Getting Involved In Your Community Abroad

Going abroad does not mean you have to leave your extracurricular activities or passions behind. In fact, going the extra mile and finding out how you can play a sport, tutor, practice your religion, pursue an interest, or try something new in your host city can be a natural way to meet locals.

At the beginning of the semester, DIS gives you tools and information about clubs and communities that want you to join them. Get inspired by past students who took the dive and signed up for an activity:

1. Get involved in local sustainability efforts!
Copenhagen and Stockholm are some of the most sustainable cities in the world. Scandinavians live more sustainably than your average European city dweller, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Sophia, Smith College, volunteered at Grønt Marked while studying with DIS in Denmark. The team at Grønt Marked welcomed her with open arms, and she was able to share her passion for community and food with others.

Read stories about students involved in the local sustainability communities while abroad:
Sophia volunteered at Grønt Marked
Francesca volunteered at Actory and gardened at ØsterGRO

2. Join a sports team!
Stay in shape and even learn Danish or Swedish sports terminology at the same time. Mike, University of Scranton, played on the Copenhagen Business School rugby team while studying with DIS in Denmark. Practicing with the team made him feel “so much more comfortable in Denmark” and allowed him to meet students from all over the world who were studying at CBS.

Read stories about students playing sports while abroad:
Mike played rugby in Denmark.
Sidney played rugby in Denmark.
Kayla joined a basketball team in Sweden.

3. Get involved in an activity at DIS.
There are plenty activities offered at DIS that can help students find their community abroad, such as New in Town Meetups, affinity groups and social clubs. The affinity groups offered in Copenhagen are Students of Color, and LGBTQIA+ Students. The Diverse Identities Social Club, is a group offered at DIS Stockholm. Olive, Macalester College, found an encouraging community and a safe space where she could explore her personal experiences with diversity, identity, and intercultural interactions while studying abroad.

Learn more about the D.I.S. Club. from Olive’s perspective.

4. Volunteer!
Giving your time and knowledge to causes you care about can be personally fulfilling and open doors to new experiences abroad. Tess, Hobart & William Smith, volunteered at the YouPeople. Her volunteering experience allowed her to be more connected with the community, learn more about the welfare system in Denmark, and make new friends.

Read stories about students volunteering abroad:
Tess’ volunteering experience in Copenhagen.
Rebecca’s volunteering experience in Stockholm.

5. Join a local arts group.
Natachi, Columbia University, joined a community of dancers and found opportunities to practice slam poetry while studying in Copenhagen. The people she met in these activities became “pillars of [her] study abroad experience.”

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Learn more about Natachi’s dance and poetry experience in Denmark.

6. Become a DJ!
Anna, Oberlin College, had the opportunity to host her own radio program called Smörgåsbord on Stockholm College Radio. Anna joined a new circle of Swedish students by working at the station.

FA17 STO Blog Anna Rose Stockholm Radio_Zoe Chodak (6)

Learn more about Anna’s DJing experience.
Tune into Stockholm College Radio.

7. Join a Hackathon!
Elizabeth, John Hopkins University, participated in an Entrepreneur Hack-A-Thon for Swedish students. By participating in this event, Elizabeth was able to meet other Swedish university students, learn about what entrepreneurs do, and how to think like one. The websites of local universities are a great place to look for events that are open to the general public.


8. Hangout with your Visiting Hosts.
If you aren’t living in a Homestay this semester, you may have been matched with a Visiting Host – a great opportunity for a unique intercultural exchange! You take the initiative and meet up with a local host throughout the semester.

Salmaan, University of Illinois at Chicago, had a Swedish Visiting Host Family while studying at DIS Stockholm. This allowed him to “…continue to live in [his] housing in the Residential Community that was comfortable for [him], but still be culturally enriched by being involved with a local family…”

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Read about Salmaan’s evening at his Visiting Hosts.

Want to get involved while abroad?

>>> Get involved at DIS Copenhagen.
>>> Read about how you can meet the locals in Copenhagen.

>>> Get involved at DIS Stockholm.
>>> Read about how you can meet the locals in Stockholm.

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