The Danish government offer free lessons to all foreigners during their first three years in the country. Learning Danish is a requirement for non-EU citizens. However, although this is not my case, I started Danish lessons at the beginning of January.
Danes like to think that Danish is a very difficult language to learn. However, the CIA thinks otherwise, ranking it with the easiest languages to learn – so there is a lot I need to live up to!
Cartoon by Jolik
So what is my opinion on what I have seen so far?
The service provision
Danish for foreigners is taught in a number of schools in Sonderborg. However, for some reason it is only one school that is subsidised by the government. As is often the case, lack of competition does not tend to result in an optimal outcome.
Furthermore, as learning Danish to a certain level is a requirement for residency for non-EU citizens, the system is built on a series of module exams. I am perplexed since teaching to the exam is frowned upon for Danish citizens, so why is this the education offered to foreigners?
Going from university level education to Danish lessons, where I am essentially at the level of a primary school kid (if that) has been a shock to the system. Nevertheless, luckily our teacher has taken up the challenge of answering the questions we come up with. Him knowing a number of other languages also helps him show us the links between Danish other languages we know.
Verdict (so far)
The system so far feels quite chaotic, and not particularly well-equipped to handle well-educated foreigners. However, I HAVE actually learnt some Danish, which means that the aim is being reached.