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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A solo adventure through Iceland and across ice

Ruby Tucker
Staff Writer

The wind slapped my face as my shivering body stood surrounded by a glacier. I was no longer watching a movie in

Ruby Tucker in the mountains of Iceland staying cool (Photo: Ruby Tucker)

Ruby Tucker in the mountains of Iceland staying cool (Photo: Ruby Tucker)

some artic setting; I was in one. Between snorkeling in the Pingvellir lake, hiking in an icy cave, watching natural geysers erupt in front of my very eyes, seeing the Golden Circle, swimming in the Blue Lagoon, and admiring all of the sunrises and sunsets, I spent a week of my life alone, in Iceland.
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Expecting the unexpected while studying abroad in Berlin

Ruby Tucker
Contributor

I never expected to find myself riding a camel in the middle of a Saharan sunset,

Ruby Tucker at the East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany (Photo: Ruby Tucker)

Ruby Tucker at the East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany (Photo: Ruby Tucker)

spending a night camping in the Moroccan desert, meeting a guy traveling the world only on his bicycle, or sleeping on the cold London airport floor during a ten hour layover when I signed up to study abroad in Berlin. However, that is what the study abroad experience is. Expect the unexpected.
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ISP: Reflections on learning how to ask the right questions

Andrea Sosa – Sophomore
Contributor

I used to think of myself as an international scholar because I enjoyed reading the international section of the newspaper. I am, after all, an international student from Mexico, studying international relations. Doesn’t that status automatically make me an international scholar? Through ISP, the International Scholars Program at Goucher, I came to realize that the answer was “no” and that my notion was both shallow and insubstantial. After taking ISP, I realized that I am still a far ways from becoming an international scholar, but I have however received the tools and the vision to pursue further studies that may eventually grant me that title.
Being an international scholar does not mean that you know everything that there is to know about the world, or that you can name all of the capitals to all of the countries, or even that you know all of their cultures and speak all of their languages. It means looking at the world in non-traditional ways and asking different questions. Yes, you must be knowledgeable of the world, but it takes so much more than that. It takes discovering different relationships both in history and in the present, understanding why certain social, historical, and political structures are in place, creating a lens for yourself through which you can understand and critique the status quo, and ultimately, it takes wanting to explore.
I have taken these tools and applied them both in my studies as an International Relations major and in my decision-making of where in the world I want to study abroad. In my International Relations classes, these tools have allowed me to dig deeper and ask more questions. I now view the world through my own paradigm that has allowed me to explore new patterns, relationships, and structures. I look forward to further exploring through study abroad and finding the answers as I travel and learn.
Receiving an international education has allowed me to develop a sense of curiosity. I have become more curious of my academics, of the world around me, and of the history underlying everything we do. This is one of the most crucial advantages of an international education as it allows and motivates you to search for the answers to your questions. It motivates you to travel with a purpose and ultimately to question what exists around you. Curiosity, I think, is one of the most essential qualities in taking steps towards becoming an international scholar. While I do not think that I am at the point of calling myself an international scholar, I do think that I have been provided with the necessary tools to one day achieve that, and I think that is the purpose of ISP. Being in this program is eye opening and has in many ways shaped my undergraduate career thus far. I am ready to travel the world and come to my own conclusions because I now know what to look for and what questions to ask. While I may not be an international scholar yet, I am definitely on my way.

Read a senior’s perspective below

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