Arriving in Denmark

Moving to another country is a big task and Julia talked about how much she had to prepare and how Covid made this even harder. I read what Julia did and so did much the same. Following her advice, I have now safely made it to Denmark and I am in my new accommodation!

It was exciting getting on the airplane, explaining why I should be allowed into the country while showing my admission forms and negative Covid test. I then took a bus journey to Aarhus, where Gabi helped me take my things to my accommodation and provided me with some food to last me a few days. I now have to isolate and wait for another negative Covid test, which will let me leave my room and explore my new home, Aarhus. Isolating is hard enough at the best of times but is especially difficult in a new country when you know very few people. Therefore, I thought I would give some tips and advice on how to get through it based on my experience.

Routine

The most important factor in keeping sane while stuck in one room is to try to develop a routine. This does not have to be a rigorous routine that you stick to with rigid discipline and instead should be a loose routine with lots of flexibility. It should keep you in a rhythm that gives you a sense of time and purpose. It sounds corny and something a life coach would say but it really does help in staying optimistic and productive. For example, I have organized my day around my working routine I had at my home before I moved. This consists of making sure I am up and have eaten breakfast in a reasonable time and then checking my emails, which leads me into the day. Then once I have finished working I will have some food before watching a programme or speaking to a friend and finally standing outside on my balcony to get some fresh air. This keeps me sane and focused as otherwise I would lie in bed and barely notice the difference between night and day!

Work

Keeping focused on the reason I have moved is a good distraction from being trapped inside four walls. I am in the lucky position of enjoying my work and so have found it calming to do a bit of research, make a presentation for a course or even write a blog post. I am trying to make the most of this isolation period to catch up on some of the work and progress I have missed while I was doing the research from my home in the UK.

Learning Danish

Anyone who knows me knows that I am dyslexic and have been known to on occasion struggle with the English luggage language. The thought of learning a foreign language has always daunted me and before now, I have ashamedly refused to try to learn anything and just rely on other people’s grasp of English. I do not want this to be the case and I am learning some Danish so I can have a basic grasp of it in the hope that once I finish my PhD I may be able to speak with a Dane in their native tongue and surprise my Danish aunt with a fully Danish conversation. However, the learning is hard and I am using a mixture of the Duolingo app and a pocket English to Danish book, which are useful tools to learn a little Danish before I am able to explore Aarhus.

I hope this will be helpful for people who also have to isolate or are interested in what my experience moving to a different country during a global pandemic has been like. As for me, I can’t wait to be allowed out of my room to meet my colleagues in person and dip my toes into the Danish way of life. Wish me luck!

Posted by Alfred Hopkinson

A PhD student at InterCat studying the formation of organic molecules on carbonaceous grains.

1 comment

Great to read your blog. Your written English is very fluent and people would not know you are dyslexic. Glad you are settling in despite COVID. Take care of yourself. Grandmax

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