Reenie, Carleton College, found that DIS presented her with a unique study abroad opportunity, and she ran with it! Between her academics, DIS housing, and local activity groups (winter bathing, anyone?), she was able to build her own international community and create a home away from home.
We chatted with Reenie to find out how her time in Copenhagen turned out:
DIS: Hi Reenie, tell us a bit about yourself!
R: I am a sophomore at Carleton College, and I’m hoping to study economics. I play soccer at Carleton, and I enjoy running and coffee.
DIS: What was your journey leading up to applying with DIS?
R: There was an email sent out to the school shortly after we were told our soccer season would not happen last fall. I spoke with my advisor and my parents and we figured it was a great opportunity to experience something fun and new during the pandemic. I had been living at home and taking online classes the term prior, and I did not want to do more classes online from my home.
I knew I would study abroad at some point in my time at Carleton, and DIS presented a great opportunity to do so during the pandemic. DIS also worked well financially with their scholarships as well as Carleton’s financial aid office policies.
DIS: You were here for the fall semester. What made you stay on with DIS for the spring?
R: I loved the independence I had living in Copenhagen and all of the cool things the city had to offer. I was not ready to go back to living with my parents or in a college dorm. Minnesota winters can be beautiful, but I am not a huge fan of the cold. It did get pretty cold in Copenhagen, but not to the point where it was impossible to enjoy being outdoors. Even though we couldn’t travel outside of Denmark, I felt like there was so much I still hadn’t seen, and I didn’t want to let the opportunity to stay and do those things pass me by.
Even though we couldn’t travel outside of Denmark, I felt like there was so much I still hadn’t seen, and I didn’t want to let the opportunity to stay and do those things pass me by.
DIS: What have been some of the highlights of your time abroad?
R: Christmas in Denmark was a cool experience. There were decorations all over the city and lots of people in shops. I was able to go to a julefrokost (a Christmas lunch) with some Danish friends. We also celebrated New Years’ together, which was cool with all of the fireworks and the Queen’s speech.
Another highlight was visiting the treetop tower at Camp Adventure (south of Copenhagen). I went at the end of the fall term with a couple of friends. We had to take a train and two busses to get there, but it was worth it.
My absolute favorite part of my stay was playing soccer with my friends from the Kollegium. We usually only played once a week and it was very casual, but so much fun. I met some very good friends that way and it was such a nice way to get some energy out every week.
DIS: Where were you living in Copenhagen?
R: For the first term, I lived in a Kollegium in Amager in a room by myself. It was nice to have my own space, and I still lived very close to friends so it was easy to see them. In the beginning, it was very easy to be social. People would hang out in the common room and you could just go there and make some friends that way. People in the Kollegium were very friendly and excited to meet new people.
The next term I moved to a different Kollegium in Frederiksberg where I shared a bedroom with another Carleton student and shared a kitchen and living space with three other Danes. We got to be very good friends, which was special. We weren’t able to socialize too much with other rooms because of the pandemic, but the five of us were social enough together that it didn’t feel like we were missing too much.
My absolute favorite part of my stay was playing soccer with my friends from the Kollegium. We usually only played once a week and it was very casual, but so much fun. I met some very good friends that way and it was such a nice way to get some energy out every week.”
DIS: You decided to pursue an independent research project while abroad. Can you tell us more about your research and how it came about?
R: I wrote a paper that evaluated funding and decriminalization of micro dosing psychedelics in Denmark. The topic was inspired by a documentary I had watched over the summer about psychedelics as well as a personal interest in the economics of drug policies. The end product was a paper that was about 20 pages long.
I wanted to do something a bit different than taking the regular DIS courses for my second term. I spoke with one of my professors from the fall term who agreed to help mentor my project.
DIS: Can you tell us a bit more about the mentorship or guidance that your independent research faculty member provided to you?
R: David (Possen) and I met over Zoom about once a week. He would usually give me some feedback about the work I had done and ask some clarifying questions. We would talk about my next steps and set some deadlines. He also helped me by providing resources for me to use and helping me set up a zoom call with a woman researching a similar topic.
DIS: How did your research relate to what you plan to study in the future?
R: I wanted to take a potential policy choice and support it with economic concepts. Learning how to evaluate things economically is something I will probably do a lot of in my future studies and work. Almost everything has some sort of economic impact so learning how to see those and evaluate them is something I hope to do more of.
DIS: How did you engage with the local people and culture outside of your courses?
R: I made some friends at the Kollegiums I lived at and I made lots of friends through a winter bathing group I joined. It started out being just a few guys and turned into a huge group of people who would jump into the water every morning. There were people of all age groups and from all over the world, which was very cool.
…I made lots of friends through a winter bathing group I joined in October. It started out being just a few guys and turned into a huge group of people who would jump into the water every morning.
DIS: Did you explore Denmark? If so, where did you go and what was your favorite place?
R: I went on a DIS-organized trip to Skagen in September, which was incredible. I also was able to go to Aarhus and Odense for my Study Tour in the fall. In the winter, we independently visited Aarhus, Odense, Bornholm, Hillerød, Helsingor, and Roskilde. I think my favorite place was Bornholm. Rønne was such a cute little town and biking along the sea was beautiful. The fort ruins in the northern part of the island (Hammershus) were also very cool.
DIS: What elements of Danish culture and Denmark did you like the most?
R: I loved that we biked everywhere around the city and that I felt so safe doing so. I also loved how much people liked soccer. I was able to play almost every week and watch lots of games with friends I met in Denmark.
DIS: What experiences from Denmark will you bring to your life and studies in the U.S.?
R: I think the biggest thing I will bring back with me is just the idea that each person is on their own timeline and there is no need to rush through school and work. I want to take more time to travel and experience the world before going right into working full time or graduate school or whatever it may be.
I think the best advice I got was to make an effort to unplug and live in the moment instead of constantly trying to keep in close contact with things and people from home.
DIS: Did you receive any good advice about study abroad that you’d like to share now?
R: I think the best advice I got was to make an effort to unplug and live in the moment instead of constantly trying to keep in close contact with things and people from home. I think it’s also important to try some things alone, without people you already know. Most of the people I met in Denmark were through activities I tried on my own.
Learn More about Denmark and DIS Copenhagen:
>> Labs & Undergraduate Research Abroad
>> Student Housing: Kollegiums
>> How to meet locals and get involved in Copenhagen