Meeting Patience


Who am I

My name is Patience Harris and I’m a student at the University of Michigan. I grew up in Ohio, spent my first two years of university at the University of Cincinnati, and then transferred to the University of Michigan. After this summer with DIS I’ll be graduating with my B.A. in History, and I’m aiming to work in historic preservation/archives in the years to come. I really love working directly with the sources when studying history, and I’m excited to be able to do that in both Copenhagen and Stockholm due to the deep archeological record in the region!

This trip marks my first Trans-Atlantic journey, and I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences here. I come from a long line of Midwest and Appalachian ancestors, most of whom didn’t have the opportunity to travel much. I’m also a first-generation student, and I recognize the privilege that lies within opportunities like these.

Here are some things that interest me and/or I love: watching philosophy debates on YouTube (they’re free!) (I also recommend the Chomsky-Foucault 1971 debate), olives and cortados (separately of course, but I may incorporate some exceptional olive and cortado experiences into future writings), architecture (specifically of churches – I don’t care if it’s a parish or a cathedral, I want to go inside), queer history (looking forward to learning more about it from a Scandinavian perspective), and music (post-punk, funk, shoegaze, ambient, synth, etc…)

Pære Banal Performing at Loppen in Christiania (May 28)

I’ll definitely be incorporating some of these into future posts, so hopefully it will be a point of interest for someone! If not, I’ll be indulging myself. That being said, there are some travel-specific things that I would like to share more thoughts on to come. Specifically, I’m fascinated by our motivation to travel and to document our experiences – most often through photography. I will admit, I ere on the side of taking fewer photos, mostly because I want to be able to connect to a memory through my immersion in it rather than the photographic evidence I have of being there. In short, I want the question: what are the intentions here? To be present in posts to come both in Copenhagen and Stockholm. I would also like to say that I’m all for documenting experiences! I just also want to live them.

My Courses

I was able to find three different courses that are fascinating to me, and I’m excited to learn more about the topics. In Copenhagen I’m studying Nordic Mythology, which is of particular interest to me due to the intersection of religion, folklore, and migration. For sessions two and three I’ll be going to Stockholm where I’ll study Gender and Sexuality in Scandinavia and Political Extremism and Threats to Democracy in Europe. I’m particularly looking forward to learning more about political extremism in Europe because I’ve only ever studied it from an American perspective and I imagine there are key geographical differences to be had.

Why Scandinavia

When I applied to DIS, studying abroad was about fulfilling a goal of mine to get outside of the United States before I graduated college, which Covid-19 disturbed a little bit. After being in Copenhagen for a few days, I already have begun to pick up on some commonly spoken words, to always stay on the right side of the metro escalator (or a hurried Dane may run you over), and I can walk around the streets of Amagerbro with some level of certainty in where I’m headed. And while these little routines have provided me comfort already in my first week here, the real reason I’m here is to expand outside of myself – which can all too often be excused away when at home – to embrace different ways of living, thinking, and connecting.

An aspect of DIS that I’ve already been able to take part in is the experiential learning outside of the classroom. Last week I visited the Nationalmuseet and took a guided tour of the prehistoric artifacts with my professor, and in a few short days we are taking a field study to Roskilde to see a famous Viking ship burial. These opportunities are a large part of why I chose DIS, because as much as I love reading and classroom discussions I also like to get out and experience it for myself.

Christianshavn Street

Goals for the Summer

This summer I want to understand Scandinavian politics more, swim in the canal, see some live music, improve both my Danish and Swedish, visit the Swedish archipelagos, gain the courage to rent a bike in Copenhagen for the day, and share my time with some friends along the way. I’m looking forward to writing more to come.

Noticing the Ornate Sewage Pipe Blocks

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