30 Years Later, Two Alumni are Reunited with Copenhagen

 “Some quick final thoughts on Denmark. It’s 6.15 a.m. I leave in 15 minutes to fly home. I love it here. I don’t want to go.”

Charles Schuler stumbled upon this old journal entry from 30 years ago, documenting his final thoughts as he awaited the plane that would take him back across the Atlantic Ocean, leaving behind his new found home of Copenhagen and DIS.

“It’s been an amazing year of great personal challenge, growth, understanding, and change. I’ve gained a new personal awareness and understanding. I’ve gained faith in mankind. I can live, and laugh, and love, and for the first time ever feel the air in my lungs. I am forever changed,” Charles wrote.

Charles and Kris Britt studied with DIS in 1989 for a full year; living in Copenhagen, going on Study Tour, and attending class on Vestergade – where DIS has sat since 1959. While abroad, Charles traveled to Jutland, Communist East Germany, Poland, and Moscow. Kris studied humanities and Danish at DIS, and built long lasting connections with friends from across three continents.

1989 was a historical time for humanity, and a groundbreaking time to study abroad. The Berlin wall fell in November of 1989 and Kris and Charles were there to celebrate with a reunited Germany.

“1989 was an amazing time of geo-political change. Being in East Berlin the day Erich Honecker was removed, going back and help tear down the Berlin Wall, going back to be part of the first and only free East German elections, and dancing in Potsdamer Platz until the sun came up,” Charles reflects on his time abroad.

This past September, 30 years later, Kris and Charles returned to DIS. They toured the facilities that have morphed over the years but are still just the same. They met with Executive Director, Malene Torp, and strolled through the streets of Copenhagen.

“On my return, the DIS programs had expanded. The student who showed us the DIS campus today had studied neuroscience at DIS. At one of the dorms a student had done a project setting up beehives – that blew us away,” Kris exclaims.

“It was amazing. So familiar, yet so different,” Charles adds. “It is heartwarming to see how much the DIS program has grown and expanded. When I studied at DIS, there was only Vestergade 7.”

This nostalgic visit coincidentally coincided with the 60th anniversary of DIS, allowing Kris and Charles to witness the developments over the past 30 years in Copenhagen during a time of reflection and sentiment for the institution.

It was wonderful to welcome you back to Copenhagen, Kris and Charles!

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