Merlijn de Rijcke from Belgium has spent six months as a bachelor exchange student in Denmark and also attended IA Sprog’s Danish classes at Metropolitan University College. Now the six months have passed, but Merlijn wants to stay to complete a master’s degree.
Merlijn, age 25, comes from Gent in Belgium. In January, he finished his bachelor in social work with a specialization in social policy. The education is about how to make new policies, and how you can influence the policies from the outside – basically how governments and NGOs work, Merlijn explains.
He has spent the last semester as an exchange student in an internship at Metropolitan University College:
” My university suggested Copenhagen to me, because I am interested in climate adaption projects, and Copenhagen has lots.”
Merlijn tells us how the city of Copenhagen is a first mover when it comes to climate adaption projects. He has used Copenhagen as a case study for his bachelor project which is also a research project for the city of Gent.
Danish classes at Metropolitan University College
During Merlijn’s exchange he attended IA Sprog’s Danish classes at Metropolitan University College. He followed Danish Language Course 3, module 1, and he has been very satisfied with the classes. He only attended one module, but he already knows a lot of words and understands quite a lot of Danish. He especially remembers the module test:
“The test was really cool; the teacher spoke only Danish. It was just like having a sort of real Danish conversation.”
When speaking of life in Denmark, Merlijn states:
“Social life is good in Denmark and people are friendly, especially in the summer. In the winter, it is a little tough with all the darkness.”
Merlijn has also noticed some differences between Danes and Belgians:
“Danes are a bit more closed than Belgians. And Danes would never cross a red light. Everybody does that in Gent!”
A master of science in climate change in Copenhagen
The exchange has left Merlijn wanting more. He wants to stay in Denmark and learn more Danish. After a short visit to Belgium to defend his bachelor’s project, his plan is to return to Denmark to do a master of science in climate change at Copenhagen University.
The thing is, though, that the master’s programme does not start until September, so he has to find something to do in the meantime. But he has a plan that also involves learning more Danish:
“While I wait for the master’s to begin, I would like to stay in Denmark and do volunteer work or do another internship. That way I could learn more Danish. And if I get into the master’s programme here, I would really like to be able to speak Danish. It is nice to speak the language of the place you live.”
We ask Merlijn if he plans to work in Denmark after finishing the master’s, but he doesn’t know. It is an option, but anything can happen once he finishes his education.
For now, the plan is just ‘a master’s in Denmark, yes, please’.