What an incredible journey. It is really hard to describe the experience I just finished. Life-changing, inspiring, eye-opening and extremely fun, to name a few. Studying abroad was the best decision I have made in my life to date. I have made such incredible friends, saw beautiful countries, and immersed myself in the Danish culture in and out of the classroom.
12 days to go and the feeling couldn’t be more bittersweet. The weather is just changing and all the outdoor activities I wanted to do during the freezing winter are now available to me, but I have such limited time left. And finals. Luckily I only have one test, a few group presentations and two short papers. Nothing too crazy, but it is taking me away from going outside, which I resent. I am excited to go home to see my family and my dogs, but I know that after 1 week at home I will be ready to come back to Denmark.
Yesterday I had my most Danish experience to date. I have a visiting host family who I have gotten to know throughout the semester. Their daughter invited me to her confirmation about a month ago. I have been looking forward to it ever since and yesterday was the big day. I did a little research before hand into Danish confirmations and learned that they are a huge deal. Danes are not religious and usually only attend church for christenings, confirmations, weddings and funerals. The confirmation is about an hour long church service followed by a huge celebration with family and friends. I also read that families will rent fancy cars and limos to drive them around on the big day (and I wasn’t disappointed).
Four weeks left in the semester and I am not ready to go home. I am excited to see my family and friends, but I have created an amazing life for myself in Denmark with great friends and am sad to see this chapter of my life coming to an end. Above all I have gained confidence in my ability to be completely independent and trust myself to move internationally if a career ever gives me that opportunity.
Time flies when you’re having fun. This expression doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about my study abroad experience so far. Going abroad was always a dream of mine, but now that it’s a reality it is even better than I hoped. But going way too fast! Denmark has become home and traveling Europe on the weekends is as easy as anything.
Almost 9 weeks in and everyday it gets better! Here’s whats been going on across the Atlantic:
One of the factors that made me decide to go to Copenhagen through the program DIS is the emphasis that the program puts on learning outside the classroom. Everyone in DIS has what is called a “Core Course” and mine is European Business Strategy. We meet in the classroom twice a week, but what happens outside of the classroom is even more interesting. Every student goes on a one week trip, organized by the program, to one or two different countries to get hands on experience about their core course.
I am so fortunate that my family visited me for 5 days this past week. I was so excited to show them my city and all that I have done so far. It is really hard to describe how much I love this place over FaceTime and it was much easier for them to see it for themselves. On the first day I took them exploring and we say Nyhavn, the famous harbor with the colorful buildings. The next day we rented a car (stick-shift only) and drove across the Øresund Bridge to Malmo, Sweden. Malmo was a great day trip, but definitely does not compare to Copenhagen. As a family we did a free walking tour of Copenhagen to learn more about the history of the city, which was really interesting. I also took my family to see Freetown Christiania, the autonomous ‘hippie’ neighborhood in Copenhagen. Copenhagen has so much to offer and it was great to be able to do so much with them.
We spent a lot of our time in Copenhagen eating. Copenhagen has more Michelin star restaurants than any other city in the world. Even non-Michilen star restaurants are absolutely amazing. We had some great meals when my family was here. We are a family of foodies and love trying exotic and new restaurants. We went to a seafood restaurant that was inspired by gastronomy cooking. The food was indescribable and so unique. Danish food and restaurants do exist, but Copenhagen has such a wide variety of different food influences and restaurants.
My mom was completely shocked by how clean the city is. Coming from New York we are used to cities being smelly and littered. In Denmark people really respect the city and littering is not prevalent. They were also really amazed at the public transportation system in Copenhagen. First, on all modes of transportation 80% of the time no one will check to see that you have a ticket. This is clearly different than in New York and the fact that you have to go through a turnstile to get to the subway. Second, the public transportation is so easy to understand and getting around it is a dream. After seeing Copenhagen and living here for a few days my mom was at ease. I could tell she was really happy that I am staying in a really safe, clean and beautiful city.
Initially, my brothers were hesitant about coming. Both of them have never been to Europe before and all they knew about Copenhagen was that it was really cold. However, I know that they loved it and had an amazing time. I hope that coming to Europe and seeing me having these great experiences has inspired them to want to travel and see the world.
I think that my family was genuinely interested and intrigued by the Danish culture. Telling them about the work-life balance that the Danes have is a stark contrast to life in the States. I am curious how different life would have been growing up in the Danish culture. Here parents can leave work at 4 to pick up their children from school and having that extra time is really great for relationships between parents and their children. The culture emphasizes family as the number one priority, which contrasts with the States where sometimes it seems that work and family are equal.
I am off to Latvia with my class in the morning! Farvel!
As I start my 6th week in Copenhagen, I really cannot believe all that I’ve done and all that there is still to do. It’s bittersweet that we are one fourth done with our time here. So far I’ve been to 4 European countries; Denmark, Sweden, Germany and France. I just returned from a trip to Paris and it was as magical as I thought it would be. I absolutely fell in love with the city and was able to explore it with Juliet and Sara. However, at the end of three days it was very relaxing to come to my home in Amager, even though its just a dorm. Copenhagen feels like home and I am excited to have a full week here until my next trip to Latvia and Finland.
Week one in Copenhagen is off to a great start! I am still getting lost, but the more I wander the more I learn my bearings. At first the city seemed so large, but now that I have been more places I see that everything is connected and easy to find. This city is beautiful and there is so much history. I cannot wait for the next four months to make this place home.
A lot is about to happen. Three days until I embark on what people call “a trip of a lifetime.” My bags are most definitely (not) packed, but they will be soon. It hasn’t hit me yet that I will be living in a foreign country for four months. I will be eating food I’ve never tasted, hearing a new language for the first time and, from what I’ve heard, avoiding getting hit by bicycles all the time. I don’t think any of this will become reality until I am navigating the streets of Copenhagen a few days from now.