I’m Priyam and I recently finished my first year at Purdue University in the United States. I am originally from India so arriving in Denmark from US with other American students felt like transforming into a “Double Foreigner”!
I chose to study abroad because I feel that living in a different culture and interacting with people having very different values than you can have a huge impact. It gives you an entirely new perspective towards your own life and the world around you. I felt these changes in me when I went for an exchange program to South Africa during my junior year of high school and even after coming to the US for my undergrad.
Living in a different country relieves you of the everyday external factors you might take for granted in your home country. It makes you see how so much of what you believe is just one interpretation of looking at things and people around the world see life with different lenses. I find that it helps me get to know my own priorities and re-evaluate my values! Overall, it just feels like a chance to accelerate my personal growth!
Why I Chose Scandinavia
One of the main reasons why I specifically chose Scandinavia was the fact that the Scandinavian countries are consistently ranked as the happiest countries in the world. I wanted to get to know how the people live, what values they prioritize in their lives and what it is that makes them so happy! I chose to go with DIS because they offer courses that sounded incredibly interesting to me and they allow me to live in both Denmark and Sweden and even go to other countries for week-long Study Tours!
My first impressions of Copenhagen were somewhat different than what I expected, especially in terms of how busy the city is. I imagined the streets to be empty and only a few scattered people walking about. To my surprise, the city is full of life with so many people going about their business on bikes, cars, and the very efficient public transportation.
Even though Copenhagen is not as diverse as the US, I was surprised to see a decent amount of diversity here. There’s also a lot of different restaurants with cuisines from around the world!
Some Impressions So Far
A few main things I have noticed so far that felt different were how people tend to dress very smart in Denmark, how they make less small talk with strangers, and the huge number of bikes! People also tend to converse in Danish with each other but most of them seem proficient in English too.
I have absolutely loved meeting so many cool people and getting to know other DIS students. I love to go for walks and runs around the city and take in all of the beauty! Even though biking in a new city seemed very intimidating at first, I have since become more comfortable with it and even enjoyed it! Every new turn seems to introduce me to a whole new world with its own unique architecture. A few of my favorite places till now have been Amager Strand Park (Great spot for running), the Copenhagen Main Library, and the Peaceful Danish Harbors.
It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention that studying abroad does come with its challenges whether its struggling to understand people, not knowing the traffic rules, homesickness, or even just feeling lost and confused in a new country. However, as you overcome these challenges, you feel so proud of yourself! So, even though I am a bit apprehensive about what new challenges I might face, I am excited about the payoff.
Lastly, I think its extremely important that you make a conscious effort to engage with the locals and participate in the community if you really want to reap all the benefits of studying abroad!
Anyways, here are some pictures of Copenhagen!
The three above were taken by me when we went for a Canal tour!
Amager Strandpark (above) is a seaside public park with great running routes and breathtaking views!
The two above were taken after 10 pm, the sun sets here after 9 pm during the summer months!
Tusind tak (Thank you so much)!