A Tree-Hugger In Copenhagen

My name is Katie, and I hail from the small, baseball-loving, riverside hub of St. Louis, Missouri. I spend most of my time there studying in a library at Washington University, brewing my next cup of coffee, or hanging out with my dog. A fun fact about my hometown is that we just acquired the dockless bike-sharing service “Lime Bike”! I was ecstatic about this development and, of course, tried it out immediately.


Happy as can be after a long bike ride to Dyrehaven – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and beautiful green sanctuary just north of Copenhagen.

As an Environmental Earth Science major, I like to follow all the latest innovations and movements in sustainability. While witnessing small steps like implementing a bike-sharing service around my Midwestern home are exciting and important, I wanted to learn about sustainability from a completely different perspective. And is there any better place for that than Scandinavia?

Copenhagen is a bike-loving, tree-hugger’s dream. I decided to spend six weeks of my summer taking courses with DIS so that I could not only strengthen my environmental studies but experience for myself the daily lifestyle in such an earth-conscious city.

A view of the city from the top of the Rundetårn – an observatory built in the 17th century.

For the next three weeks, I’ll be taking the course Sustainable Denmark: Solutions and Dilemmas. I’m looking forward to understanding more about the policies, attitudes, innovations, and challenges that place Denmark on the cutting edge of sustainable development. After that, I’ll dive deeper into the energy aspect of sustainability in Renewable Energy Systems including a study tour to Germany – Glücksburg and Berlin!


Exploring between morning and afternoon class – we walked through a green-covered passageway to find this quiet courtyard and a free art gallery.

I can’t wait to learn about the environmental issues our world is facing from the various viewpoints I’ll encounter with Europe as my classroom. As an environmental advocate and aspiring public policymaker, it’s important for me to continually listen to others’ takes on big issues. The more perspectives and expertise you can incorporate into your problem-solving strategies, the better! I hope to bring all kinds of new ideas and considerations home with me so that I can approach sustainability issues in the U.S. with a more creative and global background.

Along with expanding my approaches to sustainable living, I’m excited to get familiar with the Danish culture and learn from other students! I’m living in a Kollegium flat with a couple other American students and three Danish students. The Danish students have already (very patiently) educated me in some Danish pronunciation and about the trash-sorting system, and I’m looking forward to learning more from them.

One of my Danish flatmates has an eye for design. Our kitchen is bright, open and the perfect place for group dinners.
The benefit of having a kid-sized bike – cute colors!

I picked up my rental bike today; I intend to fully embrace the Copenhagen cycling culture and explore the city on two wheels. I hope to be able to call myself a confident urban commuter in the cycling lanes, catch some hygge (and feed my caffeine addiction) in the coffee shops, and enjoy all the beautiful green spaces Copenhagen has to offer during these next five weeks!

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