Sometimes it’s hard to choose just one city to study abroad in. That’s why Jeff, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, divided his time between Stockholm and Copenhagen last summer. To Jeff, this was an excellent way to get a feel for the nuanced differences between the two Scandinavian capitals.
To give an idea of what it is like to switch between two locations, we sat down with Jeff for a Q&A to hear about his time in Stockholm and Copenhagen:
DIS: Why did you choose to spend your summer in Scandinavia?
Jeff L: I chose it because I wanted a way to not only get credit hours for school but also explore the world and see new things from a new perspective. It just happened to perfectly align that DIS has a program that allowed me to do as such.
DIS: Can you tell us a bit about the courses you took? Why did you decide to take them, and what were the highlights of each course?
JL: The first session I took Discrete Math with my home institution in Stockholm. It was a three-week long math course where we spent three hours each day in a lecture. I took the course for credit back home. My best highlights from the course was honestly just getting to know everyone very well and being able to study math in a new area. We went to various places and visited various historical sites in Stockholm all while still being able to learn math.
The second session I took was Visual Culture of the Cities with DIS in Copenhagen. I chose this course as a way to not only take a course but also see the city at the same time. My best highlights of this class was going to a dinner on a Study Tour in Berlin where we could not see anything because it was pitch black. We had to eat dinner in total darkness and it was a really cool experience.
DIS: Tell us about the two cities you’ve lived in, Stockholm and Copenhagen. What was it like experiencing two different Scandinavian cities, and studying from different perspectives?
JL: The first city I went to was Stockholm and I really enjoyed it there. I lived in the suburbs and it was definitely an enjoyable experience and much quieter than living directly in the bustling city.
Opposite to Stockholm, I lived more or less in the city center of Copenhagen where a lot of people bike around and hurry to their locations. Stockholm and Copenhagen actually differed rather drastically in many ways. Perhaps the most notable difference was the prices. Both using their form of kronor, Stockholm was relatively cheaper to live and eat in compared to Copenhagen. Another big difference was their modes of transportation. In Stockholm, because things were more spread out and the city was a bit larger, I had to take the metro everywhere I wanted to go. In comparison, Copenhagen is the definition of a biking city where bikes dominate the roads.
DIS: What have been the highlights of your summer abroad?
JL: The highlights of my summer were for sure just being able to spend time with people that are enjoyable to be around. The professors are great and the cities are even better. Being able to not just tour a city but actually being a part of it, live in it, and coexist with others in it has been amazing.
DIS: How has studying abroad with DIS been an impactful experience?
JL: My time abroad with DIS has definitely opened up my views about how I see the world and individual cities. My class on visual culture really taught me how to read a city and understand all of its historical background and contexts simply by looking at something as simple as its bricks. Some bricks are old, some are new, some are fake, and all of those culminate in a story about the building.
DIS: Do you have a piece of advice for someone who is going going abroad to study?
JL: If I were to give a piece of advice, it would be just to enjoy yourself. You have several weeks abroad so you don’t need to rush. Find something to do that others don’t and find places to go that make you happy but that are not necessarily where everyone goes. There are many nooks and crannies in the cities that are truly amazing and it is simply up to you to find them.