A Concordian abroad: 'Who doesn’t love a savoury social adhesive?'
Meagan Boisse is an undergraduate student in the Department of Journalism, and a member of the Institute for Co-operative Education. For her last work term, she was employed as a roving reporter at Concordia.ca.
Now, through Concordia International, Boisse is spending the winter 2016 term studying at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark.
Nothing brings people together quite like food.
Of course we need it to live — but survival instincts aside, people have been breaking bread together since biblical times. Who doesn’t love a savoury social adhesive?
Naturally, communal dining is an integral and celebrated aspect of the student exchange experience. The international community in Aarhus is diverse, and a connection to food is something we all share.
That’s why this Monday I made the trek across the northern stretches of the city to Skjoldhøjkollegiet, armed with mangos and an appetite.
My friend Femy Peters lives there, along with another 1,000 other students, and shares her kitchen with a host of internationals as well as some Danes. Lucky for me, I had been invited to make a mango curry that night, a dish far beyond my regular culinary capabilities.
The evening started off interestingly enough, as the trip to Skjoldhøj was somewhat of an experience in and of itself.
Having overheard me asking for directions, a Danish girl invited me to tag along with her as she was headed to the same destination. One wrong stop and a very long walk later and we ended up getting to know each other a bit. Now have plans to meet to play music together. So, there’s been a promising fracture in the Danish coconut.
Back to the mango curry.
The experience of cooking in a large group is about more than just making food, it’s about having fun. There were seven of us participating and we were each asked to bring an ingredient and carry out a cooking task.
I cut up mangos and observed others work because that is about all I’m good for in the kitchen. Besides the culinary stuff, there was plenty of house music, dancing and laughing between prep and mealtime.
Then we all sat down to enjoy our creation — a recipe brought to us by Femy’s German flatmate.
We chatted about where we’re from and how to say things in different languages — in German, in Polish... Jocelyn Porter, my American classmate, and I bickered about the pronunciation of “sorry.” The Germans agreed that the way I say it is more phonetically accurate!
Canada 1, USA 0.
Overall, it was a charming international experience, and I hope to have more communal dinners during my stay here in Aarhus. They say the best way to the heart is through the stomach, and I sincerely believe that cooking with strangers is a great way to make new friends. Besides, who doesn’t love a nice meal at the end of a long day?
Start your application for a Concordia exchange today! To read Meagan Boisse’s previous dispatches, follow the links at the top-right of this page.