For the last year, I have been going to Danish classes about 4 times a week. Most of the time I resented it and couldn’t be happier for the day I’d be done with language school. But now I’m almost done and I feel like I’m not ready to be “released” into Danish society just yet.
In Denmark there are 3 language levels (for those that only went to elementary school, high school, or have an academic background) and I’m placed in the group with an academic background where the full education will lead up to level B2. So for most of last year, I have been in different classes with like-minded people and a lot of them I call my friends.
While I was allowed to skip the first module pretty much on the basis of speaking Dutch, it still took me a year to finish module 2 til 5 (which I considering long, but it’s actually a lot shorter than the 3 years the government reserves for us). I never allowed myself to take any breaks, not even during summer. My dad learned Dutch in about 2/3 years and my mom, well lets just say that she “knows” Dutch and they did this all under the pressure of a 60 hour a week job. So I was (and still am) determined to get a hold on this language.
Most of the time though, I didn’t really felt that my Danish was improving at all and in my mind I always made the next module the benchmark of being fluent: while being in module 3, I’d say “when I’m in module 4, I’ll be fluent” and while being in module 4, I’d say the same about module 5. I’d always feel intimidated by those darn Germans, because somehow they were always fluent as soon as they just walked into the class room. And over the year, I’ve received a lot of feedback (or critique) from my teachers on my writing assignment. But honestly, who wants to write a 200 words essay about the Danish healthcare system?
So now I’ve finished the first half of the final exam (level B2) and I just received the below messaged from the language school:
First of all, I have to start with the Danish grading scale, it might be the weirdest system world-wide. The lowest grade is a -3, passing is 02 and 12 is the highest grade. While I was kinda aiming for “passing”, so it all would be done, I surprised myself with a 12 (A or 10/10) for reading and a 10 for writing (B or 9/10). While I received these fantastic grades, I still feel my Danish isn’t wat it is supposed to be. Of course, at this point I’m able to go see a doctor in Danish, order a beer at the bar or even do some small talking. But I definitely feel that I’m not completely able yet to let my personality shine through in Danish and I easily get caught of guard when people speak Danish to me. In 2 weeks I will have my (final) oral exam and if I pass this I will finally done: but do I really want to be done?
I’m really hard for myself and while most people are satisfied with the regular “Danskuddannelse”, I’m still not content with my Danish these days. If I manage to graduate with a 10 on average, it’s possible to apply for “Studieprøve”: a Danish education, which leads to level C1. With this diploma you’re allowed to study at a Danish taught education (not that I’m interested in that), but it gives me some more time to develop my Danish skill further. So even though, I have shouted for the last year that I wanted Danish to be over I have to withdraw my words.
My life in a nutshell
Have you ever tried to learn a new language and has it been as frustrating as Danish has been for me?
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