching, you will also receive a big number of assignments that you must work on on your own. This self-study functions as repetition and training of some of the subjects that have been worked on in the lessons.
When, after two to three months of teaching, you have mastered basic Danish in both understanding, writing and speaking, we will start with the next two disciplines: medical Danish and patient Danish. And now the scene changes – some of the teaching will now take place in the department where you will be working from now on. You must acquire the language you speak to your colleagues in everyday life or write/dictate in the patient record. And you also need to be able to use ‘layman Danish’ when you have to talk to patients and relatives.
Teaching in ‘patient Danish’ takes place together with patients.
After a few times, when you – the foreign doctor – is there as a ‘foal’, teaching in the ward round is organized so that the doctor is assigned one or two patients, where under supervision the patient must be interviewed, followed up with a nurse and dictated to the medical record. In this way, we can check in everyday work whether the doctor is in practice able to use his linguistic strategies towards patients, for example in the ward or in the outpatient clinic.
A bonus of context-based teaching is that understanding and interest in the new doctor’s ‘language journey’ is created in the department.
After a few months, you will be so good at Danish that we will have to work on getting you ready to take Dansk Prøve 3. Here you will get all the good and useful tools we have created to make your way safely through the test. You will get to know the test form by having to ‘do’ about three of the previous tests, where you will then receive corrections, comments, suggestions for improvements, tips and tricks.
10 good tips for you who are learning Danish
1. Ask questions – you’ll become wiser only by being curious. The more questions you ask, the more knowledge you gather. Your colleagues and friends want to help, and when they discover that you are curious about the language, they’ll also start to challenge you with funny words and expressions, proverbs and idioms.
2. Note new words – always have a small notebook in your pocket or bag and write down new words that you can later look up on i.e. www.ordnet.dk.
3. Meet new people and talk with them. Everywhere you can talk to ‘the locals’ – in the supermarket, where you can ask if an employee – or another customer – will explain the difference between two products. If you’re queuing somewhere, it’s almost always safe to have a good chat, because everyone is paused while you wait.
4. ‘Use’ your colleagues – they want to help. Take every opportunity to ask your colleagues for help. If you have explained to them right from the start that you are working hard to become good at Danish, no one will be surprised by your questions. On the contrary, everyone will recognize you for your great effort with the language.
5. Join an association. If you have an interest – to play football, to run, to ride, to grow flowers, to photograph – then there is an association where you can learn Danish from the others. And maybe you can contribute with your knowledge on the subject.
6. Imitate the stars. Perhaps you have a favorite among Danish actors or singers. You can follow them on their website, watch interviews with them, read about them, and then you can collect small funny stories about your stars – and then you have the opportunity to contribute to the conversations during the next coffee break: ‘By the way, I saw an interview with …’
7. Always participate in small talk. This non-committal talk about a little bit of everything is part of what brings a group of people together and experience a community. This is where you can invite in little stories about your experiences – both from your home country and from your new life in Denmark.
8. Read, read, read. Take out a subscription to a newspaper – you get two things for the price: You can follow what is happening in Denmark and the world – and you learn lots of Danish. It is also a very good idea to read books. You can find lots of exciting books in the library – and maybe you should challenge yourself to read a book where you have read the review in your newspaper?
9. Collect successes. Always have a small notebook where you note your linguistic ‘victories’ – for example, your first conversation in Danish at your child’s school, your first use of a Danish idiom or your first e-mail to the municipality in Danish. Write them in your notebook – and notice when you flip through your ‘victories’ how much further you quickly have come. Remember to be happy about your own efforts.
10. Be good to yourself. Of course it is difficult to learn a new language, but you must not think – or say: ‘I can’t speak Danish at all’, or ‘I will never learn Danish’. Those thoughts will only make it harder for you to learn Danish and at the same time make it seem completely unmanageable. It is much better to say: ‘I am well on my way to learning Danish and I learn a lot every day’, ‘I am already much better than six months ago’. Those sentences will make you see the whole thing as a slightly more manageable task.