Although I have been asked variations of this question countless times, I still don't have a good answer to give. Copenhagen was great. An amazing experience. So fun. Loved it.
Each of those responses are 100% true, but they don't do justice to the incredible summer I had as a student in the 2014 International Summer University Program at the Copenhagen Business School. There's so much to be said about living and studying in Denmark for six weeks that I struggle to find a simple answer to give.
Copenhagen in my eyes is a bit of a hidden gem in Europe. Of course, being the capital of Denmark and Scandinavia with over a million residents, Copenhagen is not actually hidden. However, when people think of popular places to go to in Europe, rarely would I expect to hear Denmark on the list. (Even still, when I talk about my summer, some people ask where Copenhagen is.. and, no, it's not Dutch..)
Now, having toured various cities in Denmark and having lived in Copenhagen, I have realized just how much there is to do there. Even in my final days abroad, the list of potential things to do and places to eat just kept growing. There are SO MANY attractions to see in Copenhagen and activities to partake in. As an ISUP Social Package participant, a few events were added to my schedule each week (which I loved and highly recommend), but beyond that, going out into the city and even just walking around made it impossible to be bored with Danish life.
Copenhagen is marketed as being a most-livable city, truly part of what makes it special. Being a student in Tietgenkollegiet, (arguably) the world's best student residence, I lived a bit outside of the city center area. Despite the distance, places to visit, hang out, eat, or shop were all a few steps or a few minutes away. In the view of a Copenhagener, everything is just a bike ride away. One is simply not cool without a bike in Copenhagen. If I was going to be there any longer, a bike would be my first investment; however, as a six-week summer student, I found the metro system to be all that I needed. The metro was safe, pretty clean, and mostly reliable (construction knocked out a few stops for a bit, but I was there during the summer season). I've been on a few metros in my lifetime now, and Copenhagen's was the easiest to navigate. Between walking, taking the metro, and paying for the occasional train ticket, I was able to go everywhere I wanted.
Reflecting back, I feel very satisfied with how my study abroad program went, and I'm not just saying this because my grades were released today...
Looking back at my goals before departing for Copenhagen, here's my thoughts now that I am back to my home country:
PASS MY CLASSES-- ...check! As of today, my exam grades are posted, and they both were scored a 10! A 10 might not be perfect on the 12-point Danish grading scale, but it's a perfect grade in my eyes. Both Fundamentals of Finance and Intro to Marketing are completed, passed, and transferring to CMU! This summer was officially successful academically as well as personally.
|Just in case you didn't believe me--scores were released today and I made it!|
Make unforgettable memories and friends from around the world-- Here's where I'd like to thank all of the people I met abroad for such an amazing summer. Many of you are Americans, too (several just a ferry ride away across Lake Michigan), but many are not, coming from numerous other countries. Some of you I met just briefly, whereas some of you I hung out with all the time, but each and every one of you contributed to the memories of ISUP that I will have forever, and for that, I'm grateful. I wish I had more time to get to know many of you better, but know that you're always welcome in Michigan. Keep in touch, and otherwise, best of luck in the future!
Experience Copenhagen. Ride a bike, sample an open-faced sandwich, ride an attraction at Tivoli Gardens. Learn some Danish.-- Returning home, I feel satisfied with my time in Denmark and happy to have done all of these things. I spent a day riding the Tivoli attractions, tried a piece of a traditional sandwich at the international dinner, and rode a bike my final day in Copenhagen. Beyond that, I did so many more things that it'd be a challenge to list them all! Did I come home proficient in Danish? No, but I know a few words and know more about their culture, and that's what matters.
Exercise- did I ever go for a run (besides running to/on the metro..)? No. Being abroad, though, I did a lot of walking. My sore feet were evidence enough to me that I was moving around and not being lazy.
Go to Sweden-- yes, I took the train for a day trip with some friends, and it was a pleasant experience!
Live in the moment and have a great time. Who knows when or if I'll ever be in Denmark again.-- My six weeks in Europe was unlike any other experience I have ever had, and I am happy to say I enjoyed myself! Copenhagen will forever have a piece of my heart, and I will remember my time there for the rest of my life.
With that, all of the goals I had prior to my study abroad program were achieved and more. Residing in and exploring Denmark for six weeks provided an unforgettable, irreplaceable opportunity to learn more about a new culture, myself, and life itself. It's clear how blissful I was while spending time in the happiest nation, and my smile in pictures proves it.
Now, as people remind me, it's "back to reality," as I'm back to CMU. Since my plane landed in the States, life hasn't slowed down, thanks to work and moving up to Mount Pleasant. Thankfully, I've been too busy to allow myself to feel too much reverse culture shock, though there are definitely differences- some that I miss and others I do not. Jet lag only stuck around for a few days, so my body is back to normal eating and sleeping times.
Thus, this summer's adventure is ending, but surely, more is in store for me. Before I even left Copenhagen, I didn't want to go, and I have started thinking about my next journey. As the CMU Office of Study Abroad urges students, in the words of Mark Twain, "Explore. Dream. Discover." That's exactly what I've been doing and will continue doing. Thank you to everyone supporting me along the way.