Hej hej! My name is Lauren Macy and I’m from Burlington, Vermont but go to school in Connecticut. I am a rising senior at UConn, where I’m double majoring in Psychology and Human Development & Family Studies.
This past semester I studied abroad with DIS in Stockholm, and now I’m spending six weeks of summer in Scandinavia! I had such an amazing time learning about other cultures around Europe as well as learning about myself through my struggles and achievements the past few months, and I just did not feel ready for this incredible journey to be over.
So, I’m spending three weeks in Copenhagen studying the Psychology of Criminal Behavior, and then will be headed back to Stockholm, studying Gender, Equality, and Sexuality in Scandinavia for my final three weeks.
Even as a child I always knew I wanted to travel around the world and maybe live in another country, so studying abroad in college was a no-brainer for me. Because this had always been a dream of mine, I knew I wanted to study abroad for a whole semester, but adding the summer on was a very spontaneous decision for me. As soon as I saw the flyers around the DIS building in Stockholm advertising the summer program, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to extend my stay and experience the summers in both Copenhagen and Stockholm. Throughout my time abroad I have been realizing how truly lucky I am to be able to take advantage of these opportunities, and I am so grateful for my experience with DIS!
I originally chose DIS as my study abroad program because I was very interested in the Scandinavian countries (partly because they seem similar to my hometown in Vermont while also differing quite a bit, and partly because they’re consistently ranked as the happiest countries in the world). Additionally, I was intrigued by the class topics; they’re more unique and interesting than any other classes I have ever been offered before. DIS also incorporates travel and field studies into class schedules, so I mean what could be better than a program that’s in a perfect location for me, has super unique classes, and requires travel and field studies?
I also love the DIS program because they offer the opportunity to mix and match the summer sessions. I’m so excited that I get to experience living in Copenhagen, and I’m also very much looking forward to returning to Stockholm for my final weeks in Scandinavia. I think I have a very interesting perspective coming into the summer sessions as I’ve already spent a semester in Stockholm; I have already overcome my initial “study abroad” nerves that occur when first leaving home, and I think I have already grown personally quite a bit throughout my experience. However, I’m excited to explore a new city and continue this journey!
Even being in Copenhagen for only three days now, I’ve already noticed a lot of differences from Stockholm. For starters, there are SO MANY BIKES everywhere you go. Seriously, if you don’t look in every possible direction like 18 times before crossing a street you will get run over. In Stockholm, biking’s not a big thing (at least it wasn’t in January-May, but maybe it will be different in the summer!) so this is a big difference. I’m honestly terrified to try it because I feel like I’ll either hit or be hit by someone/something, but I’m going to try to face my fear and give it a go since its such a huge part of the culture here!
In Copenhagen, it seems like, while there are a lot of Danes everywhere, there are a ton of foreigners. Everyone knows English here, and while this makes me feel privileged and I question why other cities are catering to Americans, it also makes me feel safe and comfortable. So if you’re concerned about not knowing the Danish and Swedish language, you don’t need to worry about it!
Additionally, Copenhagen feels like much more of a “city” than Stockholm did, but maybe that’s just because I’m living closer to the city here. I’m not really a “city” person, but I am just trying to embrace all of the loud noises and people everywhere. However, my Kollegium (the living with locals housing option) is located in Frederiksberg, which is part of the city but feels more like a suburb, and I absolutely love it.
I live with two Danes plus three DIs students, and they’re all amazing. Both of the Danes are around my age, so it’s super interesting to hear everything they have to say about Copenhagen and to hear about their daily lives. One of my favorite things about studying abroad is meeting people from all over the world and from all different backgrounds, so I’ve loved getting to experience the different housing options (I lived with an amazing host-family in Stockholm)!!
I can’t wait to get out and explore Copenhagen more over these next three weeks, and continue my journey of personal growth through study abroad! Some things on my Copenhagen bucket list include:
- going back to Nyhavn and seeing all the colorful buildings (I went here in February when I visited for a weekend but it was cold and gross out)
- visit the free town Christiana
- go on a canal boat tour
- bike and not hit anyone 🙂
- find some hiking trails in or outside of the city
- try some Danish food that I can’t pronounce
I’m trying to not plan too many things and just go with the flow, while also trying to do something new every day, so we’ll see how this goes! I’m so happy that I get to call Scandinavia my home for a few more weeks, and I’m excited to share my experience with you!