July 31, 2019
To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,— Hans Christian Andersen.
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.
Farvel! Tak! Neither of these words mean hello. I just like the sound of them. Farvel is a sweet sendoff and tak is the curt-sounding “thanks”. Tak, Duolingo! I’m going to learn more about the Danish language and culture in my Fall semester abroad in Copenhagen with the program DIS. If you’re reading this blog, you are a. thinking of traveling to Denmark, b. Want to live vicariously through me, c. considering studying abroad at DIS, or d. my family and friends.
I chose DIS Copenhagen because travel is built into the courses. Not only are we learning about these fascinating subjects taught by professors who are professionals in their field, but we are also traveling to the places we learn about. For example, in my core course, A Sense of Place in European Literature, we are going to read Danish literature and travel to Fanø, Denmark and then read Russian literature and travel to Berlin, Germany(we were going to go to St. Petersburg, Russia but there were visa complications). There are many study abroad options for English majors because we can read and write anywhere. 🙂 I chose Copenhagen because it seems like a very artsy-fartsy city–perfect for a future writer–and I’ve never been to Scandinavia. I’ll get a chance to live in a European city before leaving college and worrying about debt!
Down to the nitty gritty–sort of. I actually think the planning and specifics of a trip is the fun stuff. For Fall of 2020, after about 5 different adjustments to my schedule, I’m taking Danish Language and Culture Level 1, Postcolonial* Europe: Narratives, Nationalism, and Race, Gender and Sexuality in Scandinavia, Nonfiction Writing Workshop, and my core course: A Sense of Place in European Literature. Through my courses, I will learn about history, culture, art, language, and politics while having a creative outlet in the writing workshop.
*I think most of the class will be about why Europe is not postcolonial.
Housing: At first, I wanted to do a homestay which means living in a Danish family’s home. But on further reflection, I made a 180 degree turn. A lot of people LOVE homestay, but I want to live in a community of Danish students or DIS Students. In order to meet a Danish family and hang out with them, I signed up to see a visiting host family once a month. For our housing applications, we chose our top 3 housing options. I chose Folkehøjskole, Living and Learning Communities (Green and Social Justice houses), and Kollegium. I’m not going to tell you what my favorite one is, because I might not get it. My next post will have more specifics on housing.
Some research beforehand
I don’t jump into anything without doing research first. Denmark is not the perfect country people make it out to be. Here are some articles and videos that gave me some insight into Denmark:
Meik Wiking’s “The Dark Side of Happiness”
In addition to shedding light on the happiness/suicide paradox in the “happiest country in the world,” Denmark, this video also made me confront my addiction to social media.
This article is about how Copenhagen is coping with climate change:
Also, the TV show Bron/Broen (2011), which is already gripping
The Copenhagen episode of Somebody Feed Phil
The Copenhagen episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Part’s Unknown in Season 2
My former English teacher’s blog, Scallion Pancake: https://scallionpancake.com/blog
Here are some random things I’ve learned:
- Don’t be an obnoxious American and eat the Smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) with your hands. Eat them with silverware.
- Small talk is not really a thing among Danes (fine with me!)
- Hygge means being comfortable. Hang out with family or friends by a fireplace in your most grandma-like sweaters
- I won’t get into Noma
- Go to open air markets, e.g. Torvehallerne
- Eat licorice even though you aren’t a licorice fan. When in Copenhagen?…
- Apparently, Danes do American food like hot dogs and burgers very well.
- Once again, I won’t get into Noma. I wouldn’t be able to afford it anyways.
You can see what I’ve been up to this summer! Get ready to hear about food, travel around Europe, classes, the arts, social life, etc.
See y’all soon,