Each fall, a group of enthusiastic Danes descends on Tabor, creating a unique opportunity for global exchange here at Tabor, and one that will extend to Copenhagen this spring!
The Danes are from Rysensteen Gymnasium, a high school located in Copenhagen, Denmark, known for its strong Global Citizenship Program. Rysensteen, much like American colleges, requires their students to focus on dominant subject areas of interest. Once decided, the students are put into groups called cohorts. Each cohort, made up of roughly 26-29 students, is committed to an international partner school that fosters cultural and academic exchange. For the past 3 years, Table has served as one of Rysensteen’s few American partners, greeting a math and science student cohort. Strong in their subject areas, and in English language skills, the Danes step right into class discussions and labs with ease, sharing examples of the ways they study similar topics at home. They are always interested in our marine science courses and have been impressed with our teaching methods. The students have also been adept at discussions and debates, proudly representing a culture so similar but yet so different than our own.
Another aspect of visiting Tabor that the students profoundly enjoy is the diverse offerings of courses, especially those not typically found back home: arts, acting, history, economics. The Danish seniors don’t “shadow” Tabor students; their schedules are independent and reflect their own course preferences. The same goes for the afternoons where they take advantage of the opportunity to sail, participate on the athletic fields, and generally immerse themselves in life at Tabor. We have made a great impression on the past two years of visitors, building great anticipation for the group arriving on October 5th. The students are looking forward to staying with local day families until Friday morning when they will head to Boston to fly back to Denmark.
Beyond meeting spirited English speaking peers from Scandinavia, an area of the world from which we don’t usually attract international students, our students really enjoy the evening dialogue we set up each year to share differences between our two countries. The “Cultural Conversation,” held this year on Tuesday, October 8 at 7:00 PM, has included a wide range of topics including family life, politics, religion, as well as education and teen independence. As citizens of a Democratic Socialist country, their perspective represents a different mindset. This dialogue and our students' ability to respectfully listen and discuss different points of view fosters our work toward cultural competency. All are welcome to come and participate.
In March, a group of 11th and 12th grade Tabor students will have their chance to visit Denmark, reconnecting with their new friends in their home country. It will be a fun chance to gain a new perspective, one that will offer opportunities to learn more about themselves and their own country in the process.