All posts by katiejurek

Reverse culture shock

Atop Stoltzekleiven in Bergen

Hello everyone! I’d like to take this post to discuss a phenomenon I’ve always wished to experience (and now finally have): reverse culture shock.

It’s easy to find stories of culture shock; people go to new places and see new things and meet new people and start new activities and it’s completely understandable given that they’re not used to these new ways of doing things. While it’s indeed an interesting phenomenon in and of itself, I feel it pales in comparison to the psychology behind reverse culture shock; that is, coming back to your country of birth and feeling as if it’s a foreign country.

Coming back from the mountains of Norway, I experienced this. I set foot in the Orlando, Florida airport and was immediately struck by the large amount of Disney advertising everywhere. Yeah, sure, Disney and theme parks, a common thing to advertise and see in Orlando. But it went much further than that: I stepped outside, and it was hot. In actuality, it was only about 23 C (74 F), but the air was wet and heavy, something some people call “muggy”, the kind of weather that makes warm weather feel hot and cool weather feel cold. I felt damp to my core, dunked underwater by some unseen force – this was a marked difference from Norway! Norway doesn’t have nearly as much humidity as Florida, despite it having ample water surrounding it all the same. Norway’s winter was relatively dry compared to those of Florida (if Florida can even be considered to have a true “winter” :P). As I went on through the week following that initial airport landing, I noticed more things, like a thick loaf of bread half my height that cost a mere $1.59. After being away for three months, I couldn’t help but think upon my return: is this really the country I’ve been living in all these years? Here are some of my observations:

Continue reading Reverse culture shock

Love and Kittens is now open!

A store containing some of my artwork and other designs, Love and Kittens (because who doesn’t love love and kittens? :D), is now open here on Zazzle. Check it out and tell me what you think! There’s also a link to it in the top navigation bar, and if you want to see some of the t-shirt and sticker designs in their original form, those are located on my Art page.

Norway has been fantastic so far, and I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate abroad. I’ve had a great time and have built up my leg muscles quite a bit, and I don’t imagine this’ll be my last stop ever to the country since it’s been so awesome. I’m getting stuff in order to return to Florida, but I’ll be back here sometime soon! =)

Swedish decks on Memrise

My last deck on Memrise now has 307 people who are learning Swedish from it! To celebrate its success, I created another deck, this time not on all kinds of Swedish words, but specifically the body parts in Swedish. Check it out here!

For those who don’t know what Memrise is, it’s an online flashcard-and-memory game where you learn words and, through Memrise’s spaced repetition algorithm, you get tested on those words just when you’re about to forget them. It’s free and has worked fantastically for me, and seems to be doing a great job of teaching words to those people using my decks, too!

Foreign music artists

I mentioned way back when that singing can help to learn a language. Listening to artists in my target language is one of my favorite ways to boost my vocabulary and listening/speaking abilities. Here are some of my favorite artists for each language; give ’em a try! The more asterisks (*), the more I love them.

Chinese
* alan (c-pop j-pop) – Japanese, Mandarin
* Alex Fong (c-pop) – Cantonese
* Janice (c-pop) – Cantonese
** Jay Chou (c-pop) – Mandarin
Joey Yung (c-pop) – Cantonese
* Jolin Tsai (c-pop) – Mandarin
* Stephy Tang (c-pop) – Cantonese

Dutch
Eva De Roovere (folk pop)
* Jurk (nederlandstalig pop)

Continue reading Foreign music artists

GMC Jam #8: 2nd place!

So, happy news for me as a programmer! The Game Maker Community Jam #8 competition was held recently. The GMC Jam is a competition with an average of over 50 entries that occurs once every three months on this large programming forum I frequent; each entry has to be made within the 72 hours from the late Friday to the late Monday during which it’s held. I met the Norwegian friend with whom I’m staying because of the GMC, so we’re both programmers and decided to team up and make a game. Our brainchild/game came in 2nd out of 62 entries! Download a copy of “The Little Tornado that Couldn’t” by clicking “Games” on the top bar, or just by clicking here.

And here’s the trophy:

2nd place trophy

News sites in other languages

Here is a useful list of links for news article sites (like newsnow.co.uk and onlinenewspapers.com and newspaperindex.com) to practice reading in other languages (* means they’re some of my favorites):

Danish
Akhbar (Danish news in Arabic) – Arabic
** Avisen (news) – Danish
* B.T. news) – Danish
Berlingske (news) – Danish
* Børsen (news) – Danish
The Copenhagen Post (Danish news in English)
Dagbladet Information (news) – Danish
DR (news) – Danish
* Ekstra Bladet (news) – Danish
** Erhvervs Bladet (business) – Danish
Ingeniøren (news) – Danish
* Jyllands-Posten (news) – Danish
* Kristeligt Dagblad (news) – Danish
* Politiken (politics) – Danish
TV2 (news) – Danish

Continue reading News sites in other languages

Pros and cons of different countries I’ve been to so far

I’ve found a lot of differences between England, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the US in my travels, and I’d like to espouse on those here. Every place has its advantages and disadvantages, some more obvious than the others:

England

England walk

Default grocery stores: Sainsbury’s, Tesco.
Payment:
Visa, MasterCard, and other major debit and credit cards; cash.

Pros

  • Good food selection: There’s a huge selection of food here, much like in the US, and especially when you go to Sainsbury’s.
  • Fair number of places to find cheap things: England has a lot of different shops, but even though they can be quite expensive, you can usually find another shop with a cheaper version of exactly what you were looking for.

Continue reading Pros and cons of different countries I’ve been to so far

Common foreign words and their pronunciations

Learning similar languages can be quizzical for a number of reasons. Here’s a quick glimpse into some incredibly common words in English, Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch. Notice how the Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch ones are pronounced:

English

Norwegian

Swedish

Dutch

yes ja (“ya”) ja (“ya”) ja (“ya”)
no nei (“nye”) nej (“nay”) nee (“nay”)
I jeg (“yiy”) jag (“ya”) ik
me meg (“my”) mig (“may”) me (“muh”)
me (stressed) meg (“my”) mig (“may”) mij (“may”, “my”)
you (nominative) du du je (“yuh”)
you (nominative, stressed) du du jij (“yay”, “yiy”)
you (objective) deg (“dye”) dig (“day”) je (“yuh”)
you (objective, stressed) deg (“dye”) dig (“day”) jou (“yow”)
it den, det (“deh”) den, det (“deh”) het

Continue reading Common foreign words and their pronunciations

Literal translation – Dutch

Services and auto-translators like Google translate and others take entire sentences and put together a meaning from all the different parts present. When learning a language, however, it’s sometimes more beneficial to see word-for-word translations, as it gives you a better idea of the most common sentence structures. In this post I’ll go over a few Dutch sentences. A Swedish version will come in the future! So here are some sentences in their original Dutch, a word-for-word translation, and then a reworded translation:

Hoe laat kom je morgen?
How late come you tomorrow?
What time are you coming tomorrow?

Ik moet het morgen halen.
I must it tomorrow get.
I must get it tomorrow.
Continue reading Literal translation – Dutch

Correcting a beginner

In this post I’d like to discuss something that is very beneficial to me when I’m starting out learning a language: getting corrected by people in a helpful way. This goes beyond simply not being rude when telling someone how to reword their sentence; it involves correcting as few things as is possible. When correcting a beginner’s sentences, change as few words as is possible to make the sentence make sense. For example, if I’m learning English and I write:

When she go, I will be first to be sad.

It’s helpful to correct it to:

When she goes, I will be the first one to be sad.

Do NOT correct it to how a native would say it:

I’ll be the first one to cry when she leaves.
Continue reading Correcting a beginner