Hosts hurriedly said goodbye to their students, friends shared their last meals together, and faculty began preparing for remote learning; COVID-19 (coronavirus) forever changed the spring 2020 semester. DIS staff and faculty share in the heartbreak and disappointment of the departing current students who returned home.
Now given new realities, we’re looking for the silver linings. We are still one strong DIS community and the semester must go on—even if only virtually. At this point, learning knows no distance and we’re in this together. How do we stay connected and continue to foster the strong friendships built while abroad with DIS in Stockholm and Copenhagen?
Here are some heartwarming ways two students are staying connected to DIS and Scandinavia.
Olivia, Dickinson College, grew especially close to her Homestay. Saying goodbye so abruptly wasn’t easy, but thoughtful gestures helped.
Each member of her Homestay wrote her a letter for her to take back home. “They said they cried writing them, and I cried reading them.” Part of the message was particularly important, with a reminder that, “it’s not a goodbye, we will see each other again.”
Olivia’s Homestay also sent her off with a whole loaf of mandelbrød (almond bread) to remember the taste of Scandinavian bread and iconic Royal Copenhagen mugs as a gift. When she got home, Olivia tried to replicate the bread herself from a recipe her hosts sent her and the mugs have sparked joy every day.
Gabrielle from Spelman College had to say goodbye to her community in Denmark, her Homestay hosts, and to DIS.
Here’s how she reflected on her time abroad:
“Everything I do now is impacted somehow by my time in Copenhagen and even though the classes will continue from my bed now and then soon end, the relationships and memories I have from this place are forever. “
Specifically, there are some ways that she’s been able to bring Denmark back home:
“I bike a lot more now, I cook a lot more now, I say tak for mad (thanks for the meal) after eating, I Facetime my host family, WhatsApp my Danish friends, and have tried to explain to my family the importance of hygge.“
Here are some ways to stay in touch even from all the way across the ocean
Five Ways to Stay in Touch with Scandinavia & DIS
1. Cook Scandinavian recipes.
Take a page out of Olivia’s book and make a dish that brings Scandinavia to your kitchen. We’ll be sharing a few easy recipes here on the blog, so look out for all of those soon. In the meantime, you can get started on this Swedish Sticky Chocolate Cake.
2. Virtually hangout!
Consider all the creative ways to connect over Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime. Have a classmate lead a meditation or yoga session, or meet for fika with your own coffee in hand. Not only is it fun to see familiar faces, but it also adds structure to your day at home.
3. Get lost in Danish or Swedish series and movies
There’s nothing like Nordic noir for a dose of escapism. Here are a few ideas, across genres, to get you started:
- Wild Strawberries
- A Man Called Ove
- The Bridge
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- The Seventh Seal
4. Listen to Scandinavian music
Sweden in particular is one of the largest exporters of music in the world, with decades of incredible success from songwriters and producers. Rid yourself of tension and anxiety by turning these on good vibes at home:
- Kim Larsen
- Veronica Maggio
- First Aid Kit
5. Continue the Scandinavian traditions you cherished while abroad.
The Swedish tradition of fika (taking time to pause with a coffee and pastry) or the Danish concept of hygge (a feeling of coziness) are ways of life that you can bring into your daily routine. Both give you balance and sweeten your days. They can’t be directly translated, so it’s up to you to bring them back to family and friends—even if virtually.
Find more ways to stay in touch