My name is Jackson, and I am a rising junior at Trinity University, studying Psychology and Political Science with a minor in Film Studies. This summer, I am studying abroad with DIS! I’ll be spending my first three weeks based out of Copenhagen studying Positive Psychology, and my last four taking Political Extremism and Threats to Democracy out of Stockholm. I cannot wait to see all that comes my way this summer!
I knew before I even began college that studying abroad was a must. Unfortunately, when a global pandemic wreaked havoc on the first year of my college experience, my choice to study abroad became more difficult. That’s when I discovered the summer program DIS offers! What first caught my attention is admittedly pretty nerdy: the vast array of classes that DIS offers. There is nothing more exciting to me than flipping through a course catalog and discovering what classes I can possibly take. I’m sure you noticed from my majors and minor that I like to indulge in many different areas of academics. With the classes I chose for the summer, I am hoping to dive into some areas my home university does not offer and really explore my passions. While I still have time before graduating college, I have no idea what I want to do. I am hoping that this summer will give me some answers, or at least some sparks!
What really stood out to me though, was that DIS is based out of Scandinavia. I have wanted to visit Scandinavia for years, and getting the opportunity to live here makes it all the better. Scandinavia is known for its vibrant culture and distinct way of life, something I am eager to explore. The DIS Summer program is really exciting in this aspect, because it offers the ability to Mix & Match your sessions. As soon as I found out that I could study in both Copenhagen AND Stockholm, I was sold. Additionally, in the two sessions I am in, our classes include week-long Study Tours, so I will get the opportunity to visit Vienna and Budapest as well!
First Impressions of Copenhagen
I’ll admit it: the plane ride over to Scandinavia made me nervous… more nervous that starting college for sure! Leading up to this journey, I had only been excited. There’s so much to do, so much to learn, how could I not be ready to go? However, flying over the Atlantic, it hit me just how crazy this all was: a new country, different language, exotic food, absolutely no one that I knew.
My nerves were immediately squashed in the airport though. As I was waiting for my bags, one of the people in front of me asked the person next to her if they were going to DIS. Soon enough, there was a whole mini-group of us congregating around the baggage claim! As we set off toward our housing, the nerves flowed right out of me. The bus ride to our dorms was full of excited chatter and beautiful scenery.
Copenhagen only got better from there! After dinner, I discovered that my housing was super close to Nyhavn Harbour, known for its colorful buildings. I could not believe that we were so close to such a famous landmark!
I have only been here for five days, but it feels like a month already. My class did quite a few Field Studies this week, so I got the chance to explore the city by just attending class. After one of our tours, my professor, Gitte Vonsild, took time out of her day to take us on a private tour of the city! We walked to the Little Mermaid statue, Amalienborg Palace, Frederik’s Church and The King’s Garden.
Gitte, who informed our class that it is custom to call everyone (including professors) by their first name in Denmark, also brought us some Danish afternoon snacks the first day. This included some of the most delicious and beautiful strawberries I have ever had and Flødeboller, which Gitte and our guest lecturer claimed were “the only thing Denmark has that the US does not” (although I am determined to find something else). Flødeboller is like a chocolate covered marshmallow, or maybe crème puff? Whatever it was, it was amazing!
Danish people are very nice on the whole as well. They’ve helped me check out at the store as I struggle through the self-checkout. They can also go between speaking Danish and English at lightning speed, which eased my worries about a language barrier. One sweet Danish couple even ran up to my class while we were exploring to make sure none of us had dropped a jacket she saw! I have never been in such a vibrant and bustling, yet calm and kind city before. Those nerves that appeared out of nowhere on my plane were for nothing.
I am super excited to explore more in Copenhagen as I continue my studies here! See you soon!