Current DIS Student Blogger Taylor Rugg arrived in Copenhagen with two suitcases stuffed to the brim, but is leaving with a lot more. Her semester abroad has been filled with new family, friends, traditions, and adventures, and she is determined to bring parts of her study abroad experience back to the United States. Read on to see the top seven things she will be returning home with, and check out Taylor’s blog to dig deeper into stories from her semester!
1. The concept of ‘hygge’
This is a word that doesn’t have a direct English translation, but can be best described as the feeling of ‘coziness’ and ‘comfort.’ I want to take this mentality back to the States because hygge creates an inviting space where it is easy to relax and unwind. Whether it’s having dinner at a friend’s place or enjoying an evening alone with a book, having candles lit and blankets to combat the cold can transform the moment into a cozy space.
I admit I have quite the sweet tooth, and Denmark’s penchant for desserts does not disappoint. To say that I love the traditional ‘lagkage’ (layer cake) is an understatement. The fillings between the layers of cake are customizable – my favorite being a layer with whipped cream, blueberries, and bananas, a layer of chocolate mousse, and the entire cake topped with meringues. DIS Student Blogger Vanessa celebrated her birthday with one made of chocolate, walnuts and coffee icing. Yum! I’ll be sure to bring home this recipe and more to try out in my own American kitchen.
3. New academic perspective
DIS Copenhagen and DIS Stockholm offer a wide range of classes, many of which are not offered at my home university. Not only did I have the opportunity to enroll in courses that were unique and relevant to my personal interests, but I got to learn the material in a multi-cultural context. Between field studies that took us all around Copenhagen, to Program Study Tours where we spent a week in another country with our Core Course, DIS provides many opportunities for us to dive deep into the rich culture that surrounds us.
When something happens that’s either unexpected or undesirable, my Homestay hosts and I say, “such is life.” This mantra has become so freeing during my time in Denmark. Every experience that you have while studying abroad helps you grow; and this mantra helped me enjoy the bright moments and cope with challenges.
Before I arrived in Copenhagen, I had really only held maps that were printed in textbooks or folded up and stashed in glove compartments. However, navigating with a map (or eventually, without one) is something I feel much more confident about after traveling and studying abroad. When I go home, or experience a new city in the U.S., I won’t be worried about getting lost a few times (or more) – it happens, and then you learn from it!
My mom’s advice to me before I left for Denmark was to pick one type of souvenir, and then collect the same thing in each location I traveled to (I chose pins). However, when choosing a souvenir from your personal study abroad experience, I suggest you give it a little more thought. What is something you can’t find in the U.S.? For example, my host parents bought me a bug zapper – which looks like a tennis racket and zaps bugs. A little different from a postcard or Danish flag, but it’s a unique gift that will always remind me of the fun, and funny, relationship with my Homestay parents!
As much as I’d love to, I can’t take my new family and friends back with me. But just as my family in the U.S. is still my family while I’m abroad, my family in Denmark will still be my family when I return to New York. When you study abroad, your family and support network expand. At the end of this semester, I am exchanging one home for another, but thanks to all of the wonderful technology in today’s world, I can keep in contact with my host parents in Denmark and the friends that I’ve made all over the States. Vi ses!