Priya, Cornell University, spent a semester in Copenhagen with DIS. During her time abroad, she passed on advice for creating a unique study abroad experience.
Read Priya’s letter, and learn more about what to expect from a semester with DIS.
Leaving the university I’ve called home for the last three years to live in a country where I didn’t know anyone, was not how I expected to start off my senior year. Yet, if I had the chance to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
My first week in Denmark, I felt like a first-year starting college all over again. Constantly meeting new people, asking their majors, hometowns, and colleges, I was surrounded by people, yet felt adrift.
Nonetheless, I set out determined to find community as I embarked on this new adventure. I attended an array of DIS events, from speed friending at Studenterhuset, to board game night at Bastard Café. There I befriended DIS students from colleges all over the US and even some from my own university who I’d never met before. At my lively kollegium, I found Danish students who took me swimming at Islands Brygge and helped me as I practiced my beginner Danish.
Stepping into the unknown with an open heart and mind is crucial to building community when you’re studying abroad.
Stepping out into the unknown with an open heart and mind is crucial to building community when you’re studying abroad. However it’s not the only way to find your place. In Copenhagen, I sought to expand upon hobbies and interests I already had.
Having worked as a barista my freshman year, I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer at the student-run bar-café, Studenterhuset. I learned how to pour beer on tap and take orders in Danish, all the while meeting students of varied backgrounds. Even on the days that I didn’t have a shift, I wound up at the café, chatting with fellow baristas or grabbing a table for a study session.
On free afternoons and evenings, I made my way over to Blocs & Walls or Beta Boulders to rock climb—a sport I picked up earlier this year. I even organized a community climbing event for my kollegium, using the DIS Navigate app to find people with similar interests as myself. I found climbing partners (from DIS and beyond) who motivated me, helped me improve, and quickly became close friends with me outside the gym.
Within just a few fleeting months, I found people and places that I love and cherish. On the NYC subway, as I made my way to the airport the day I flew off to Copenhagen, I saw a poster that read “Take a risk. What’s the best that could happen?”. Despite the pandemic and my own hesitations, I took a chance to study at DIS and the best thing that happened was that I found yet another home away from home. And I cannot wait to return!