Hej everyone! I’m Kevin O’Donnell, and I’m a rising junior at Purdue University and their Honors College where I double major in Economics and English. I’m spending the first summer session in Copenhagen where I’m taking a Behavioral Economics class and the second session in Stockholm (with a study tour in Athens, Greece!) where I’m taking a Comparative Economics class. This is my first time outside of the United States, so I’m excited to see what’s in store this summer.
At Purdue, I’m very active in intramural sports. I play basketball and sand volleyball throughout the year. My studies have led me to see potential in a future career in writing, publishing, academia, or government—but my many interests keep me from narrowing down my options.
When I’m not studying or playing sports, you can find me reading Stephen King novels or watching Survivor (the latest season of which featured a former DIS Copenhagen student).
I began looking into studying abroad since I knew nothing was preventing me from studying abroad this summer, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to say the same in the future. I had also heard great things about studying abroad from Purdue students and from my sister, who studied abroad in Italy and had the chance to explore much of Europe.
While most programs I initially looked into lasted four weeks, offered one class, and featured one location, DIS offered so much more. When first reading about DIS, I was surprised to see that I would be able to study abroad for at least 6 weeks as well as go on study tours in other locations. Then I learned that I could enroll in sessions in both Copenhagen and Stockholm, which sealed the deal for me. Studying in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Athens all while taking two economics courses that greatly interest me is a package deal with unmatched value. With more classes and locations, I anticipate that DIS will offer the experiences, cultural immersion, variety, and overall opportunity I am looking to get out of studying abroad.
In terms of the locations DIS offers, Scandinavia was particularly interesting to me as an Economics major. Scandinavian countries are known for their generous welfare systems and having the happiest people in the world. Because of this, experiencing and engaging with these highly regarded societies and seeing how they operate day-to-day is something that appeals to me on a personal and academic level. This is also why I’ll be reading George Lakey’s book Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right-and How We Can, Too in conjunction with my studies in Scandinavia.
My First Week
When arriving in Copenhagen, I saw a city that was simultaneously similar and strikingly different from cities I had been in before. Much of what I’ve seen so far was seen from the water on the DIS Canal Tour of Copenhagen.
One of many views from the Canal Tour
This tour gave great insight into Denmark’s long history filled with successes and failures as well as how Denmark operates today.
DIS also welcomed its new students with the Basketball Shootaround event at Nimbus Kollegium, which I was excited to participate in because of my experience with basketball. And I suppose having a taco truck catering the event was a bonus, too.
Students were given the court for two minutes at a time to rack up as many points as possible. Some stuck to layups (each worth one point), and others hoped to sink as many half-court shots as possible (each worth 10 points). Others, like myself, tried a combination of both, but that turned out to not be the winning strategy.
While DIS welcomes its students to Copenhagen, a big part of integrating into a new country is tackling the unfamiliar head-on. This was made clear as students worked to figure out how they would get to class after going on the canal tour.
While I have heard other students enjoy the efficiency of their bikes, I have been traveling around Copenhagen via public transit. This has proven to be mostly reliable, but waiting at the wrong bus stop made one journey back from class particularly memorable. After opting to head to the metro after realizing I waited at the wrong bus stop, I ran into the Christiansborg Palace.
Here I wandered around, forgetting about my earlier concerns of how I would get back home. Outside of this palace are several statues of men riding horses, as well as a couple actual horses. Stumbling upon something like this would never happen back in the U.S. and goes to show the omnipresence of Denmark’s long history.
After seeing what Denmark can offer even when you’re not looking for anything, I’m excited to see what other surprises await me in the coming weeks.