Heading Home, Feeling Thankful

Six weeks in this beautiful city have absolutely flown by. I couldn’t be more grateful for this experience. In such a short time, I’ve learned about wind, bikes, recycling, culture, people, politics, myself, healthcare, sunshine, life… I could go on and on!

I’m astounded by how much information and how many experiences were jam-packed into my two highly hands-on courses: Sustainable Denmark: Solutions and Dilemmas and Renewable Energy Systems. From standing in front of a high-temperature waste incinerator in Copenhagen to peering down from the top of a 63-meter wind turbine in Germany, I got so many different views on the innovative sustainability and energy solutions in action in Europe!

A couple of very excited friends at the top of a wind turbine!

Due to my studies on climate change and environmental issues at home, I’ve always been convinced that we are in need of massive changes to our consumptive lifestyles, inefficient energy systems, lethargic governments, and deceiving ideologies. But coming to Copenhagen has given me a completely new perspective on what changes are possible and how they might be achieved.

Me playing the part of the NGO in our class’ energy-planning simulation game.

When I have to return my books and my bike tomorrow, I know I’m going to ache a little thinking about the bike lane-less home I’ll be returning to, but I also can’t wait to be able to share what I’ve learned here.

As I head into my last semester of college and attempt to choose my post-grad path, I know that my experiences here in Copenhagen will guide me. I could start a sustainable business like so many I’ve seen here. I could engage local communities in environmental planning. I could try to affect local, regional, national, or even international climate policy with a widened, global perspective. I could get involved with the renewable energy sector in the States.

Along with a mind swimming with sustainability possibilities, I’m also going home with some wonderful memories and some incredible friends. From biking in Bornholm to finding the Forgotten Giants, testing the street food scene to gawking at this or that castle, each day has been an adventure, and I’ve been so lucky to find some now lifelong pals to do it all with.

Happily exploring Bornholm together!

My little family of friends sat around the table in our Kollegium flat last night for a final pancake dinner, and we each tried to pick our favorite thing about these past six weeks. One of my friends noted her study tour to Iceland. Another said our DIScovery trip to beautiful little Bornholm. I couldn’t quite choose.

I’ve loved soaking up the sunshine, biking everywhere I need to go, picnicking in the park, watching the World Cup in a very animated bar, hearing from passionate sustainability leaders, chatting with my Danish flatmates, and worshipping in an international church.

Taking advantage of the seemingly eternal picnic weather.

In all, I think the best part of my experience here was getting to see life a little bit differently, whether it was from the perspective of one of my new American friends, my Mexican or my French professor, a German political leader, a Danish wind guru, or a classmate from the Philippines. Knowing that your way isn’t the only way is quite a valuable thing, and it makes life a lot more interesting!

Hugging Teddy the giant and Copenhagen goodbye.

Luckily, I don’t have to say goodbye to Copenhagen right away – my family will be meeting up with me here, and I’m so excited to show them the city I’ve been raving about over the phone! We’ll travel to a couple of new places together before heading home, and I’m sure I’ll sleep for a few days straight. Tak, Copenhagen, DIS, and these long Scandinavian summer days, for wearing me out in the best possible way!

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