Why did you choose this program? I chose the summer program in Copenhagen, Denmark because it was a great option for students who don't have time to study abroad during a semester, or academic year. DIS offers great class options, and a variety of subjects to choose from. Another benefit of DIS was offering adventure trips in Bornholm (island part of Denmark), and Sweden, as well as study tour trips part of Session 2 classes, which hold class in a different European city for a week. This single program offers a fantastic, well-rounded experience in just 6 weeks.
Describe your favorite classes abroad. I loved both of my classes abroad. I took Adolescence in Northern Europe for Session 1, and European Clinical Psychology for Session 2, where we went to Brussels, Belgium for our study tour. I learned so much from the professors, who were practicing professionals in the subject they taught at DIS. They were also great resources to ask questions and learn more about life in Denmark.
What was the housing like on your study abroad program? I chose to live in a DIS Residential Community (DRC), which is made up of all DIS students, and a Danish Student Resident Assistant (SRA). I had one roommate, 9 people on our floor, and about 26 people in our building. I lived in Store Kannikestræde 13, which is one of the nicer DRCs. It is situated in the older part of downtown Copenhagen, and is a 5 minute walk, or 2 minute bike ride from DIS classes.I had a great experience living in a DRC because all of my floor mates bonded instantly, and knew what it was like to feel foreign, at first, in a new city. It was convenient living in the heart of Copenhagen, because you could get anywhere in less than a 20 minute bike ride, and everything was so accessible.
What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? I would tell any future study abroad student to be open minded about new experiences and people. Make conversation with your roommates, classmates, professors, and anyone in the city. All study abroad students are in the same position of wanting to make friends, and have companions to explore the city, and to meet locals with. Try any new experience you come across, especially if it's out of your comfort zone -- think of it as your only chance! Studying abroad is an opportunity to have amazing experiences in a new culture, and opening yourself up from the start will help make the most of your time abroad!
What was your biggest surprise about the location, culture or other aspects of your program? I was surprised at how many people were enjoying the weather outdoors, and how often. Denmark is dark for most of the year, so Danes take any chance they can to get out and enjoy the weather when it's nice. In the summer, the sun starts to rise around 4am, and sets around 10-11pm, so their days are very long and full of activity. I did not expect the sun to be out for that long prior to arriving in Copenhagen! It was refreshing to always see large numbers of people out everyday, even if it was just a short break from work or school. It would be nice to see a bigger priority for enjoying the outdoors in the United States.
Describe your experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock. I feel like re-accommodating to culture in the United States was more difficult than getting used to Danish culture. Copenhagen is a very "livable" city, with great food, complete accessibility without a car, and there's always something fun to do. Even though I only stayed there for 6 weeks, I found myself missing everyday life in a European city, even when I had been back home for a couple weeks.
What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? I know now, that I am able to push myself out of my comfort zone and feel at ease. I am more comfortable with myself now that I have studied abroad, and going alone to a foreign country has given me more confidence than I could have imagined.
Discuss: “Going abroad vs. staying on campus.” I think that everyone should take the opportunity to study abroad, if you can. It teaches you things from a culturally different point of view, that you could only learned while being abroad, and not on campus. Being pushed out of your everyday life, and learning from people who grew up differently than you is a valuable experience, and a unique one at that.
What fact about your host country do you think people would be surprised to learn? The Danes love licorice. It has a different taste than American licorice (more salty/strong), and I would be prepared in trying different gummies or candies…definitely a taste I wasn't used to! Danes also enjoy strolling through, or having picnics in cemeteries, like Americans would in a park. It sounds strange at first, but their cemeteries are beautiful, peaceful, and I would recommend giving it a chance in Denmark!
How did you find scholarships for study abroad? I applied to the financial aid scholarship listed under the IU study abroad application. It was very simple, and quick; I had to write a paragraph or two about my situation, and that was it!
Would you recommend other students pursue any specific scholarship opportunities? I would recommend it because even if it does take a little more effort, and searching on your part, it makes the process of studying abroad a lot more affordable. You'll be glad you took the extra time!