In Part 2 of 2 student blog entries, Gussie writes about the current global crisis and the need for a concerted response, while Gaby and Elodie offer some hope through the possibilities of global connections. While BCL’s hosting of visitors from Denmark in late March and early April may have been short, these writers remind us that even the briefest of interactions can have a lasting impact and change the way we live in the world.
THE WORLD’S GOING TO END.
Now I have your attention. Looking through these horrid photos in the New York Times of what climate change has done to our world makes me sad. Some of the oldest trees in Africa are dying, and fires are bursting out in Kilimanjaro. This is preposterous and so real. These photos show how much we have failed the world. Everything is worse than it used to be, causing millions of people to move because of climate change. We can’t just let someone else figure this out or there will be no future. We need to better invest in climate solutions. We need to save our planet. We need to face the reality of our changing planet and adjust our behaviors accordingly.
Some people believe that being a part of the climate change action is just posting a photo on their Instagram story and calling it a day. It is way more than that. I believe that people who help out in the community, go to protests, or create funds for climate change earn the right to post on social media. Merely sharing and liking posts isn’t the real work that we need. Climate change is all around us; you notice it in the weather and just walking around our city. The sad thing is people only realize climate change is real when they see the consequences of it. Some people think, “oh that will go away” or “someone else will take action.”
How can people take action? We aren’t going to spend our way out of this. We need people to alter their behavior, the only way that is going to happen will be through education. The education system in America should be focusing on the reality of climate change, rising sea levels, droughts, wildfires, and an increase in major weather events. People need to realize that at the end of that day their actions affect our planet and cause this horrid catastrophe. Once they realize we need to stop burning fossil fuels at our current rate, that’s when things will begin to change. Hopefully, it won’t be too late.
During the beginning of the BCL 8 semester we were introduced to a group of students studying with a similar program to BCL in Denmark. The program is called SIP at the Skals Efterskole in Skals, Denmark. SIP stands for Skals International Project- Class. Similar to BCL they focus more on real life learning and learning outside of the classroom. SIP and BCL have been planning a trip for the Danes to come to America for the past few years but it has always been postponed due to Covid. We met over zoom a few times and started to get to know each other with the hopes that their trip this spring would happen. They arrived in late March and were here for a week. They stayed with host families of BCL students and friends and spent the days with us at BCL and at DTBHS. We were not sure what was going to happen and if it would be awkward but it quickly became very fun!
During the time that they were here and that we were learning about each other online we realized how much we have in common. Not only the ways that we love to learn but also many aspects of our social lives. We love to hangout with friends and family. We enjoy spending time outside. While they were here we got to spend a lot of quality time together to get to know each other. This was so enjoyable because we shared our love for being with family and friends. Being able to have things to relate over was so important to our good times with the Danes.
Although we had a lot of things in common, we did have some things that were very different from each other. In terms of culture, Danish culture is very different but so interesting to learn about. I thought it was very interesting that they said that many people think of Danes to be very reserved but when they came here they were not reserved at all. And to them they were very shocked about how nice we were and how open and friendly we were. I thought it was very sweet that they felt like us being nice and open to them made them feel like they were included and did not need to be so reserved. Another thing that was very different was their use of public transportation and how much they bike. In Denmark they do not use cars as much as we do here. The age to get a license is also much later so they loved how we were able to drive them places because it is not like that there. The way they get around and the way they approach people is so different but something that was so fascinating to learn about.
There are so many takeaways that our group took from the week we spent with the Danes. One of the main things I took away was to always be open to learning about others, and where others come from. Having the Danes come visit us was a once in a lifetime experience and it was so amazing to be able to learn from them. Things that I would have never been able to learn about any other way.
In BCL we were lucky enough to spend time with Danish students who have been doing a program that is similar to BCL for the past year. We had the opportunity to connect with them and share stories about the differences in our cultures. While we spent time with them and talked about the differences in our schools and home life, my biggest takeaway from our time together was the Danish word hygge. This word does not have a direct translation, but can be described as the warm fuzzy feeling of togetherness, coziness, and happiness.
Hygge is the Danish national word, and I think that from the short amount of time that we spent with the Danes, I can tell that it is something they carry with them, and is something essential to their character. Through their actions, the Danes showed us that hygge is more than just a word. One time that the word hygge was captured perfectly was when Sadie, Gussie, Gaby, Emma, and I, all BCL students, were at Sadie’s with the Danish students, Astrid, Maria, Medea, and Julie. We were all snuggled up on the couch and talking about anything that came to mind, drama within our schools, relationships, or what we wanted for dinner. Since then hygge has become a part of my family and friends’ vocabulary. We learned about how many different ways there are to express and show the feelings that come with the word hygge. Hygge can mean comfort and laughs, it can mean being taken care of or watching the sunset, sitting on the couch with your friends, or even reading a book. The Danes taught us how to nourish and foster a community, they showed us the need for some down time and the rich conversations that can birth from being unplugged, they taught us how to take care of ourselves and how to process with friends and family, and they definitely showed us how well grounded they are, and how much of a community they are. There are an immense number of ways to show hygge, and according to the Danes, live a hygge lifestyle.