All Hands on Deck

03Name: Rachel Tassoni
Home University: Rochester Institute of Technology
DIS Copenhagen Summer Session 1 Course: Psychology of Criminal Behavior
DIS Copenhagen Summer Session 2 Course: Positive Psychology

The Tall Ship Sailing trip two weekends ago has been a defining moment of my time here in Copenhagen. I can’t count the amount of amazing things that I have seen and done during my time abroad so far, but sailing in the Isefjorden has opened my eyes to so many opportunities that Denmark has to offer and parts of the Danish culture I have yet to experience.

Waking up early Saturday morning, 16 other DIS Students and I traveled from Copenhagen to Holbæk, where we would board the Hjalm, a 115-year-old sailing ship. Once we set sail in the fjord, we pulled on ropes, climbed on nets, and ran around the ship helping the crew put the sails out. From there it was smooth sailing, so we spent our time looking at maps, getting to know one another, learning some Danish terms from the crew and of course taking some time for photo ops.

Johnny, one of the crew members, showing us the route for the trip.


After a day of relaxing in the sun on the open water, we arrived in Hundested, or ‘Dog’s Place,’ which is supposedly named after seals that once occupied the shore. We were able to explore the town, but I had to be back at the ship to cook dinner for everyone. At first I was somewhat disappointed that I didn’t get as much time as everyone else to explore, but I honestly had so much fun cooking dinner. I and three other girls spent the evening cutting vegetables, making a salad and stew, and getting to know the crew better. One of the crew members, Johnny, pulled out his guitar and sang to us while we prepared dinner. It was the first moment of my time here in Denmark that I truly understood the concept of hygge.

Hygge (pronounced hooga) is all about enjoying life with the people you really care about. I had read about it before I came, but it’s one of those things that you can’t appreciate or understand until you have actually experienced it. Making dinner with the crew, even if we had met only hours before, has been one of the highlights of my trip so far. It was such a simple thing, but I had so much fun doing it and felt so comfortable with everyone and everything around me.

Listening to the guitar and making dinner for everyone.
The final product: salad and a stew served over potatoes, served with homemade juice.

Later on in the evening I got my second taste of hygge, and I must say the Danes are on to something. After we had watched the sunset from the cliffs overlooking the beach and ocean, we made some tea, ate some candy, and cozied up in blankets on the deck. While we were all snuggling close to one another in the chill of the night, Johnny took out his guitar again. Listening to music in the dim light of candles set up by the skipper, I felt at peace. Even though I hadn’t met any of the people before, I was so at peace with myself and everyone around me. The comfort I felt and the ease of the moment really made me appreciate the Danish culture.

Drinking tea, eating candy, and listening to music in the candlelight.

Hygge is hard to explain in words, but it is such a big part of the Danish culture and something I can truly appreciate. The U.S. doesn’t really have that sense of coziness, so being able to experience it is something I will never forget. It has really made me appreciate the culture and has solidified that coming to Denmark was absolutely the right decision for me.

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