Europe Study Abroad

“How was study abroad?!”

Coming back to school has been a bit of a whirlwind.  After my semester abroad, where the only “extracurricular” I did was travel on weekends, it’s been a huge adjustment to go back to work, mock trial, student government, and all my other responsibilities.  It’s been lovely to see my friends in the United States again, although the following conversation has been played out so many times:

Friend: “Hi!  How was study abroad?!”

Me: “It was awesome!  I did a lot of traveling.”

Friend: “That’s so great!  Your photos looked really cool.”

Friend: *moves on to another topic*

It feels so weird to relegate my study abroad experience to small talk, because it’s probably the most life changing experience I’ve ever had.  And so here I am, readjusting to my normal schedule and trying to fit myself back into social life with my friends, but I don’t know if there’s any good way to sum up how much I’ve learned and felt and done with those few months.

I miss European bakeries, and passing historic buildings every day on the way to class, and my commute.  I miss my lifestyle of traveling on the weekends to cool and exotic places, and wandering through the streets of Copenhagen during my free time.  Most of all, I miss the friends I made in Europe.  I wish they could go to school with me in the States too.

At the same time, it’s nice to have a job again with real income.  I love the apartment I have here in Evanston, now that I finally get to live in it.  I missed my friends here, and even though all my friendships don’t feel quite the same, I’ve been enjoying the chance to reconnect and to talk to them without a 7 hour time difference.

Readjusting to life here has been strange, but good.  I’m already plotting ways I can go back to Europe, with a family trip to Spain over the summer and hopefully a research project abroad as well but I have to apply for that.

If you’re still following this blog, I’ll keep you posted on the progress of my future trips to Europe.   Vi ses!

Denmark Europe Study Abroad

Copenhagen: Christmas in Christiania and Tivoli

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And with that I’m done with all of my finals.  This was my last week of classes with DIS, and my last full week in Denmark.  It’s hard to believe, but this time next week I’m going to be back in Colorado.  It’s been a whirlwind week, with essay writing, classes, and trying to spend every spare moment with the wonderful people I’ve met in Copenhagen.  After the past four months, it’s sad that I may never see some of my friends here again.  I’ve had amazing adventures with them, and they’ve helped to make my study abroad experience wonderful.

Friday, Paige and I celebrated the end of classes by going to Christmas season at Tivoli!  It was a little cold and rainy, but we still had fun.  Christmas is my favorite holiday, and Tivoli decorates with fake snow and trees and lights everywhere.  They also have an adorable Nordic themed market where I found some decorations to bring home so that I can bring a little bit of Copenhagen back with me.

Christmas continued when Emmy and I went to the Christiania market today.  It’s in a giant room where all of these stalls are set up and people are selling handmade scarves and artwork and jewelry and other fun things.  I also ended up having a conversation with a Danish man, who was telling me how Christiania has its own Christmas celebration for people who are hard on their luck.  He said it’s a really cool experience.

Tomorrow, I’m leaving for Berlin.  It’ll be my last trip during this amazing semester, although unfortunately it isn’t going to be exactly as planned.  For now, though, I’m going to make the most of the short amount of time I have left!

Vi ses!

Denmark Europe Study Abroad

Copenhagen: Starting Classes and Climbing Churches

I’ve finished my first two days of classes!  They seem like they’re going to be amazing.  Quick recap of what I’m taking:

Core course- A Sense of Place in European Literature- AKA the class that goes to Russia.  And also a small Danish island called Fanø (pronounced fan-new, if you’re saying it out loud).  This one we started discussing our reading in the first class.  We’ll be reading a lot of contemporary Russian and Danish literature, meeting with authors, and writing about places.  On Monday, we’re actually walking around Copenhagen and doing our first writing exercise, which should be pretty cool!

Danish Language and Culture-  Our professor went through Danish pronunciation, which is literally nothing like how it’s spelled.  The field trips in that class are going to include a tour of Christiania and a ballet, so I’m pretty excited about those.  The language will be tough but I think it’ll be good.  It will be nice to not feel completely baffled every time someone speaks to me in Danish (which is at least 3x per day).

Hans Christian Andersen- The vast majority of our homework for this class is reading fairy tales.  We’re going to talk about Copenhagen during the 1800s, and analyze his fairy tales and other works.  It seems like it will be a bit reading heavy, but I’m definitely still looking forward to it!

Scandinavian Crime Fiction- We’re reading four crime novels, from Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden.  Yesterday’s class was just a recap of the genre, which I am an avid fan of, so it looks like it’s going to be right up my alley.  Our first book we’re reading is Jo Nesbø’s “The Snowman” (update: turns out I’ve been pronouncing his name completely wrong.  oops.)

Criminology- This was the only class I had today.  I cannot even begin to describe how excited I am for this class.  My professor grew up on the grounds of a Danish open prison, and we’re visiting one during the semester and getting a guided tour!  Even though I thinkmy personal views on criminology are pretty different from Scandinavia’s, I’m really excited to hear about their perspective on everything.

Last night I also went on my first “field study” (the DIS version of field trips), which was a dinner with my Danish class.  Although I didn’t eat the chicken, it was cool to see what a nicer restaurant looks like here.  I also got to the harbor extra early and got to wander around for while while the sun was setting.  It was gorgeous, and I even managed to give someone directions!  (am I a local yet?)

Today after class I decided to go cross something else off my list, and so I went to the Vor Frelsers Kirke (Church of Our Saviour) and climbed the stairs all the way to the top of the tower.  I highly recommend that, the views were incredible!  I could see pretty much all of Copenhagen.  All the pictures of the cityscape in this post are from the top.  I even got to use my French skills because I was behind a couple that spoke French the whole way up and I asked them to take a photo of me.  Now that I’m no longer concerned about getting lost, I absolutely love exploring the city on my own, and I can’t wait to explore more places over the coming weeks!