Completely Different Person after A Semester in Denmark Past Review

By (Communications and Media, Fordham University) for

DIS Copenhagen: Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I definitely think it was worthwhile because I got to see so much of Europe and Scandinavia and I was pushed really far outside of my comfort zone, in terms of interacting with people very different from my friends at home. I also became a lot more independent and learned how to handle stressful situations in much better ways. My time abroad has made me want to live and work abroad as soon as I can after college.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was challenging for a study abroad program, but much more manageable than my classes at school. The grading system was frustrating because a lot of the times we would get grades without any feedback. The main difference in the educational system is the emphasis on group work and class participation in Denmark. However, it was also nice because a lot of the teaching for some classes was done outside of the classroom on field studies and that was very helpful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program offers a great selection of classes and the buildings are right in the middle of the city - it was a great location. They were generally very helpful with questions and handled concerns in a timely manner. Danish students working for them was also helpful as they were knowledgeable about certain things. The program was really large - 900 students - and I didn't really like that. Denmark is kind of a hard place to "make local friends" while studying abroad and even though DIS tried to help with that, through buddy networks and host families, I feel like it didn't really work as well as it could have.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I first lived in Helsingor - a bus and then a train ride away, which made for a commute of over an hour. At night there was pretty much no transportation after midnight. Here we had dinner cooked for us which was nice, but if you missed dinner at 6 (which I did because of my evening classes...) there was nowhere near-by open to get food or make food. I was allowed to move after a month (even though some kids changed housing after a week). The staff was very helpful when I was allowed to move and gave me a few options. I moved to a kollegium with Danes and American students and was really happy with the accomodations there. I didn't really need to buy anything for the room and it was much easier to get to class and nightlife (about a half hour to school in the day by bus and there was a nightbus which ran every hour after midnight and more often on the weekends). I got used to the commute and didn't mind it.

* Food:

The food card which they gave us for the grocery stores was really helpful (but you only get this if you live in a kollegium or DIS housing). Cooking for myself was much cheaper then going out to eat, but depending on what grocery store you are near there may not be as much variety as you are used to in American stores.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program organized a lot of events and activities throughout the semester and there were always options - they held a Christmas lunch, farewell ceremony, outings to the ballet, etc.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Copenhagen is an extremely safe city and I never felt in danger. The country has universal healthcare so all doctor visits were free for us, although getting an appointment is a little tricky but the DIS staff could help you out.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? After about two months, I only began to spend my own money on going out at night, since I had the card DIS gave us with money on it for the grocery store. However, nightlife in Copenhagen is very expensive so plan for that.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Set aside a good amount of money for traveling. Also, basic things (like shampoo, toothpaste, etc) are very expensive so try to bring those yourself.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
Language acquisition improvement?

Although almost everyone in Denmark spoke perfect English, I recommend taking the language and culture class to improve your Danish and really learn about their culture.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Local Students
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Time alloted for traveling
  • Variety of housing
  • Location of the school in relation to everything else in the city
* What could be improved?
  • Reduce the number of students
  • Cost
  • Integrate Danish students into the school somehow
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think students who want to be with other Americans in a different country would benefit the most. If you want to completely step outside of your comfort zone and face culture shock both from being abroad and from the kinds of people on the program, then DIS is great. Also, take the opportunity to travel - this was my favorite part about DIS. Also, even though you may feel awkward and out of place in Copenhagen sometimes, push yourself and you will be able to meet locals. Copenhagen is a city where you have to put in a lot of effort to make Danish friends, but once you do, it is worth it because they are really warm and friendly people after you get to know them, which is the hard part.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

appliedpsych_1104711: FA11 Applied Psychology (Mon only)

Course Department: appliedpsych_1104711: FA11 Applied Psychology (Mon only)
Instructor: Carla Caetano
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was a really interesting class, especially because Carla had so much knowledge and real life experience being a therapist. It was taught in a very interactive way - each class involved role play with one student being the therapist and the other the client. The only bad thing was the class was three hours long and ran pretty late.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

artmatters_1104215: FA11 Art Matters

Course Department: artmatters_1104215: FA11 Art Matters
Instructor: Andrea Homann
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Almost every week we went to a different part of the city or Denmark to look at street art, new art galleries, or museums. It was very interesting and not that difficult since the only graded assignments were four reflections.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Danish Language I Section 117

Course Department: danish117_1104117: FA11 Danish Language I Section 117
Instructor: Christina Knudsen
Instruction Language: English/Danish
Comments: This was my favorite class. There was a good balance between learning the language and then learning about the culture and the class moved at a great pace. The professor was really interested in making sure everyone did well and the field studies she took us on were very helpful in learning about the culture.
Credit Transfer Issues: no
Course Name/Rating:

Current Trends in Media

Course Department: Communications - newsmediaA_1104752: FA11 Current Trends in Media A
Instructor: Niels Larsen
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was very frustrating because we never received concrete directions or expectations for any of our assignments. We never knew how we were going to be graded or what we had to include in the assignment and when we asked the professor for more directions, he just made things more unclear. He also had about 3 other jobs so it was very unorganized at times and our program's intern knew more about what we were doing than the professor at times. Some of the material covered was great in teaching us about the Danish media and their different system, but other parts of it seemed irrelevant to our field.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems yet.
Course Name/Rating:

scandcinema_1104200: FA11 Scandinavian Moods in Cinema

Course Department: scandcinema_1104200: FA11 Scandinavian Moods in Cinema
Instructor: Morten Egholm
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The class required a large time commitment since we had to watch about two films every week on our own, but this got easier as the class progressed as the films were very interesting and really different from American films. We discussed every film in class afterwards. The workload wasn't that challenging either and the professor made sure we were well prepared for the midterm and final.
Credit Transfer Issues: No