Last summer, Jacqueline Scott from Vanderbilt University studied at DIS for Session 1, 2, and 3. She mixed up her course load to gain a variety of academic experiences, taking specifically The Enemy Within: Spies, Espionage, and the Cold War (Session 1), Roskilde Festival: Community, Culture, and Creativity (Session 2), and The World of Vikings: Facts, Fiction, and Fantasy (Session 3).
Jacqueline was a DIS Student Writer last summer who shared many wonderful moments from her summer abroad in Copenhagen. With the deadline to apply for DIS Summer Sessions just around the corner**, we thought we’d call her back for an interview! Hear about her summer at DIS in retrospect below – and leave her questions in the comments – she will be sure to answer you!
DIS: Why did you initially choose Copenhagen and DIS for your summer?
Jacqueline Scott: DIS was an incredibly attractive summer option because not only did it offer the most transferable course credit, but also the classes had unparalleled experience for hands-on learning and travel. I knew doing DIS and living in Copenhagen would get me outside of my comfort zones of learning, culture, and immersion in the most positive way, and the classes were the first catalyst of that experience.
DIS: While at DIS, your three courses were all quite different from one another. How and why did you choose these?
JS: I chose my courses based upon each of their unique ties to Danish or Scandinavian history and culture. Denmark played a critical and understated role during the Cold War and in The Enemy Within: Spies, Espionage, and the Cold War (Session 1), I learned of this and gained a unique perspective on the United States’ involvement in the Cold War. In Roskilde Festival: Community, Culture, and Creativity (Session 2), I was immersed into the unique collaborative environment or this music and arts festival that embodies Danish comradery and volunteerism. In The World of Vikings: Facts, Fiction, and Fantasy (Session 3) I found an insightful perspective on a group that was critical to the development of Western Europe and often undervalued for their progressiveness.All of these courses highlighted different facets of Scandinavian culture and heritage and offered a unique lens upon which to color my experience – one I still use when thinking comparatively between Denmark and the United States.
DIS: After Session 1, you stayed for Session 2 and 3, which allowed you to go on two study tours. Where were your study tours? Tell us about these weeks and the experiences you had.
JS: Roskilde Festival was a study tour unlike any other. During the week before the festival, we commuted to the small town outside of Copenhagen to acclimate to the festival grounds and staff, and our tour itself was camping and volunteering at the week-long festival along with 80,000 other festival-goers from around Europe and the globe. We volunteered at different festival sites – I was in the ‘Art Zone’ helping architecture students construct a beautiful light installation, and our experiences were defined by our unique interactions with festival-goers and the musical and artistic experiences we shared. Seeing The Rolling Stones was incredible, but seeing them with an understanding of the ‘Orange Feeling’ festival mantra of positive energy and a greater appreciation of this Danish tradition made it an experience of a lifetime.
During my Vikings course we traveled to Reykjavík, Iceland and experienced the beauty of summer in this often frozen region. With 20 hours of daylight, our days were long and filled with horseback riding, visiting natural sights like Gullfoss (a giant roaring waterfall), and trekking to Viking heritage sights that were referenced in our reading of Viking epics and sagas. Going to Iceland and experiencing its ethereal beauty and unique culture provided a profound context for understanding Viking way of life and the unique foundation of the island nation. It was a magical place and I hope to find myself there again.DIS: Looking back nearly eight months later, what do you think was the highlight of your summer abroad?
JS: It must have been my study tour at Roskilde Festival because it is quite literally the first thing I tell people about my time in Denmark. The experience to not only go to an incredible festival and see the amazing art and music, but to work, live, and immerse myself in the culture of volunteers and festival goers was revolutionary. I gained an incredible insight into Danish culture – it is one that values friendship, community service, and celebration of life and summer. Because of that experience, I am more keen on doing those experiential things that give life and friendship meaning.
JS: While their style is a go-to answer (I know I have found my own dress has changed since being there), I enjoy the authenticity of Danes. They aren’t exceptionally bubbly, but nor are they blunt. Their interactions with others are warm, cordial, and reflect a desire to respect others’ space and wishes. I’m much more self-aware of how I interact with people after being amongst the Danes.
DIS: And your favorite aspect of Copenhagen?
JS: In Copenhagen you cannot walk for more than 10 minutes in any direction without hitting a park. This aspect of the city, especially in the summer, makes it feel so open, recreational, and pastoral in comparison to other cities that are masses of brick and mortar. I never felt “trapped” in Copenhagen, a feeling that can often accompany city life.
DIS: If you had a day in Copenhagen, where would you spend it?
JS: The Atrium of the Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum is my favorite spot. Free on Sundays, this beautiful museum features everything from ancient Greek artifacts to a collection of Monet paintings. The atrium is bathed in sunlight and features sculptures, fountains, and plants. A cup of tea in this lovely spot watching museumgoers and then going up to the roof from which you can see all of Tivoli and Copenhagen would be idyllic.
JS: I like to tell people that the best thing I found when I was abroad was the comfort of being on my own. Not to say I wandered alone in Copenhagen for 10 weeks – that is far from the truth – but being abroad allows you to make decisions completely independently, if you want to, and find comfort in navigating and exploring a place to which you have no former ties. When you’re abroad you get to navigate your own experience, and mine was made by finding joy and confidence in my own desires.
**Application deadlines vary for DIS Summer Sessions:
- April 1 for summer Session 1, 2, or 3
- May 1 for summer Architecture & Design Session