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Learning Danish to overcome distances after Brexit

Photograph: iStock / Tim Heymerdinger

Text: Cecília Tümler

Brexit has ignited the movement of many UK citizens to Denmark in the past few years. Whether for wanting a different lifestyle or being unhappy with Britain's whole political context, many Brits have been choosing Denmark as their new home. That's the case with musician Tim Heymerdinger, who moved to the surrounding area of Aarhus two years ago. Beyond Brexit paperwork, Tim focuses on learning Danish to integrate himself and fit more into the local community.

"In my home town, there is a good-sized international population, and I think anything that helps overcome distance between people of different backgrounds can only be a healthy thing," explains Tim. By learning the language and engaging with Danes in the neighbourhood or the supermarket, Tim hopes to spread the word that internationals in Denmark can and want to be a part of society.

Nevertheless, he knows that sheer will and confidence alone can't do the trick. We could call it a consensus: most people would say that learning Danish as a second language is an arduous task, and randomly approaching locals to practice can lead to quite embarrassing encounters. So, choosing a learning method that works for you is also an essential step on the ladder of speaking Danish. "I have tried classroom-based learning but find myself very shy in trying out new phrases/words in front of others, and that self-consciousness and nervousness blocks my learning", adds Tim, who is now trying out the Swap Language method instead.

"Combining online lessons and one-on-one practice with a language partner, Swap Language promises a more practical and fun approach to Danish." - Tim Heymerdinger

Combining online lessons and one-on-one practice with a language partner, Swap Language promises a more practical and fun approach to Danish. "The only way to truly learn a language is to communicate and interact at a native level", says the schools' website. "Go native" is the motto of Swap. Tim explains that despite being a beginner, the studies have already helped him by being less shy and trying out his new language skills: "I have had situations in a store where the whole queue behind me gets involved in the best translation of 'where do I find the sweet potatoes?'. This brings smiles all round, gets me recognised, and I make new friends this way". Among Swap Language benefits, Tim highlights the streaming lessons on-demand if you miss the live lessons, and the engaging tutors.

Living close to Aarhus, Tim and his partner fell in love with the culture, arts and safety the city provides. These are only some of the reasons why the couple wants to stay in Denmark and maybe one day apply for Danish citizenship - with the invaluable asset of having learned the Danish language.

To find out more about Swap Language

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