Kira Hamilton: Learning is Everywhere

DefaultName: Kira Hamilton
Home University: University of Texas at Austin
Summer 2014 Courses at DIS: Health Delivery and Prioritization in Northern Europe, Children in a Multicultural Context, and European Genocides

Studying abroad with DIS is much more than just the classroom experience. Each course allows us to explore the topics discussed in class beyond the four walls of the classroom. We are able to learn from the professionals in the fields during our field studies and can ask them questions directly. The first three weeks I’m here at DIS, I am taking Health Delivery and Prioritization in Northern Europe with Morten Eiersted. We discuss and compare the health care systems of Northern Europe with the United States. This week we went on a field study to a General Practitioner’s office (GP) to further discuss and inquire about topics we have been learning in our class. It was a great way to apply what we have been talking about in class to a real life professional.

Class discussion after our visit to the GP office.

With my class, Morten (our instructor) has provided time to get to know our classmates through ‘socials’ outside of class for us to become more acquainted. This social factor of class is such an important aspect to the learning process. Getting to know each other in a less formal setting, (such as at a coffee social after our first class), gave us an opportunity to meet the people in our class and learn a little bit about them. Through DIS, I have met people from all over the United States who are currently living all over Copenhagen–we are quite a dynamic group of people. Being in a health class, I am surrounded by pre-med, public health, and health sciences majors and I stand alone as an education major in the class of 30. But, it makes the class that much more interesting and dynamic because each of us can bring a different background to the class.

Working on notes for class in one of the DIS student lounges

The classes here, at DIS, are much more than just a college credit class; this whole city provides learning experiences I could have never even imagined. As a student here, we have the opportunity to live in a new city, surrounded by a new language (although almost everyone speaks english too), and become immersed into a new culture. The classes provide a bridge between our comfort zone of the US and the initially intimidating foreign country of Denmark. Each class is taken with other American DIS students and are taught in English (providing the comfort zone) while guiding us through Copenhagen and Denmark with the field visits and the topics of the classes. Having this metaphorical bridge (there a many literal bridges here too) in a new city has brought an added level of comfort in the midst of our independence, which I am very happy to have with me.

Copenhagen is also full of rich culture and history that can been both seen and felt just walking down streets, such as Strøget (a pedestrian walking street in the city center). In a city with such an extensive history, you can’t help but want to learn and explore. My explorations have taken me to several museums around the city, including the National Museum and the Rosenberg Castle Museum. Being able to ‘travel’ back in time at these museums as allowed me to feel a strong since of belonging here in Denmark. As I learn my way around the city and become more comfortable in my Danish life, I can tell, already, that it will be hard to leave.

Stepping back in time at the National Museum. I am next to rings from 1100!!

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