Hi everyone! My time in Copenhagen ended at the beginning of July and I have now completed my first week of classes in Stockholm. I came out of nearly 2 months in Copenhagen with a pretty good understanding of the city and was pretty calm about the adaptation I would have to face in Stockholm. I can easily say that Stockholm wins out in the battle of the two cities. I have expressed that opinion pretty freely and have been met with some incredulous remarks back about why Copenhagen is better. Copenhagen’s got it’s transportation down with next to no complications: it is easy to walk or metro and probably even easier to bike. Housing in CPH was great with a close proximity to most of the city and DIS is situated in Strøget, the world’s longest pedestrian shopping street and located at the city center which made it so easy to go out after class to shop or get drinks.
But I am so in love with the city of Stockholm. It is absolutely sprawling, with ferries taking you to city corners that cannot be reached by the Tunnelbana or the bus routes. The trains are slower here but I like the isolatory commute where you have time to prepare for the day and gaze at the cityline while you travel across town. You’re often hopping on at a T-stop with such a grandiose design which makes the waiting for the train seem more like idly observing the walls at an art gallery.
I prefer Stockholm because it just feels like it will be more impactful for me, bigger in its reputation and part of the abroad experience I’ve been itching to experience. I actually want to go to certain museums which is rare for me since I typically reject touristy things. Stockholm is nice too because it seems to have a lot more everyday working people if you can say that? It feels like I’m settling into a space where I too have my mission to get through the day. We all move in cohesion on our way to work or school and it feels normal, making me think that this is what it would be like to have studied here in the semester and not in the summer where I only have a limited time here. It seems like this could be my preparation for pursuing a higher degree abroad, where I think in Copenhagen, my experience felt more casual and fleeting.
I think it is more of a commitment to live in a city like Stockholm. Industrialization is more prevalent with areas like Kista or Lövholmen. And the city’s landscapes and seascapes transform before your eyes daily. You’re more at the mercy of the weather than it felt like in Copenhagen but it has been cooler here. I haven’t felt a sticky heat here because of how temperate the sea keeps the city (which I think is glorious because I hate hate hate the summer heat). And in July, it’s quieter with a good portion of Swedes being allowed the month off work to go to the island of Gotland or the outer countryside to their summer homes.
The class structure with DIS between Copenhagen and Stockholm are pretty similar. You’re organized in similar ways with your teachers and study tours. Housing is farther away from the center of both of these cities, so the commute stays pretty much the same unless you get a rare housing assignment closer to the DIS headquarters. While Copenhagen DIS has multiple of their own buildings where students study exclusively together, Stockholm has a much smaller operation with only a handful of classes offered during my third session. We share our DIS Stockholm classrooms with The Royal College of Music, one of Sweden’s most notable institutions of higher education and certainly one of the best music schools in the country. The building is spacious and filled with concert spaces down on the bottom floors while DIS occupies the top floors.
I feel like Stockholm feels more like an academic setting, simply because we are studying in a space that’s been opened for collaboration with a larger institution. It’s easier to walk around in Copenhagen but I think the distance of the building in Stockholm can be nice as an adventure starting point, where after class you can navigate from your maps about where the next museum to go to is or what cafes to hit up during your lunch breaks. I think just in general, I’ve felt this pull more towards Stockholm since I’ve been here and it’s been a setting that’s more fit for me as a student than Copenhagen just because of these small preferences. Really glad to be here and will be sad to leave.