As a Mix and Match student, Gabby (she/her), George Washington University, spent her summer living and learning between Stockholm and Copenhagen. Through this, she was able to experience and document a variety of what a Scandinavian summer has to offer. Scroll on to read Gabby’s own words and observe the cities as she did through the lens of her camera.
I was drawn to Scandinavia because I wanted to find out what made the happiest countries in the world so happy. As a college student balancing life, school, research, mental, and physical health, my life tends to be busy and stressful. I knew that Scandinavia could teach me more about a work-life balance and would provide the space I needed to decompress from the school year while also growing in an academic and social setting.
My first impression of Stockholm was that it was laid-back, historical, and I simply had so much to explore. No one ever felt like they were rushed to get anywhere, and the vast number of public transit options got people where they needed to go in a timely manner. Every street felt exactly what you imagine a European city to feel and look like.
My first impression of Copenhagen was that it was a highly walkable, energetic, and lively city. The locals and tourists alike were always on the move in the highly compact city. I also needed to look both ways before I crossed the street, considering I could get hit by a bike at any moment.
Skansen Dancers, Stockholm. This photo is from one of my all-time favorite days in Stockholm, where my friends and I met in Djurgården to go to the ABBA Museum, followed by a yummy lunch at a nearby café, and completing the afternoon in Skansen, the Swedish open-air museum. It was so nice to spend the day learning and getting to know so many people that I’d eventually call life-long friends. This photo of the traditional Swedish dancers highlights the culture and the artistic flow of their movements.
Slussen Street Shot, Stockholm. This photo demonstrates a typical afternoon around the Slussen metro station: streets with people, restaurants, and bikes parked outside shops. My friends and I spent many afternoons shopping around and having coffee and many nights wondering this street. Truly a Stockholm staple.
Östermalm, Stockholm. As a documentary photographer, I typically strive away from more artistically styled photographs. This photo challenges that and captures a street shot through a reflection, also showing the inside of the bakery.
Beaches, Copenhagen vs. Stockholm. Both cities have Baltic Sea beaches, and the water is equally as cold in both places. Copenhagen’s beach in Amager is several miles of imported sand, beach sports, and Kastrup Bath. Stockholm’s beach in Tanto Strandbad is condensed, rocky, and always full of people. Both beaches were perfect for the few warm days in June.
Colorful Streets, Stockholm vs. Copenhagen. Any European city has picturesque streets full of colorful and unique architecture. Götgatan in Stockholm has colorful brick buildings. Nyhavn in Copenhagen, adorned with Danish flags, is set on a harbor full of boats.
Nighttime views of Amager, Copenhagen. Living in communal DIS housing was an interesting experience. The best part was the colorful sunsets that contrasted the red roofs. This sunset afterglow featuring a bright full moon was a beautiful night.
Views on the Boat, Copenhagen. Although the sky was dark with rain, the DIS boat tour was a great way to see the city. The sky contrasts Copenhagen’s architecture and boats with the impending rain for a truly stunning boat ride.
Amagerbro Street Shot, Copenhagen. One of my favorite parts of being a photographer is capturing the pure moments between people. On my walk home from dinner, I captured these two people sharing an intimate moment as silhouettes. We may never know the context behind this photo, but that is the best part.
Learn more about Summer at DIS