Reflections of Scandinavia

Just like that, my time studying abroad is over. In this blog post, I’ll talk about my impressions of Copenhagen and Stockholm, how they are similar and different, my classes, and my biggest takeaways from my travels.


One thing that’s hard to miss in Copenhagen is all the biking. Bikers are given lots of space on the roads since so many Danes are commuting to and from work by bike, which was very interesting to see since I’ve only been around car-centric infrastructure. The swarm of bikers going to work in the morning looked pretty intimidating to me, but my classmates who opted to bike for their transportation all had great things to say about it.

Bikers and cars sharing the road in Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s metro system was my favorite way to get around while studying abroad. With the metro, I could reliably travel anywhere in the city very quickly, and I’ll miss being able to use it. This efficiency is something that stuck out to me when first arriving in Copenhagen. Whereas I feel there can be a lot of wasted space in the United States, the streets of Copenhagen are very condensed; there are so many businesses on every street, so you can never really run out of things to do. And with how walkable the streets of Copenhagen are, I got the chance to do a lot of things. 

In Copenhagen, I took Behavioral Economics: European Case Studies which combined human behavior and psychology with economic theory. I’ve written before about how this course gave me a different perspective on economics, and I’m glad to say that I think it has given me some possible ideas for research projects I can do to complete my degree back at Purdue.


Stockholm immediately felt a bit more like home to me with its many parks and beautiful natural sites. This may not be the case for everybody, though, since my housing site was located in a borough known for its nature. In all, Stockholm is made up of 14 boroughs, and each has different qualities. So while I spent a lot of time in the parts of Stockholm that were more residential and had many open areas, there are other parts of Stockholm that reminded me of Copenhagen with narrow cobblestone streets.

In Stockholm, I took Comparative Economics: Global Risks and European Responses which compared how Europe and the U.S. respond to economic challenges. This course allowed me to look at economic issues from a much broader perspective than I have before, and discussing pressing global issues from an international perspective was particularly fitting for a study abroad course.

Comparing Copenhagen and Stockholm

Copenhagen and Stockholm differ slightly in the types of public transportation offered. While Copenhagen has an extremely accessible and dependable metro system as well as buses that varied in their punctuality, Stockholm has a punctual metro system (or tunnelbana, aka “the T” as some students would call it) that is not always within a convenient walking distance as well as buses that I found to be more reliable than those in Copenhagen. Determining which is better really depends on where you live within each city and, in particular, how close you are to a metro station. Overall, though, I was impressed with the public transportation in each city. 

Additionally, Copenhagen seemed much more densely populated and felt more like a big city than Stockholm. While some areas of Stockholm feel similar to Copenhagen, Stockholm offers more variety and the city seems more spread out overall, which I preferred.

Another aspect of these cities that varies (and that I’m only noticing in hindsight) is the amount of history that you can see. In my first blog post, I talked about how I stumbled upon a castle in Copenhagen — and this is just one example of the amount of history you can see and feel in the city. That contrast of old and modern was something I liked about Copenhagen, but I didn’t see that much of it in Stockholm. While I’m sure there are some great historical sites in Stockholm, they don’t seem to be integrated into the modern-day city.

Final Thoughts and Takeaways

In terms of academics, taking classes at DIS was a great opportunity. The workload of my classes was never an obstacle as my professors understood that a big part of our experience is engaging with the city we are living in. Rather than having a lot of homework, classes were focused on in-class activities and discussions, which was something I wasn’t used to doing but found valuable.

On a personal level, study abroad has given me a sense of confidence that I wouldn’t have been able to get any other way. Study abroad showed me just how much there is to learn and explore and, by doing so, emphasized the need for being adaptable. With this experience under my belt, I know that I can adapt to new situations and thrive in new environments. Now I feel that I can make the most of whatever my future brings.

And, of course, DIS has left me with many great memories. I’ve already written about several of these in my past blog posts, from playing pickup in Copenhagen to exploring the Parthenon in Athens, but I could never find the time to write about all of them. I’ve taken more pictures in the past six weeks than I ever have before, and I hope to look at them in the future and be reminded of the great experiences I had studying abroad.

It’s been great sharing my experiences through the DIS Summer Writer blog!



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