After having my first study abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland in Spring 2020 cut short due to COVID-19, I knew I HAD to go again. This time I chose the DIS Copenhagen program. During the enrollment process at DIS, you will choose your “major” (core course). I chose a course entitled New Media & Changing Communities. My other courses were called Glued to the Screen, Food & Identity, and Danish Language & Culture. All my classes and professors were wonderful and made the classes enjoyable and memorable. By the way, one aspect of Danish culture that was a little strange at first was calling professors by their first names, but I soon learned that is the Danish way.
During the enrollment process you will also choose living accommodations. Because I wanted to live with other international & DIS students, I chose an apartment-style arrangement called Kollegium. However, home stays are also available, and I have heard nothing but positives from students who chose to live with Danish families. The flat in my Nimbus Kollegium was comprised of a big kitchen, common space, two bathrooms, and four bedrooms. Although I shared a bedroom, there was plenty of space. The best part of housing is that the apartments were FULLY stocked, down to dish detergent, cookware, linens, and bedding. We also received a starter food stipend because Copenhagen food tends to be pricey. My Kollegium was convenient, as it was right across from a grocery shop and a short walk to public transportation (Fasanvej Station). I was also near a large park and the Copenhagen Zoo. Besides Nimbus, there are three other Kollegiums located at various greatlocations throughout the city. However, wherever you will live in Copenhagen, the city is extraordinarily safe and easy to navigate.
DIS has a set arrival day for all students. If you arrive that day within their certain time frame, you will be greeted at the airport by friendly DIS staff wearing DIS t-shirts and waving Danish
flags, so they are easy to spot. They will then offer you light snacks, water, and present you with a personal packet with your DIS student ID, stipend card, and sim card. Then, they will transport you to your housing for free!
Because I went to Copenhagen alone (recommended!) I felt a bit unsure at first, but that nervousness lasted just a short time. Of course, many DIS students come with friends; however, just as many come alone and are seeking friendships. You WILL find your friends because everyone is open and friendly! In addition, all classes involve experiential learning, so you will be eating and traveling with classmates as well. And even before you arrive in Denmark, there are several DIS GroupMe chats so you can meet people before you even leave the U.S.! When abroad I met some of my best friends, who I still keep in touch with daily.
The classes were all experiential learning which I loved. DIS includes two all-expense paid trips for travel in your core course: the first, usually in other areas in Denmark, and the second, elsewhere in Europe. My core course visited Aalborg and Aahrus Denmark and Dublin Ireland. Everyone in DIS has classes every day but Wednesday, which is “field study” day. These days include travel around Denmark and/or visits from guests. On Wednesdays with no field studies, students are free to explore Copenhagen. There is also a travel week where you and your new friends can travel to various places in Europe or stay in Denmark and explore!
TIPS FOR COPENHAGEN
1. BUDGET. Copenhagen is very expensive, and money goes FAST.
2. If you’re a coffee lover, buy instant coffee. A typical cup of coffee in Copenhagen is anywhere from $5-8.
3. Don’t pack unnecessary toiletries: they are heavy and can be bought in Denmark.
4. Pack light so you have room for souvenirs.
5. Download Google translate.
6. Buy food for 2-3 days at a time at most (if you are close to a grocery store)! If you try to stock up, food will go bad because Europeans use fewer preservatives than in the U.S.
7. Save bottles with A, B, or C on them because you can return them to a store through a machine thing and get money back.
8. DIS pays for a commuter card or rental bike. I recommend the commuter card for more options. If you choose a Metro commuter card, you can still rent a bike for the semester (Swapfiets gave good student discounts).
9. If you want to join a gym, SATS DK gave a DIS discount. (I paid $171 USD for the semester)
10. If you get a MetroCard do NOT forget to renew your card every month or you will be fined $116 U.S. dollars by the metro workers.
OUT AND ABOUT
I fell in love with Copenhagen. It is sustainable, clean, efficient, and gorgeous. It is a perfect mix of modern and historic. I recommend renting a GoBoat and seeing the city through a self-service canal tour. I chose to take the Metro (train) to class, about a 20-25 commute, which soon became second nature and quite pleasant. On some weekends, I visited other areas of Europe: Prague, Portugal, Vienna, and Turkey. These visits helped me become exposed to different cultures, but I loved just being in Copenhagen. It always felt comforting and cozy…just like home. In retrospect, I would have been just as happy spending every day in Denmark because the people and country all demonstrate “hygge” in their own ways.
In terms of social life, there are many options. If you choose to go out, be sure to finish the night like a typical Dane–go to a local hotdog vendor grab yourself a hotdog! However, if that isn’t up your ally then Copenhagen offers so much to do, whether alone or with friends, whether by day or by night.
I could go on and on about every memory I made in Copenhagen or every tip I could offer. However, I’ll stop and just say GO ABROAD!! The experiences and memories you make will be held close to your heart forever. You will also be so proud of yourself getting out of your comfort zone and venturing off into a new country for 4 months! Those months fly by way too fast so take advantage of every moment you can 🙂
ADVICE FOR FUTURE ABROAD STUDENTS
1. Go alone! → EVERYONE is looking for friends. So many people came in alone and they have best friends by the end of the program, and you will too!
2. Say yes to everything → some of the best memories come from just saying yes
3. Budget → only buy what you will use and learn to not waste food!
4. Take Danish Language and Culture → I loved my professor and the class, and I thought it was a good introduction to Danish.
5. Go to smaller towns/cities → You’ll experience more of the Danish culture and lovely Danish people.
If you want more information, I’d be happy to answer questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Kristina McGee