As I come up to my first full week of session two in Copenhagen, I want to reflect on my time in Stockholm for session one, my transition to Copenhagen, and why I am returning to Stockholm for session three.
One thing I have really enjoyed about Stockholm is the access to nature. With endless islands, parks, and lakes, I have rediscovered my love for outdoor activities. My favorite day in Stockholm was going swimming in a lake, and then relaxing in the sauna. It was so exhilarating to switch between the two, and really lightened my mood. I am excited to return for session three so I can experience the height of Swedish summer.
One thing I have learned from my classes so far is to truly embrace open-mindedness. My session 1 course Transgender in Scandinavia has made me realize how crucial being open-minded is when studying abroad. An open mindset truly allows you to embrace Scandinavian culture and experiences both in and out of the classroom.
I have also learned flexibility. Every professor’s teaching style is different, and it can affect your academics based on your learning style. Being adaptable not only with academics, but in Scandinavia is crucial. Stockholm and Copenhagen offer many unique opportunities and experiences, but you need to be flexible while traveling. Nothing abroad will be perfect, and you will have both great and less-great experiences. Being able to stay calm and go with the flow means you can truly appreciate your exploring and experiences.
One of my most memorable moments from session one so far was my solo day-trip to Sigtuna. I was very proud of myself for navigating the public transit alone, all while embracing the new sights, sounds, and smells. I was able to walk through Viking ruins, visit century-old houses, and read by the stunning shoreline. I cannot wait to go back to Stockholm to explore many more unique and historic sights.
Originally when I registered for DIS, I was more concerned with the courses offered rather than location. My home university is relatively strict with qualifications for classes abroad and how they fill my degree requirements. With this in mind, I consulted with my advisor about which DIS classes would count towards my degree.
Based on their advice, I was able to choose three courses that will directly go towards both my Philosophy major (session two: The Good Life) and my Women and Gender Studies minor (session one: Transgender in Scandinavia and session three: Power of Women in the Viking Age). Switching between the two countries will give me a good taste of Scandinavian culture from different perspectives, as well as experiencing both DIS program locations.
The transition between Stockholm and Copenhagen was certainly memorable. As someone who gets motion sick easily, I came prepared for the long journey. Before the 7:30 departure, I was able to take a few motion sickness medications so I could sleep on the bus. I was able to remain asleep until the mid-way lunch stop.
We stopped at a beautiful lake that had a nice walking path, small beach, and playground for the lunch break. We ate at the local restaurant, which served an all-vegetarian meal for everyone. I was a bit drowsy from my medications, but the strong coffee from the restaurant woke me right up.
We then had to do the bus switch. The group coming from Copenhagen had taken a double-decker bus, and I was excited that the bottom of the bus had tables! This allowed us to draw, play cards, and even answer some emails on my laptop. The second half of the ride to Copenhagen is very picturesque, with many roads following the countless lakes and shorelines. Overall, even though it was a long day of travel, I really did enjoy the transition to Copenhagen.
In the end, I am so far very satisfied with my decision to experience both Stockholm and Copenhagen. As I continue through session two here in Copenhagen, I plan to truly enjoy what this city has to offer, and look forward to my return to Stockholm.