Hello! My name is Saovleak Khim, but I go by Noury. I am a rising junior at Temple University, a public institution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am a pre-med student majoring in Neurobiology and Philosophy. I discovered DIS when I was a freshman in college, and have wanted to attend the program ever since. DIS offered everything I wanted in a study abroad experience, including my desired courses, location, and accommodations. Being a STEM major on the premedical track, it is difficult to incorporate studying abroad into a four-year graduate plan. The logistics may seem downright impossible. But with the help of my academic, financial aid, and study abroad advisers, I was able to make my dream of studying abroad a reality.
Studying abroad is a distinct type of traveling. It’s not exactly a vacation, more like a business trip. I chose DIS mostly because I wanted to take the course Neuroscience of Personal Identity. Lame, I know. But as a self-proclaimed neuronerd, this class was exactly what I was looking for. It uses philosophical methodology to explore neuroscience, which combines my two majors perfectly. Another reason for choosing DIS is the accommodations they offer, like a Care Team to help you with physical and mental health, and a variety of living arrangements that fit every need. The most important aspect of choosing DIS though was definitely the fact that it was in Copenhagen.
It is surreal to finally walk on these winding cobblestone roads and bike by the picturesque colored houses in Nyhavn. However, it is not only Copenhagen’s beautiful exterior; it is its attitude towards life. Copenhageners seem to understand the value of silence and the serenity in slowing down. Even the navigation app gave me way too much time to walk from my Kollegium (a shared housing between the locals and DIS students) to the DIS classrooms!
It has barely been a week so I haven’t had time to digest. It’s sensory overload! On my first day, I bought my first yogurt in a carton, learned the Danish word for butter (smør), and almost got hit by a biker, a couple of times. Class started a day later, and we were in full swing before I could even figure out how to pronounce smørrebrød. (That’s a Danish “open” sandwich that includes buttered rye bread and various toppings that you should probably have a couple of times during your time here.)
I will be studying here for all three sessions, which totals to 10 weeks. Although that may seem like a long time, it will pass by quickly. There are so many things I want to do. Some of my goals are:
- Walk up the spiral stairs of the Church of Our Savior
- Visit Freetown Christiana
- Eat smørrebrød, lots of them, especially if there’s shrimp involved
- Copenhagen Street Food on Paper Island
- Day trip to Aarhus
- Bike, follow green lights, get lost!
I don’t have a cohesive list or set plans because one of my goals is to take it day by day. Every day is a chance to explore, to be present and enjoy what has been given to you. I plan to learn as much as I can in my classes but also remember to take advantage of this time abroad. Being on a very tight budget feels limiting sometimes, but I am learning to make it work. I hope to show you that it is possible!
Catch me next week where I will tell you a little bit more of what I’ve done! I’ll share some tips on budgeting for eating out and buying groceries, and well, we’ll see what else I’ll learn by then! Hej Hej!