Sun Appreciation

 Ilana Curtis
Home University: University of Pittsburgh
DIS Copenhagen Summer Session 4 Course: Graphic Design Foundations Studio and Visual Journal






Welcome! If I’ve learned anything this summer, it’s how quickly two weeks can go by and just how much you can accomplish in such a short period of time. As I sit on the train on my way to Stockholm and then Helsinki for my Long Study Tour with my Graphic Design Foundations Studio course, I’ve finally found the time to stop, slow down, and reflect on these last thirteen days, which have been incredibly amazing and more inspiring than I could have ever imagined.

My name is Ilana Curtis and I am a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh, an architectural and urban studies major with a minor in studio arts. As an architecture student, study abroad was always an option, if not a requirement. It was just a matter of where I would go. I have a continuous fascination in cities: how they work, look, grow, and the culture, people, food, and buildings, so after exploring my options and talking to friends who had done DIS over the semester, Copenhagen presented itself as the best and most fascinating city to study design in. After two weeks, that sentiment remains true. I love the Graphic Design Foundations Studio course, a totally new course of design study I eagerly opted for after a year of architecture studio (a.k.a. far too many all-nighters, close calls with x-acto knives, and floor plans).  So far, there are many parallels between the two types of design, and DIS organizes design classes so all fields are interacting and sharing ideas over the course of seven weeks.

Our first graphic design project is to create a poster or info graphic of one of our study tour sites in Stockholm: the Culture House

I’ve only been on the train for three hours, but I already miss my cute apartment in Vesterbro, a ‘hip and trendy’ part of the city, and the comfort that goes along with having a (temporary) home. Perhaps my favorite experiences so far have been the in-between moments spent walking around the city, sitting in parks or outdoors at cafes and markets. My place is only a 15 minute walk from DIS and the city center, so there are endless things to do in the immediate vicinity. The Danes know how to do summer, and the appreciation for the long summer days, strong summer sun, and warm evenings is so apparent all around the city. There is an undeniable energy here; I have yet to see an empty bench along the four small lakes carved in between Indre By and Nørrebro (two neighborhoods) that are great for running, or a patch of grass not covered by at least one person at Rosenborg Slot, (the King’s Palace gardens) the most popular park in the city.

All smiles on a canal ride in Nyhavn

On June 23, bonfires were held around the city for sankthansaften, to celebrate midsummer’s eve and a very old tradition of burning witches at the stake.  My DIS professor sent my class an email with recommendations on the best places in the city to watch. I ended up going to the beach, Amager Strand, per her recommendation, and had an incredible time despite the rainy evening. The teacher-student dynamic is much more relaxed here which has made it easier and more natural to make a connection with my professor. I’ve realized the DIS faculty is here to teach and support academically, but also act as mentors and trusted professionals/friends to help students ease into and get excited about their field of study and potential career path.

Watching the Eurocup Sweden vs. Belgium game at Island Brygge

About 40 minutes out of Stockholm and I think its time for a quick power nap before the next adventure begins!

4 thoughts

  1. Dear Ilana, This is a lovely blog; Jean and I look forward to the next one.

    I have left a (belated) birthday card with gift enclosed with your mom. Enjoy your activities in Europe. You can’t help but learn

    Love, Herb

  2. Dear Ilana, What a wonderfully written description of your first few weeks in Copenhagen! It certainly is an exciting, historical and dynamic city. I loved my visit when David took the year to study in the DIS program during his fourth year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. What intrigued me when I first arrived were all the bicyclists in their dedicated lanes, rain or shine. You have already learned so much. This summer will be such a magical and unforgettable learning experience. So glad to share in your journey through your writing. I know how very proud your mom is of you!

  3. Dear Ilana I very much agree with Marie. I also loved your new city very much. Very much appreciate your way of describing your new abode.

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