Maggie (Wake Forest University) spent her first year of college living and studying in Copenhagen. When it came time to leave, she knew she wasn’t done with Scandinavia quite yet. During the summer going into her final year of undergraduate schooling, she returned — this time, to participate in a Summer Session at DIS Stockholm. Read on to learn more about Maggie’s journey and what drew her back.
If you told my 17 year old self that I would be enamored with Scandinavia four years
later, I would have asked: Where? A meticulous planner enmeshed with a wide-eyed dreamer, I had no idea that a year in the future, I would be falling in love with a timeless city that I now want to call home forever.
Now, I am a senior at Wake Forest University, double majoring in Politics and French, studying Political Science at DIS Stockholm; but at 18, I was an undeclared freshman participating in the Global AWAKEnings program in Copenhagen, Denmark. Studying abroad in Scandinavia with DIS has changed the course of my life and made me the person I am today, and I am thrilled to share some of my story.
My Enamorment with DIS
From the day of my departure in 2020, I knew I wanted to return to DIS. The experiences I had, the learning I undertook, and the way DIS is designed is unparalleled and unique. This summer, I am taking Political Extremism and Threats to Democracy, which I chose in order to learn about a powerful topic from a new perspective.
While I never thought I would enjoy a morning class, Stockholm convinced me otherwise. Academic life here is incredible — you can study by the water or in a cozy café, and I even enjoy taking exams with the bright colors of Melodislingan shining through my classroom.
A primary reason I wanted to return to DIS was the quality of the programs offered; I had
never experienced a Field Study or a Study Tour before, and now I wish I had them in every class. Alongside the excitement of traveling to a new place, students gain valuable and diverse insight into our fields. This summer with DIS, I traveled to Budapest, learning about political extremism from the Hungarian perspective.
As a senior, I can attest that DIS is very different from studying back home. DIS students
are given countless opportunities to learn outside of the classroom and immerse ourselves in our culture of residence. A single week in Stockholm with DIS taught me more about current European politics than most of my classroom lectures in Winston-Salem, and I was able to embrace learning in a new and exciting way.
Copenhagen vs. Stockholm: Cinnamon rolls, Canal Stroll, and Hidden Trolls?
I was fortunate enough to go back home to Copenhagen for a weekend this summer,
where I first fell in love with DIS nearly three years ago. Stockholm and Copenhagen are two very different cities — Stockholm feels more cosmopolitan and spread-out, while Copenhagen feels cozy and intimate. Copenhagen is more walkable (and bikeable!) but both Copenhagen and Stockholm have amazing public transportation options — it is also very easy to get to other Scandinavian countries!
In both Stockholm and Copenhagen, I was fortunate enough to have locals living alongside me in our housing, making it easy to form friendships! Even in a few short weeks over the summer, I connected with Stockholm natives who have taught me very valuable lessons. They have also shown me some of my favorite places in and around Stockholm: Monteliusvägen, Gamla Stan, Vaxholm, and Södermalm, to name a few!
Looking to the Future
Everyone should study abroad in Scandinavia during the summer — it is the best place to
be this time of year. I feel incredibly fortunate to be back here, and to have accomplished one of my biggest goals in doing so. My session at DIS completes my Political Science major, and my summer experience here helps me graduate on time. Other goals were to meet new friends, see more of Stockholm, and get in touch with my Scandinavian heritage — all of which were accomplished during my first days at DIS!
I would return to DIS as many times as they would let me. If I had it my way, I am sure I
would have spent all four years of my undergrad here! This summer has allowed me to achieve my goals domestically and abroad, and takes me closer to one of my future goals — interning with DIS after graduation! This summer in Stockholm, and all my time with DIS, has also made immigrating to Scandinavia a life goal of mine.
To any prospective DIS students — take the leap. I have never regretted mine. You will have experiences you always wanted, learn about subjects you may not have known existed, see the world from a new perspective, and learn amazing things about both where and who you are.
You may, like me, fall irrevocably in love with the city you’re in, regardless of which city or path you choose, you will have an adventure beyond your wildest dreams. Go for it!