Echoes: Interning in Denmark

By Christina Madsen
Blogger

As a third year marketing major and Spanish minor at The College, I’ve spent the last month or so interning at a Danish fashion brand in the coastal town of Klitmøller, Denmark, or what locals call “Cold Hawaii.” How has this remote Scandinavian town coined this nickname, you might ask? Traditionally, Klitmøller was always known as a small fishing village located in the northwest of Denmark’s main peninsula, but over the last few decades the whole culture of the town has completely transformed.

Combined with the windy climate, killer waves have turned this town into what some even consider the surfing capital of Northern Europe. Although you can often see instructors giving regular surf lessons, the windy conditions are optimal for windsurfing. This draws windsurfers to Klitmøller from all over the world and the town will even be hosting the 2014 Windsurfing World Cup this month. Klitmøller has a population of only about 800 people, but at the peak of the surf season the town gets flooded with tourists and the town will even be hosting the World Cup of Windsurfing this month.  One thing I was surprised by was all of the nature that can be found, Denmark’s first national park actually runs along the outskirts of town, home to lots of beautiful plants and animals.

Despite having spent nearly every summer in Denmark and speaking Danish fluently, I have to admit that I had not considered interning in Denmark until just a few months ago. The opportunity arose when I got in touch with a family friend whom was starting up his own clothing brand, based out of this unique little town in Denmark.

I was skeptical when I was first offered the internship, probably because at the time, I had been applying to internships back home at some of the corporate companies close to TCNJ.  While interning, I lived in my grandma’s apartment, in the neighboring town, and took the bus to work every day. When I pictured my first internship, I had often pictured myself sitting in a cubicle in a corporate office, making photocopies and bringing people coffee. Fortunately for me, that was not at all what my internship consisted of. What I did get, however, was a ton of hands-on experience in a foreign country, and not to mention I got to practice my Danish, and eat lots of delicious food and pastries. (You haven’t had a real danish until you’ve had one from a real Danish bakery — trust me!)

Every day was excited because I was assigned different tasks and got to learn something new. Although I did not find all of my tasks equally exciting, I was able to use the experience to get a better grip as to which area of marketing I want to pursue. At first it was also a bit of an adjustment because even though I am fluent in Danish, I quickly realized that my Danish was a bit rusty. One of the biggest benefits of interning at such a small company is that I was able to have a much more hands-on experience and oversee all the different areas of the business, not just the marketing. I spent most of my time working on building a concrete marketing strategy for the company, as well as monitoring and creating content for our blog and other social media platforms.

My favorite part of my internship was experiencing more of Danish nature and culture in order to get a better understanding of the inspiration behind our brand’s style. The town itself is sprinkled with cute little surf shops and cozy cafés. Whether it was snapping a quick pic of windsurfers at the beach for Instagram, staging a photo-shoot in the forest, or attending an awesome music festival, through my internship I was actually able to experience my own culture in a way that I never had before. I am so thankful for the experience and now that I have completed my internship in Denmark, I am ready for my next international adventure: I will be spending my fall semester studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain.

Picture taken at "Alive Festival," music festival with 25 different artists in Thisted, Denmark. (Photo courtesy of Christina Madsen)
Picture taken at “Alive Festival,” music festival with 25 different artists in Thisted, Denmark. (Photo courtesy of Christina Madsen)
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Surfers in Klitmøller, Denmark, also known as Cold Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of Christina Madsen)
Christina and her grandmother walking on a pier in Vorupør, Denmark. (Photo courtesy of Christina Madsen)
Christina and her grandmother walking on a pier in Vorupør, Denmark. (Photo courtesy of Christina Madsen)
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Heather (“lyng” in Danish) grows wild everywhere. (Photo courtesy of Christina Madsen)
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Sun is setting behind a Danish fishing boat in Klitmøller, Denmark. (Photo courtesy of Christina Madsen)
Traditional Danish Smørrebrød (an open-faced sandwich consisting of dense rye bread topped with various meats or other toppings). This one is rye bread topped with Danish meatballs, red cabbage, an orange slice and lettuce. (Photo courtesy of Christina Madsen)
Traditional Danish Smørrebrød (an open-faced sandwich consisting of dense rye bread topped with various meats or other toppings). This one is rye bread topped with Danish meatballs, red cabbage, an orange slice and lettuce. (Photo courtesy of Christina Madsen)
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Watching the sunset from the dunes in Vorupør, Denmark. (Photo courtesy of Christina Madsen)