It’s a huge step for Greenlanders to move overseas for the first time, and most of them move to Denmark. This is because of the connected social welfare system and existing community already there.
This recently made video popped up on my Facebook feed, and I thought it so insightful and funny that I should share with you. For those who don’t know Nordic, here is an English summary of highlights of what the volunteers at the ‘Foreningen Grønlandske Børn’ (Greenlandic Children association) say.
Denmark is painted a beautiful place…
With tall trees, green grass, and the little Mermaid!
Danes get scared when…
Greenlanders say hello to them on the street.
Greenlanders are used to saying hello to everyone, especially in the smaller towns. Here in Nuuk people don’t say hi to everybody though.
There are so many types of…
Toilet paper! Shampoo! And vegetables! Fun Vegetables (and broccoli)!
There is always chaos…
There’s not much peace and quiet, with so much noise and life in the city of Copenhagen.
This is especially personally funny as I know some Asians would say Copenhagen is very boring because shops close so early. In many parts of Asia shops might close at 10pm everyday.
Greenlanders are much more spontaneous…
They take it as it comes. They try to come on time, but when they’re having a fun time they might forget that they made another date…
Danish are much more systemised.
They can organise a dinner 1.5 months in advance. Greenlanders can organise an event on the day.
If you have a play date with a Dane, that ends at kl.16.45…
You better pick up your kid precisely at that time!
ON CONFLICT: Greenlanders and Danes have a different way of discussing.
“In Denmark, it’s okay to have different opinions. You might say your opinion, the other then say theirs. If there is a disagreement, that’s ok. It doesn’t work exactly the same way in Greenland.”
People don’t end disagreement the same way in Greenland. If one person seems to mean that their perspective is more ‘correct’ than the other person, then the other person might show the white flag very easily. One very much tries to avoid conflict in Greenland.
How to say ‘we were otherwise on the way to church’…
Vi var ellers på vej til kirken – eight words in Danish
Oqaluffimmukarnialeraluarpugut – one word in Grenlaandic
Non-verbal communication in Greenland is high
Eyebrows and scrunches – check this post on ‘How we talk in Greenland’ =)
Greenlanders get confused with the equivalent of ‘not’ in questions.
Are you ‘not’ hungry? They might reply, ‘yes’ but it could go both ways…
There are so many strange faces in Denmark.
“I am alone here. I am here alone with my language. No-one knows each other, but here in Greenland everybody knows each other.”
“On the other hand, people have no idea who I am, so I have alot of freedom.”
The school system is very different
Students need to learn Danish, French, English …. and still keep Greenlandic. Parents should also help with assignments, they are also well informed of the school system and how the kids are progressing. In Greenland, perhaps not so much information is given out.
Greenlanders laugh at themselves… and you.
“If I said something dumb, or broke my leg, I would laugh about it… and others would also laugh. If Danish people describe breaking their leg, it’s a very solemn experience.”
“If I fell from my bike, I would laugh. Though in Denmark 25 people will stop and flock towards me, to ask how I am – and then be puzzled over why I am laughing!”
Many of these experiences would be shared by someone leaving a small community for a bigger one. Do you also have a cultural experience from moving?