You must be sick of these by now… but yes, another COVID-19 related article. 😛 I will talk about my recent trip to Denmark and include my personal thoughts about Denmark opening up to all Swedes as of the morning of August 1st. They must have a ‘worthy purpose’ for going and previously (from June 27th) only people from certain regions with low infection rates could visit.
Luckily for me, I am living in an region called Skåne which is one of these areas with low infection rates. So earlier this week I took the short boat ride to the Danish city of Helsingør and I was on my way. The boat was very big and at a reduced capacity which I loved to see. It is just a 20 minute trip across the Öresund strait so most guests were purchasing things – tax free alcohol whilst in the Danish border and tobacco in the Sweden border. This meant the top of the boat was very quiet and I could enjoy being at sea and my own personal space.
I love being anywhere near water, so the time went incredibly quick – especially as I was snapping many scenic photographs. Getting into Denmark was quite nervy but I managed it and we headed straight for the famous Kronborg castle. We had thought about entering due to the many half price discounts going around some of Denmark’s tourist attractions right now, but the copious amounts of people in potentially tight spaces was very off putting. Instead we had a look around the spacious and outside parts of the castle, really getting a free flavour of the castle without gathering in crowds.
The rest of the day was walking around the city and enjoying a packed lunch. Helsingør is a beautiful city with lots of street art and interesting modern buildings, which meant I was very content with simply walking around on my first visit. What I liked was that more people seemed to try and keep their distance than Sweden. There was also plenty of hand sanitizer on hand too which was very useful.
I do not know Denmark very well but it would appear that they have handled the virus well, much better than Sweden anyway. New cases are much lower in Denmark and I hope this is not affected by opening up more to their neighbours. I think there is danger in doing this as I am not so sure that everyone will agree if the situation in Sweden is improving. Denmark will need their tourism to improve and with easy journeys from Malmö to Copenhagen or Helsingborg to Helsingør available, you can appreciate how accessible and easy it is for visitors to arrive.
It is not like Swedes have many places they can go visit now, with many countries ‘shutting them off’ due to their questionable herd immunity strategy to handling the pandemic. If they hadn’t already I believe they will soon be flocking to Denmark for excursions and tourism. I liked that I could go to Denmark and experience another country. I did not think I would be lucky enough to do so but I am grateful for the opportunity.
What are your thoughts about a country like Denmark opening up their borders? Please do share your thoughts about this and the balance between tourism and protecting its citizens against the virus.
I am five months into my study abroad experience and although I have finished my studying for this year, I wanted to share some of my survival tips for managing the experience. I hope those thinking of studying abroad are encouraged by this post and those who have studied abroad can share some of their survival tips in the comments. In this article are just a few tips but I have so many more. Let me know if you enjoy this post and if you want to see a part two. Anyway lets get into the article…
Learn the language – English is the most widely spoken language worldwide but that doesn’t mean you should not learn the native language of the country you will be studying in. There is a very good chance you can ‘get by’ with English, but to be polite and improve your experience it is beneficial to learn some of the new language. I would admit that I am guilty of not doing this and not learning has made interactions such as shopping or ordering food difficult, or at least socially awkward. If you struggle with languages, learn the basics so that you can hold an interaction with someone and appear willing and polite.
Join a club – Making friends can be very difficult, especially for me… I recommend joining a club as you immediately find a bunch of people with a common interest. For me this was Badminton which I was playing twice a week before my University closed due to the pandemic. It felt like a good release of energy whilst engaging with other people in a very social sport, with friendly players. Maybe sport is not your thing, but there are plenty of other clubs and I guarantee there is something for everyone.
Don’t forget your friends back home – It can be an important time to meet new and intriguing people but don’t forget about those who were there for you first. That does not mean that you have to talk to them day in day out as you want to experience this exciting new lifestyle, but to simply catch up with them as often as you think is acceptable. If they are a good friend then they should understand that and encourage you to formulate these amazing experiences. Your friends back home will be one of the first to greet you with open arms and ready to hear all about your amazing experiences. Treat them kindly.
Give yourself time – It is wishful thinking to get on a plane and expect everything to work out immediately. There are so many new things such as language, place and people, that you are effectively starting a new life (for how ever many months or so you will be studying abroad). There is a good chance you will be nervous and even cry, or wonder what the heck you are doing in this foreign country. These are all normal emotions and ones that I experienced myself. But I can assure you that it gets better and you will start to live the abroad experience you envisioned, and more. For me this was heavily impacted by the pandemic which knocked my confidence, but I strongly believe in a normal year, things would have been much easy. Time is key to allowing ourselves to understand and adapt.
Hey everyone. It has been too long since my last blog entry as I have been so consumed with various things but mainly University. I now feel like it is a perfect time to give a little update on what else I’ve been up to and what is next for me this summer.
In the last few days I have finished the final assignment of my study abroad experience and consequently my second year of University. To put it bluntly, my semester abroad has not gone the way I had hoped and I have not seen anywhere near of Sweden as I would have hoped. But still, I am lucky and grateful to be here when many have gone back home months ago. Now I must make the most of the short time that I have left here and build more happy memories.
I feel incredibly relieved that summer is here, as I think I can speak for a lot of students here by saying that studying in a pandemic is incredibly hard. It is one thing adapting to online classes but another in finding the motivation to complete your assignments and studies. With so few classes and with most of them being in front of a computer, I could just not engage that well. It felt like the studying element was dragging on as there little interaction to be had online. With completion of this work it is like a great weight has been lifted on my shoulder and I can finally relax, whilst looking to spend time on things I have been neglecting recently.
Some of these things can be so simple but yet so easy to neglect when you have a lot going on, whether that is depression or if you’re incredible busy. Sometimes I am guilty of prioritizing the wrong things as I want to have good grades. But now I can finally get on with my time without stressing, at least for a little anyway. I feel very relieved.
So now I have a maximum of around two months left here in Sweden with a lot of spare time. There are hardly any restrictions here and some may like that, so they can go out and about. But for me, I am taking a much more cautious approach than most Swedes. I hope I can continue to travel to nearby places safely, as there is still a lot to do and see. I want to go to more nature reserves, parks and beaches. Sweden is a beautiful country and it is quite easy I feel to travel around. Thankfully there has been a lot to keep me busy these last few months.
For now I can just hope that the situation eases up to allow me to travel safely and that opportunities to social distance are possible. I feel that not many people respect the social distancing and that can make it terrifying to be outside – especially on public transport or small and narrow shops. I hope that the sun stays out and I can spread out in parks and nature, etc. There is a world out there to explore and there is a ticking clock in which to do it. I try not to think of regrets. For now I live in hope more than anything.
A blog for documenting my personal life experiences and thoughts featuring a pun from my avid interest in sport.