Name: Marie Ojo
Home University: Wittenberg University
DIS Copenhagen Summer Session 1 Course: Human Health & Disease: A Clinical Approach
One thing I strived to do when I came here was to genuinely try to live like a local. I love that Copenhagen is not as much of a tourist center as a lot of other major European cities, and yet it has a quiet charm to it. One truly gets to experience what it is like to be a part of the society and I think that’s the ideal vacation. In my first week here I went through a huge portion of my bucket list items; I visited Christiania, went on a boat tour, visited the royal palaces, climbed to the top of the city, and enjoyed all the food this place had to offer. Don’t get me wrong – there’s still so much I am yet to do, but over the last couple of days I stopped planning my every move, hung out like a local, and let adventure find me.
It is well known that when the sun comes out so do the Danes. The city is full of life, teenagers carry their boom boxes around blasting music and everywhere you look people are eating ice cream or drinking freshly squeezed juice (there is nothing like a freshly squeezed cup of juice so do yourself a favor and treat yourself to one). One of my favorite summertime activities so far has been taking the metro over to Amager beach with my housemates and grilling up some hotdogs galore. You can also find the Danes with their picnic grill sets, hanging out in one of the many city parks, drinking a cold beer and just enjoying life.
I also visited the building famously known as the Black Diamond (or the Royal Library). Let me tell you – it was nothing like any library I had ever been to. The building exterior is made out of dark glass so that when the sun hits it just right it shines like a diamond. Inside of the library was just as exquisite as the exterior. The newer, more shiny part is connected to the older library and there is a walkway over the highway that connects both of them and everyone has full access to both (Considering this is a ‘Royal Library’ I assumed that there would be some sort of special area just for the nobility). My friend Cindy and I walked into the library and the amazing smell of coffee from a café on the right hit us. We went up the huge escalator and took in the grandeur of the building. Danish architecture has always blown me away but this was unlike anything I had seen. We walked towards the old part of the library and it was even more beautiful. We decided to sit in a corner of the old library surrounded by Danish students studying for their exams and we did the same thing. Unfortunately an exam in our Human Health and Disease: A Clinical Approach courseinterrupted our attempt at living authentically and we had to cut our visit short.
It’s really easy to merge with the Danish lifestyle. As soon as you get your wardrobe in check, slide on a pair of dark sunglasses, and shed off all your touristy airs (I’m kidding – flaunt your touristy self, but don’t be too loud), you’re on the right track. As you start to plan your trip (or maybe you’re already here), and you just want to feel more like a local, put yourself out there. Visit Studenterhuset, go into a coffee shop or a random sandwich store underground. My friends and I visited Grillen and enjoyed a classic Danish meal of burgers and milkshakes (I’m kidding, but the Danes do make a mean burger and fries).
This place already feels like a second home and I really wish I had more time here, but I will definitely visit again. My favorite part of this trip and in fact the most hyggeligt moment was sitting on one of the many Nørrebro bridges with my two roommates, watching the sunset, listening to music while surrounded by Danes. As I watched the rush hour traffic slow down and people below on their pedal boats pass by, I realized how lucky I was to be able to take all of this in.
I encourage anyone who is planning to or even considering studying in Denmark or anywhere else to go for it. There is nothing like feeling at home in another country. Although it may be daunting, and you may want to visit every single tourist attraction, just make sure you take some time out to take the road less traveled. Eat where the locals do, go out and find bars that are made to play board games (visit the Bastard), take the bus and go out without an agenda. Know that it’s okay to get lost sometimes and maybe you will find yourself on your way.