When you study at DIS in the summer, you have three housing options: DIS dorms (just like back home), kollegium (a mixture of Americans, Danes, and international students), and independent housing! I was fortunate to stay with a host family, and let me be the first of many to tell you that this is the absolute best way to integrate yourself into Denmark’s unique and cozy culture.
I am living with a mother and her 10-year-old daughter (and their hamster!) and choosing to stay with them has easily been my best DIS-related decision. (Besides deciding to study abroad in Copenhagen in the first place, of course).
Jeanet, on the left, is my host mom and Anna, on the middle right, is my host sister. The two others are Anna’s half-sisters who came to visit the first weekend I was in Copenhagen. These four ladies, especially Jeanet and Anna, have been almost entirely responsible for my adjusting to Denmark without experiencing too much culture shock.
My host family has truly welcomed me into their home. Jeanet moved into Anna’s room so I could have my own and took a piano out of the attic for me to play! We eat home-cooked family dinners each night, talk about differences in American and Danish culture, teach each other words in our respective languages, go on adventures (Frederiksborg Castle is next!), and just enjoy each other’s company. I especially love teaching English to Anna, who has been taking it for just over a year in school and is shy about speaking, but excited to learn. Thank goodness Jeanet can translate and Anna knows some basic phrases!
Being able to impress people with the 20 or so Danish words I know and having breakfast and dinner be provided is wonderful, but the best part for me is simply having a family to come home to each day after class and post-class activities with friends. I am a big family person and, especially in a different culture, I’m so thankful to have kind, welcoming people who consistently encourage me and answer all of my questions. And, of course, deal with my various mistakes and shenanigans (like that time I showered with the bathmat still on the floor of the bathroom – I’ll laugh at that moment forever).