Name: Emmie Arnold
Home University: Vanderbilt University
Summer Courses at DIS: Children with Special Needs, Prostitution and The Sex Trade
“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” – Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus
Anyone who tells you that studying abroad doesn’t bring its fair share of challenges is lying. Even for people who have traveled many times before, going to a new country always takes a bit of getting used to! It’s exciting, thought-provoking, and didactic – nothing to be scared of, but important to be realistic about. It forces you to grow in ways you didn’t expect, meaning that you might go through some growing pains. Don’t worry, though – everyone around you at DIS is going through the same thing!
You might have awkward encounters with people and objects, (for me, it always happens with fences)
get lost more than you would like to admit,
have a particularly American accent when you try to speak Danish,
take cultural differences personally and see them as “weird” before you learn to see them as things of beauty and diversity, just “different”,
have trouble connecting with classmates at first,
not adapt to the time and weather changes for a while,
feel physically and emotionally exhausted by the constant adventuring and traveling you’re doing,
and wonder why there’s still a significant amount of schoolwork to do when it appears that you’re on an all-expenses-paid vacation in Europe.
Well, just know that these concerns are completely normal, and in fact, they are a wonderful part of your personal maturation. Not everyone gets the privilege of traveling to new places, meeting new people, hearing new ideas, trying new things, and experiencing true cultural immersion, so enjoy each moment, even the uncomfortable ones! Remember that life is more fun if you laugh at yourself and dare to branch out.
If you’re willing to work through challenging moments and work toward fitting into the new culture, your study abroad experience will be beautiful, one you never forget.