Current DIS student Ava, Carleton College, is enjoying her time in Denmark so much that she has chosen to extend her stay to include the spring ’21 semester. While study abroad during the new ‘normal’ is different, Ava finds that it is still a fulfilling experience, and she appreciates getting to know the many nuances of Denmark.
We asked Ava about her experiences from studying abroad in Copenhagen this fall, and what she looks forward to in the spring.
DIS: Hi Ava! Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: Hi! I am a third-year music major at Carleton College. Among other things, I study jazz guitar and electronic composition. I play saxophone in the Carleton Jazz Ensemble, and percussion in the Afro-Cuban chamber group. I also work for the CAMS Production Office where I answer technical questions for students and staff. Most of my spare time is dedicated to listening to music or fiddling with the guitar.
The academics are engaging. I have a lot of free time to explore the city and the culture here in Denmark.
DIS: What has your fall in Copenhagen been like so far?
A: Copenhagen has been amazing. The academics are engaging. I have a lot of free time to explore the city and the culture here in Denmark. I am grateful for this, because I think it would be a shame to study too rigorously while abroad and never get a chance to know the area.
I enjoy going to different neighborhoods and exploring – finding parks or coffee shops to write and sketch. There are also world class museums and concerts, which I have been taking advantage of as much as I can. It is a pretty good life here in Copenhagen.
DIS: What was your journey leading up to traveling to Copenhagen?
A: I applied on a whim, seeking refuge from Zoom university. At the time, it seemed like a long shot to leave the country amidst a pandemic for Denmark. Even after I was accepted into the program, I was skeptical. Slowly it began to feel real, but even once I was in my apartment in Copenhagen I was a bit disoriented.
In Denmark, the government has done a good job handling the pandemic so far. I trust that they are accurately reporting cases and the federal restrictions will be strict enough to protect citizens.
DIS: How did you prepare before leaving the U.S.?
A: I spent a lot of time reading travel blogs and watching videos about Copenhagen. At the time I was almost completely quarantining, and I would spend a lot of hours daydreaming about being here. I even downloaded DuoLingo and attempted to learn some Danish before arrival.
DIS: What’s it like living in Copenhagen during the pandemic? How does it it differ from your life back home?
A: There is a large contrast between my experience of the pandemic in the States and here in Copenhagen. In Denmark, the government has done a good job handling the pandemic so far. I trust that they are accurately reporting cases and the federal restrictions will be strict enough to protect citizens. I do not feel the need to self-regulate here, which is a pretty huge relief.
DIS: What made you decide to extend your stay at DIS Copenhagen?
A: My roommate and I were about a week into our first semester here when we started looking into extending our stay. Ever since I have been set on studying through spring. I just think my time in Copenhagen has been so valuable, and I am eager to continue learning and experiencing. Even without the extenuating circumstances of 2020, my quality of life here in Copenhagen seems a lot higher than at home or university.
DIS: What are you most excited about for the spring semester?
A: I actually recently got accepted into the Royal Danish Academy of Music for Spring 2021. I am very excited to take a few classes there, along with my Core Course at DIS. I am grateful that DIS has this program for music students and made me aware of the possibility to apply. I will be studying Sound Engineering, Production, and Composition. Maybe some day I will come back to Copenhagen to complete my Masters at the Royal Academy, who knows.
There are a lot of small cultural differences that I am still trying to wrap my head around, and I think living here for a full year will help in this endeavor.
DIS: What elements of Denmark and Danish culture do you wish to explore more?
A: I really would like to be a bit better at the language. I have been doing my best to practice, but it feels a bit silly when everyone here speaks fluent English. Also, there are a lot of small cultural differences that I am still trying to wrap my head around, and I think living here for a full year will help in this endeavor.
DIS: What’s your advice to incoming spring 2021 students?
A: Do not spend too much money preparing for Copenhagen, that money will be better spent on experiences here. However, purchase your toiletries and personal items before coming to save a bit!
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