Amanda Dale ’07, who moved to Denmark three years ago to pursue a master’s degree, realized that she and her other classmates didn’t know many natives. Dale and her friend, Nanna Klerk, decided to experiment with the idea of bringing Danish and international residents within Denmark together to create community.
“Danes are a bit notorious for being reserved, and many international people in Denmark struggle to build a social or professional network, or ever really feel at home in the country,” said Dale. “Nanna and I thought we could be in a good position to try and change that, for at least a few people.”
The result was Dinner with a Dane (DWAD), a nonprofit that brings people together to help ease the transition for people who have relocated to Denmark.
Non-natives can go onto the website and fill out a questionnaire regarding their location, family and interests. They are then matched up with Danish volunteers who have registered to host a dinner. Once paired, they decide when the dinner will be held.
DWAD currently has around 500 total participants, half are Danish volunteers and the others are immigrants.
“Dinner with a Dane has made people happy, and it really has the potential to grow,” said Dale.
Dale currently works full-time for a relocation company, helping people who move to Copenhagen find housing, carry out necessary registrations, and adjust to life in Denmark. Dale believes that her Linfield experience allowed her to grow in many ways, at her own pace.
“I was not one of those students who finds their life calling in college. I was still quite confused about my role in the world and what I had to offer when I walked across the graduation stage,” said Dale, who moved to Japan without ever having been there or knowing the language. “I think I was able to go through with it because during my four years I had gradually tried more and more new things and experienced small successes with each new challenge. It was the natural next step to take on something bigger.”
Those steps then lead to bigger ones, which ultimately led her to pursue her master’s degree in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the Aarhus University School of Education.
“I think that everyone has the power to create positive experiences for other people in one way or another,” she said. “This is our way of trying to do that.”
By Morgan Gerke ’16