Name: Kira Hamilton
Home University: University of Texas at Austin
Summer 2014 Courses at DIS: Health Delivery and Prioritization in Northern Europe, Children in a Multicultural Context, and European Genocides
Living in Copenhagen for the past two weeks has brought one adventure after another! I have explored castles, biked around Bornholm, made Danish friends along with DIS friends, tried new foods and experienced a new way of life. I knew Denmark would bring amazing things, but I wasn’t prepared just how amazing they would be!
Coming to Copenhagen, I didn’t expect to have culture shock or feel out of place. For the most part, surprisingly, I haven’t felt it although there are many differences in cultures and styles between the US and Denmark. For starters, everything here is in Danish, a pretty major difference right there. It hasn’t been too challenging to find my way around the city with Danish signs but the grocery store is a different story. I find myself having to ask Danes what things are in the dairy and meat aisle especially (the yogurt is in a cardboard milk carton). They are all very nice about it but definitely get a laugh out of my confusion over the cheeses.
Another major difference is style, both in city layout/architecture and clothing. Copenhagen is a well thought out blend of old and new. The city center (where DIS is located) is very medieval in layout and architecture. The streets are not set up in a grid-like manner which makes getting directions challenging sometimes. The buildings in the city center have an old look and feel to them. They aren’t very tall by American standards and skyscrapers are few and far between. In contrast, my kollegium is in a very modern yet rural part of Copenhagen. It is only about a year old and is surrounded by new, edgy, modern apartment buildings.
We live across the street from a Metro station which is how I get into the city. On my way in, I have noticed that there really isn’t a skyline that I am used to seeing in cities back home. The buildings in the central part of Copenhagen are not very tall and don’t really form a distinct skyline that would be recognizable such as the New York City skyline.
Okay, so now about the fashion. Before I came here, someone told me that everyone here was fashionable–they were right. The Danes take their style very seriously. The Metro is an excellent place to people watch and observe these fashions. The main three things I have noticed are: 1) they like dark neutral colors, 2) comfortable but stylish walking shoes are a must, and 3) layers, layers, layers. I have tried to incorporate some of these things into my outfits but it is harder than it looks. People don’t wear baggy t-shirts and leggings with bright Nike tennis shoes like I am used to seeing back on my college campus. I already feel more like a Dane just by wearing black jeans and sweaters or jackets instead of my normal t-shirt and jeans look. I am really enjoying my Danish life so far and can’t wait to see what these next 8 weeks bring!