Andrew Wentworth - Copenhagen, Denmark
The very first day I arrived in Copenhagen I figured I would walk around the city and get as much of a feel for the culture as possible, before the jet lag set in. Copenhagen Business School partnered me with a girl who was to show me around. It was my first time being in a big city and, lucky for me, it just so happened to be a beautiful European city with a lot of history. After walking for three hours, I finally admitted that I was tired and needed to at least sit down for a break. We decided to stop at a little café that served a typical Danish food, which translates to "open-faced sandwich". The Dane easily persuaded me into giving one a try. As I was served my meal I was sure embarrassment was soon to follow. I was staring down at a single slice of rye bread with a combination of shrimp, hard-boiled egg, pepper, mayonnaise, and tomato all piled on top, looking as if it was going to fall apart with the slightest breeze. To make matters worse, I was handed a fork and knife and proceeded to watch my "tour-guide" begin to eat without letting any of the toppings fall off the bread. I gave it an honest attempt for my first two bites until I noticed her starting to giggle. I just looked at her with a smirk of defeat and told her that I was going to have to eat it my way. I had clearly never seen such a meal and the Danish girl had clearly never seen such an eating performance as I started slicing at the entire plate and mashing my food together.
This very first experience defines exchange for me. You are putting yourself in a different situation and you are constantly learning/teaching, sometimes without even knowing it. I began to enjoy open-faced sandwiches and made up a few of my own variations before the end of my stay in Denmark. The most ironic part of the story is that I became very skilled with a fork and knife while abroad, and then when I came back I received the same confused looks from my friends while I ate a burger with silverware!