Goodbye København

1Name: Marie Ojo
Home University: 
Wittenberg University
DIS Copenhagen Summer Session 1 Course: 
Human Health & Disease: A Clinical Approach 

My summer in København has officially come to an end and I have arrived safely at home. My last week in the city was jam packed with visiting the sites I had not yet seen, hitting all the best ice cream stops, and of course, taking finals. I took my last test in my Human Health & Disease course on Friday, and I decided with my friends Cindy and Himani from class to do one thing we had yet to do: visit a cemetery.

We got together at Store Kannekestræde, my Residential Community, and decided we would go to Holmens Cemetery, which is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city. It was a nice day out, which made our 20 minute walk even better. We walked through a more residential part of the city lined with adorable bars and cafes. We peered into a couple of schools we saw along the way and marveled at how much better their basketball courts looked; we waved at little kids in a playground and wished we could join them.

Holmens Cemetery

When we got into the cemetery, we were blown away. It was immediately a few degrees cooler than the street had been. The tombstones varied in height, color, and style. Some of them looked like houses, and a few plots had multiple headstones in them where families had been buried together. They were well taken care of; some had trees, a few had gardens in blossom, and there were even little benches in a few where we imagined family members could sit while they spent time with their passed loved ones. Amazed by how beautiful the cemetery was, we engaged in the Danish practice of having a picnic there. We were joined by a little blackbird that decided he didn’t like our potato chips.

One of the many grave sites with little benches
Himani, Cindy, and I enjoying cake, chips shaped like pasta, and a cool drink

After our little adventure, we walked back along the canal to the Dronning Louises bridge. The natives did not disappoint once again, and the bridge was filled with people enjoying picnics, commuters zipping along on their bikes, and friendly dogs walking around. We walked across the bridge and back.

Just a couple of cool kids, enjoying the sights and sounds of Copenhagen’s bustling main bridge

On our way home we discovered one of the bike share stands and I decided it was now or never; I would probably never have the chance to join in the bike craze, so I signed up for a bike and rode it home. I thought I would do a couple of laps around our neighborhood so I could ride through real traffic. You can trust that I fell off that bike more than once, almost ran a red light and even got myself lost. Thank goodness the bike had a navigation system!  It was definitely a rush, and I’m glad I spent my three weeks on foot. I returned my bike and found Himani and Cindy; it was almost dinner time and we really wanted to find a restaurant or café with outdoor seating, mainly because we wanted to snuggle in the blankets they provided.

Himani, the epitome of happiness as she protects herself from the elements

We went to a café in the square close to the Round Tower and insisted that we be seated outside. It was a lot of fun sitting there enjoying a delicious meal while people watching and talking about our time in Denmark. We watched babies run through the fountain, kids walk by or skate by with their friends and boom boxes in tow, talked about how much we didn’t want to leave, what the rest of our summer would look like, and how we would have to stay in touch with each other. We parted ways a little while after and I was left thinking about how much this place has come to feel like home. When I got back home, my roommates and I finished packing our things since we would be leaving the next day.

I am thankful to DIS for providing such an amazing opportunity, and to my parents for their never-ending support and trust in me. In three short weeks I have grown in independence and appreciation for the world around me. I have let my guard down and made wonderful friends, made connections with medical professionals and grown to love my chosen field even more. My Danish exploration has been more than I ever expected it to be, and I know that I will remember this experience for the rest of my life, and who knows, maybe I’ll be back one day. This program brought me so much joy, reminded me to never take anything for granted, and to take every opportunity to learn something new. As I continue with the rest of my summer plans, I will do so with renewed excitement – mostly because I will be able to keep up with the doctors at my internship, and also because I started it off in the best way possible: discovering Copenhagen.

I made it home and I finally got to meet our new pups!

Hej hej for the last time, and if you choose to study with DIS, I truly hope that your experience will be as magical as mine.

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