Notes from A broad – Tabatha Pilon on Driving and Losing her English in Denmark! January 20, 2012

CFN – In Denmark, driving is one of those things that I’m not legally allowed to do and I am so happy about this rule. Even if I were allowed to drive, I don’t think I would be able to do so without killing a couple people, probably myself included.    Denmark has a lot of different laws with driving compared to Canada, one of them being that cyclists have the right away, even over pedestrians. This is something that I actually only recently found out so now I understand why all those times in the past I’ve had a cyclist yell at me— and trust me, there were plenty of times!
So everytime you have to turn right, you have to constantly check over your shoulder to make sure it’s safe from bikers! As well, cyclists not only always have a designated biking lane on the road, but there is also a cyclist’s light at every stoplight. This way cyclists know when they are able to go as well as the vehicles on the road.
One of the other small differences here are the street lights! Before going to either red or green, they will first go to yellow, which I personally find to be a lot more convenient, as it allows you the time you need to begin driving, unlike when it just turns straight to green from red.
Something else that I found out about Denmark is that there are barely any stop signs! Even though there are no stop signs, though, there is an alternative to signal a stop, and that is the lines painted on the road!If there are thick white blocks across the road, that means that cyclists and vehicles are required to stop when pedestrians wish to cross—and you literally just walk out into traffic! And if there are little white triangles also, it means that you have to yield. The odd time, it is possible to come across a stop sign, but not very often do you come to one.

I think Denmark isn’t the only country in Europe that drives like, unfortunately, and I can imagine that driving in England or France would be even worse, but the lack of automatic cars also makes it feel ten times worse! Or, at least, it did upon my first arrival here in Denmark, but now that it has been five months that I have been in Denmark, I have found that I have noticed these things less and less, and it was only when I was talking to one of my friends back in Canada about driving that I realized these strange things that are in Denmark.
I think the strangest part is that I had to really think hard about what it was like in Canada! It feels like I’ve lived with these things my entire life!   Now that we are halfway through with the first month of the new year, with my resolution to speak/write in Danish more often, my english skills have seemingly disappeared altogether, and often whilst speaking with my friends or family in English, I am forgetting words from my native language! It often becomes a habit to finish a sentence with: ‘sjnksjngvwrijnrfjk’.As I hope that my Danish improves this year, I also hope that my english doesn’t get completely ruined in the process!

Tabatha Pilon is a 17 year old student from Cornwall Ontario spending a year in Denmark.   She will be writing to us  each week or as her “gymnasium” schedule allows.  If you have questions for her or would like to sponsor her column email us at
Bobs Vac

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