What is it like being a teenager in Denmark? Is it any different from a teenager’s life in Italy?
We, the class 1 c RG, tried to find that out in a project we made during the English lessons in the school year 2015/16.
We got in touch with students from the secondary school Tingagerskolen in Ringe, a town with about 5,400 inhabitants on the island of Fyn in the east of Denmark (see map). We were assigned to a partner, exchanged emails and sent each other power point presentations, short films and texts about various topics like our school, our house, our traditions, our town, our sparetime activities and our future dreams. Our Danish partners are between 13 and 16 years old (grades 7-9 in Denmark).
To start with, the Danish school system is quite different from ours. School starts at 8.30 and finishes at 15.30, from Monday to Friday. The students spend lunchtime at school and bring their lunch from home, as there is no school canteen. During lunch break most students stay in their classrooms and use the smartboard to listen to music or watch TV programmes. The school building is very nice. The classrooms are similar to our classrooms, but they have some recreation rooms which look just like living rooms with sofas and plants. The film room looks like a real cinema and there is also a school kitchen where the students learn to cook. In Denmark students have 11 weeks of holiday during the school year: 6 weeks in summer, 2 weeks at Christmas, 1 week of autumn break, winter break and at Easter. The grading system is completely different from ours: marks go from -3 to 12 (which is the best mark). Teachers are called by their first name. Generally, the students told us that school rules in Denmark do not seem to be as strict as in other countries.
All students live in houses, not in flats. The houses are detached one-storey brick houses with a big garden. Inside, the rooms are furnished in a very similar way to our rooms.
An how do Danish teenagers spend their free time?
As a matter of fact, just like we do… They do sports (handball seems to be the most popular sport, then soccer – they love watching games of the English Premier League -, gymnastics, motocross, and one student even practices shooting as a sport), they listen to all kinds of music (at the moment Lucas Graham is the most popular singer, also because he’s half Danish, but teenagers also love the DJ Rasmus Heedegaard, who makes remixes for 50Cent or Rihanna), spend time with their families and friends, play Playstation 4 (especially Call of Duty and GTA5) and watch films on Netflix and YouTube. Some play a musical instrument and there is also a school choir and a school band. Practice is after school, sometimes also together with parents (!). Once a year there is a big school music festival in the Tivoli in Copenhagen, where more than 5,000 musicians from many schools perform.
All in all, the project was really interesting. We didn’t only practice our writing skills in English, we also found out a lot about Danish life and culture. We hope that we will keep in touch with our partners even if the project has now come to an end.
Class 1 c RG