Name: Ilana Curtis
Home University: University of Pittsburgh
DIS Copenhagen Summer Session 4 Course: Graphic Design Foundations Studio and Visual Journal
Over a week has passed since the Fourth of July; man does the time go by fast here. It seemed weird to not be on the beach celebrating last Monday, but apparently some consider Denmark to be the 51st state when it comes to patriotic celebrations, and I ended up barbecuing in honor of the holiday with some friends. Another girl in the Graphic Design Studio program has a courtyard at her Residential Community complete with an herb garden, fire pit, and picnic tables—the perfect setting for a delicious dinner. Being away from my home during the holiday did get me thinking about familiar practices in unfamiliar or new settings … a concept that applies to all scenarios – big and small – when you’re abroad.
My first week here, which now feels like forever ago, I admittedly was a bit homesick and extremely overwhelmed (in a good way), but did all I could to make the transition a bit easier – which basically just meant eating familiar foods and talking to friends from home every time I stumbled upon free wifi. I quickly learned that this was not the way to ease into my new home for the summer. Not every grocery store has almond milk, granola is called muesli here, and yogurt comes in milk cartons, so it’s important to find a balance between familiar and unfamiliar experiences in entirely new settings.
At home and at school I try to practice hot yoga at least twice a week—it’s a great work out, a supportive community of individuals, and a necessary break from reality. I knew finding a yoga studio in Copenhagen would be a great way to seek a familiar community in a new setting. Practicing yoga here in Copenhagen makes my time here seem more permanent – as though I am actually an individual living here, and not just a visiting student for the warm summer months. Plus, it’s been a great way to meet Danes!
I did eventually find my way to the beach – and found myself a short six-mile bike ride from the city in a historic town called Dragor. It was my first time in the countryside this whole trip and I found a certain comfort being near the ocean in a more secluded and peaceful setting. Exploring outside of Copenhagen and navigating through the city to the countryside was such a wonderful daylong excursion, and I hope to return once more before I leave.