After being home for a couple of weeks and reflecting on my experience with all of my close family and friends I can honestly say it was life changing. I traveled to 10 countries in 4 months and got to see some of the most beautiful sites. I also met unbelievable people and friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime. It is surreal to think this all happened in only one semester and I feel so blessed every time I think about it. First I want to thank my parents for allowing me to go on this adventure because it wouldn’t have been possible without their support. They are truly amazing and have allowed me to explore the world far more than they both have. I am also extremely thankful to UVa and the Comm School for setting me up in such a great program and allowing me to take my classroom overseas.
When looking back on my goals for the semester some things that were really important to me was to meet new people, get out of my comfort zone, and immerse myself in the community of Copenhagen. With the exception of meeting more of the local Danes, I think I surpassed most of my own expectations. Having friends from UVa in the same city I was worried I would only stick to hanging out with the, however, as the semester went on I found myself not seeing them very much at all and actually creating great bonds with other DIS students that I was living with. I ended up traveling on all of my trips with these new friends and having the most incredible times. I hope to stay in touch with most of these girls and even visit them next semester at their schools.
Secondly, I really feel that I really did step out of my comfort zone by meeting new people and living in the completely new place on my own. I found myself having to be much more independent and adjust to living in such a new place. I learned how to navigate public transportation on my own and got very good at planning my own trips. It was a great experience for me and really made me grow up in a short amount of time.
Third, I really wanted to immerse myself in the culture of Copenhagen and feel like a local by the end of the semester. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn any Danish during my time in Copenhagen because it is very difficult to learn in a short amount of time, and this is something that I do regret. I wish I had put more effort into learning at least a couple sentences. Although I didn’t do this, I still believe I immersed myself in the culture and got a feeling of what its like to be Danish. I truly felt like Copenhagen was my home by the end of the semester and that I was part of the cities community.
With all of that being said, I am so thankful for this opportunity and can honestly say that this was the best semester of my life. I believe it has changed me as a person and has made me mature far beyond my years. As I get older this experience will forever be apart of me and I am so blessed for my time in Copenhagen!