Hej, everyone! I’m Lauren, a rising senior at Indiana University studying East Asian languages and cultures and global media. After making all necessary preparations, quarantining for 5 days in a hotel, and an abundance of COVID-19 tests, I couldn’t be more excited to start my first ever international trip in Copenhagen!
Growing up, my family had always taught me about our Scandinavian heritage, so I’ve heard many stories from them about life in the region.
One of my uncles found in his genealogical research of our family that we’re even distant relatives of Rollo the viking, who was the first viking to rule over Normandy.
However, one thing I didn’t know when my uncle made this discovery was that, even more so than the Norwegian and Swedish vikings, the Danish vikings had the most dominant viking presence in Europe.
I started learning more about the Danish viking raids through a fantastic show called The Last Kingdom. This show was introduced to me by my roommate back home, and this really kickstarted my interest in coming to Denmark specifically.
On top of that, I feel that coming to explore a new country and a new culture for the first time is really important in developing intercultural competency, an absolute must-have skill for anyone looking into a field related to cross-cultural communication. So where better to start developing these skills than a beautiful city like Copenhagen?
My first few days here have definitely been a rollercoaster. Even though I’ve only been in the city for a short time, I have already seen several things on my list of go-to places here: Frederiksberg Gardens & Palace, Nyhavn, Christiansborg Palace, and the National Museum of Denmark to be exact.
One difference I’ve noticed from the moment I arrived in the city was the popularity of bicycles. Back at my home university in Bloomington, Indiana, biking is already pretty popular because of our school’s “Little 500” bike racing event. But I never thought I would see a community as bike-friendly as Copenhagen.
They line the sides of almost every street, sitting parked outside of shops and restaurants, and dominate the streets even more than the cars. Seeing a sea of bikes in their designated parking areas around the city is truly a sight to behold!
Not only are bikes everywhere, but so are bike shops. Instead of car mechanics being on every corner, there are bike rentals and repair shops on virtually every street here. Bikes also have their own lanes in the streets, and even their own baby traffic lights alongside the ones for cars!
I’m planning on renting my own bike at some point this week so I can try my hand at riding in the busy bike lanes. I’ve definitely got some studying to do on the proper hand signals and etiquette before I hit the road, though.
I can’t wait to share more about my adventures with you! Stay tuned for more next time. 🙂