MEET A LEISURE GUIDE: ALEKSANDRA
When I first came here, people kept telling me ‘You are not going to have any Danish friends here – they all have the friends they need’, but that’s not true. More than half of my friends are Danish. But you need to push yourself to go to events, exhibitions, birthdays – even if you don’t have time or if you are tired.
Why did you become a leisure guide?
I’m very interested in cultural industries, and when I moved to Copenhagen in 2012, I wanted to know as much as possible about Denmark and Danish culture; what you can actually do here and what kind of hobbies you can have when living in Denmark. I started volunteering at Distortion, Eurovision, various local initiatives, etc. and that gave me some basic information about Danish culture, and then I thought – ‘OK, now I feel that I can guide other newcomers’, and so I volunteered as leisure guide.
After a while some of the other leisure guides became my friends, but what I really like about it is when people get out of their comfort zone and start talking to each other.
What is your favorite spot in Copenhagen?
I have many. Often I go to Amager Fælled Park. It almost looks like a forest and it’s quite remote, but there are a lot of birds there and it’s super relaxing. In the summer, I like kayaking, too. Copenhagen is really cool at creating crazy initiatives, and if a person, in general, is curious then you will get a lot of information. So it has a lot to do with networking as well. You need to have to courage to start talking to someone. You need to be proactive. But I know that many people find it difficult to speak up.
How come you moved to Denmark in the first place?
When I was 19, I studied at the University in St. Petersburg, and I had an exchange semester at CBS in Copenhagen. Soon I found out that I really really like Denmark, but after half a year a had to return to Russia. There I finished my Bachelor studies, and in 2012 I came back to Denmark to do my Master's Degree in Management of Creative Business Processes. I think that moving here is the best decision I have made so far.
I wrote my master’s thesis on pole dancing – the topic was ‘What are the legitimatization challenges of the pole activity and how can the Danish pole actors contribute to the legitimatization of the pole activity?’ The reason why I did that was that people still have many prejudices against pole dancing. But actually, there are a lot of techniques and it’s a fun and social sport.
Do you have a tip for newcomers?
When I first came here, people kept telling me ‘You are not going to have any Danish friends here – they all have the friends they need’, but that’s not true. More than half of my friends are Danish. But you need to push yourself to go to events, exhibitions, birthdays – even if you don’t have time or if you are tired. At one point I had a business card with me, so that we could quickly exchange contact information. Often I prepare a small elevator speech, and if the other person catches your attention, you start talking. Perhaps there is something you could do together. Facebook can help you find interesting events, too.
I would also recommend that you learn Danish – not just by signing up for Danish classes – but really investing your time in it. And if you don’t have the time, then you need to prioritize the pronunciation. That way you will have better chances to be understood. It’s also a good thing to make a vocabulary when you go somewhere specific – when you have already seen the basic words, they are already in your passive vocabulary.
Also – get a bike! It will save you a lot of time and money. I live in Nørrebro, and I never use the Metro. I really appreciate biking, and I think that people should do it more. That’s how you get to know the city. Sometimes you notice small things and events and activities that are free of charge. You can also take a public bus and experience a new side of the city.
FACTS ABOUT ALEKSANDRA
- Has been a leisure guide since 2015
- Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia
- Moved to Copenhagen in 2011 and again in 2012
- Has a Master’s Degree in Management of Creative Business Processes from CBS
- Lives in Østerbro
- Pole dance & fitness instructor