Discovering the meaning of the study abroad experience

Zoe Malkin
Staff Writer.

How to begin an article encapsulating my time thus far in Denmark: Did I want to give little factoids about Copenhagen and its people? For example, how Danes leave their children in strollers outside of grocery stores and cafés because the city is so safe. There has never been a kidnapping in Denmark! Or, that all public libraries are closed on Sundays, a college student’s prime day for work. But I thought that I wanted to share much more than that. And so here is my attempt to encapsulate this experience.
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First impressions: Adjusting to the ‘nutty’ Danes

Eli Kaufman
Contributor

Nutty Danishes!  Sounds yummy right?  Well, now that I have grabbed your attention, I’m not talking about the delicious pastry that can be found in all of Copenhagen (and I mean ALL OVER Copenhagen).  I am talking about Danish people.

Kaufman ‘15 and Malkin ‘15 abroad in Copenhagen (Photo courtesy of Zoe Malkin)

Kaufman ‘15 and Malkin ‘15 abroad in Copenhagen (Photo courtesy of Zoe Malkin)

During orientation we were told about nutty danishes.  The Danish people, as I have come to realize in my short time here, are a bit nutty. I don’t mean that in a negative sense at all. When you eat a nut, you must first crack the shell and after you get past the hard, crunchy exterior, you get to the good part of the food, the part that is tasty and the part that satisfies your hunger needs.  You can’t do much with the shell, and you come to terms that you must do the necessary work to get to the good part in the center.
When you walk down a street in Copenhagen, you will notice people walking and keeping to themselves.  They do not make an effort to smile or look at you.  The busses that I take for a 20-minute commute to class are completely silent, except for the Americans talking amongst themselves.
First impressions are not everything.  We have always heard this expression, but we often overlook it and find ourselves making snap judgments about the people we encounter.  If I had made snap judgments about Danish people in my first week in Copenhagen, I would have believed that everyone was quiet, anti-social, and depressed (lack of sunlight, grey skies and wearing black could do that to you).
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DIS Program Encourages External Learning Through Travel

Allison Susser
Contributor

One of my first conversations with my host family was about breakfast. “What do you usually eat?” I asked my host parents; “I want to do everything the Danish way.” My host mom, who is actually originally from Kansas, poured some oatmeal (uncooked) in a bowl, added a little milk, some brown sugar, and that was that.

Allison Susser ‘14 on a trip to Russia (right). (Photos courtesy of Allison Susser.]

Allison Susser ‘14 on a trip to Russia (right). (Photos courtesy of Allison Susser.]

I arrived in Denmark on August 19th and it is hard to believe it has been over three months since I first got here. Before coming I could not settle on a living option, and it seemed like my mind changed every day. Should I live in a dorm with other Americans? Or maybe in a Folkehøjskole (before I even really know what it is)? Should I live in an international kollegium or maybe a Danish one? What about living with a Danish roommate or a host family? After going through the many different options the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) had to offer, I decided on a homestay and, looking back now, I am glad I did. This was definitely one of the best decisions I made here, since the Andersen family has really made a difference in my experience abroad.

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