What My Study Abroad Experience Was Made Of

After four months of living in a Homestay, DIS Copenhagen student Celina wrote this reflection on her blog:

It’s exactly two weeks until my flight back home to the Philippines. Every day is a bit closer to the end and I am already nostalgic about my whole experience. I wake up a little earlier and walk a little slower just to try to take everything in and savor the moment.

I’d been dreading the end of my semester. Copenhagen is such a beautiful (almost utopian) city and while the city is a hard place to leave, I find it harder to leave the people I’ve been coming home to for the past four months. I was hesitant about choosing to live with a Homestay family because there are so many ways it could have been terrible, but living with my hosts has exceeded my expectations of what this experience has been for me. Anyone who has asked me about how I’m doing in Copenhagen has probably heard me ramble on about how grateful I am to be living with my host family. Anyone who has asked me what my favorite thing about Copenhagen is… It’s my host family!

Celina-and-her-host-family

My study abroad experience did not consist of checking off items on my bucket list or flying out to a different city every weekend. My days were made of slow mornings over coffee and freshly baked homemade bread, getting some sun at the playground with a group of two year olds, coming home from school to a delicious dinner with the whole family, watching movies and having a bowl of candy on the weekends (sometimes paired with a gin and tonic) … and cake. A whole lot of cake!

In addition to that, I got to experience celebrations the Danish way! A birthday, a confirmation, a road trip, etc… These are very personal and intimate moments where I really began to understand Danish hygge. (Hygge – a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cozy, charming, or special.). This is exactly what my study abroad experience was made of.

I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to handle being away from my own family after everything and I was even hesitant to push through with studying abroad, but I am so glad that I did because I have gained another family and another set of lifelong friends in Copenhagen. This experience has given me a mix of eye-opening, risk-taking, and heart-warming moments all in a span of four months. It’s hard to leave a place, but even harder to leave the people that gave the place meaning.

Celina and her hosts disabroad

To my hosts: Thank you for opening up your home to me and allowing me to be a part of your family.

P.S. Looking back, my Bucket List gave me a good laugh. I clearly had different expectations from this study abroad experience:

BUCKET LIST

  • See the Northern Lights
  • Rent a bike
  • Travel to Iceland
  • Find a hip hop dance studio in Copenhagen
  • Explore the cafes in the city
  • Sketch the architecture around Denmark
  • Watch a concert in Europe
  • …. Many, many more

Out of all those things, the only item I checked off was “Sketch the architecture around Denmark.”

Needless to say, my experience was nothing like I expected and yet so much more than I could have imagined.

Do you have questions for Celina?

>> Contact her on her blog 

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