Take me back to Copenhagen right now! Past Review

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 01/22/2012 to 05/20/2012 with

DIS Copenhagen: Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Every moment was worth it. It is incredible to think of my time living in Copenhagen, experiencing the culture, meeting new people, and adapting to the European way of life. I gained travel experience, confidence, appreciation for the simple things, new friendships, a brighter outlook on the future and over all I think I really grew to be a stronger person. I learned to survive all on my own in a foreign country where I knew no one when I first arrived, and I loved every second of it. Studying abroad really changes you for the better and I think every student would benefit from going.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

So many classes to choose from. DIS really did a great job making sure that all types of classes were available from Architecture to Espionage During the Cold War in order to make sure that all students could get the credits they need at their home universities. Classes were interesting, teachers were fun, personable, and always attentive to the students needs.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Not a single complaint. The transition to studying abroad was so easy because DIS takes care of everything. Filling out paperwork for visas went so smoothly and I didn't feel like there was ever a time when I was uninformed or unprepared during my program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living in a kollegium was the perfect blend between American dorms and apartments. There was a great social atmosphere, with plenty of opportunities to meet Danes and other American students at the gym, cafe, bar, or open gathering area where they would show films and host parties. Lots of students had their own room and shared a communal kitchen with the entire floor, which is nice and gave them the chance to make friends with a lot of their neighbors. The other option, which I had, was to share a room with another DIS student and have your own kitchen for just two people. This was nice because we could host dinner parties and didn't have to worry about cleaning up other people's mess but it lacked the social interaction the other floors had.

* Food:

Pastries! Everything is delicious, from the hot chocolate and mini cakes in the cafes to the sandwiches and smoothies in the restaurants. The only downside is the price, everything is so expensive in Copenhagen so you can't eat out everyday. The good thing is that a ton of cafes offer student discounts and the food is always so good you don't mind spending a little extra money from time to time. There are also cheaper options like shwarma, fallafel, and hot dogs lining the streets.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

A lot of people assume that the Danes are hard to get to know simply because they do not go out of their way to talk to strangers or make small talk in public. This is not true! They are some of the friendliest, sweetest people I have ever met and are so helpful like if you get lost and ask for directions. There are so many great ways to get involved in the culture, whether through going out to the cafes, bars, handball games, or just walking through the city center. DIS also offers a lot of great ways to get involved. I signed up for the Danish Buddy Program, a great opportunity to hang out with Danes our age having dinner together or going to the movies together and the Visiting Family Program, where I had a Danish family I would go to dinner with or explore the city with as many times as I could. By the end of the semester I considered myself a Dane!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

As a semester student, we were given visas which allowed us access to Danish health insurance. I personally never had a problem but I knew students who set up doctors appointments and were given prescriptions. It's a fairly easy process and DIS is always there to help set up doctor appointments if we cannot figure out how to do it.

* Safety:

I have never felt more safe than when I was in Copenhagen. The society is very trusting and there is a low crime rate. Of course it is always wise to be aware of your surroundings and not walk alone at night, but there were times when I had to walk home by myself at night and I never felt scared that anything was going to happen to me. I felt extremely safe all the time. The only thing I would suggest is making sure to watch your backpack and other belongings at student cafes, it's been known that other students like to snag laptops and things if they are left on a table.

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)

Copenhagen is so expensive, from the food to the clothes and even school supplies. But it's doable. I never felt like I was out of money or that I wouldn't be able to afford a night out with friends. I budgeted my money well, not over buying groceries, cooking most of my meals and bringing lunch to school, and occasionally going shopping. Most of my money was spent on airfare and other transportation needs. We were also given about $600 for the entire semester to be used at the grocery stores. Mine lasted the whole semester, with some extra money leftover the last week but I know friends who ran out within 2 months of getting their cards. It all depends on how you budget.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 20-70
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Prioritize. Realize what is most important to you and what you want out of your study abroad experience and plan accordingly. I really wanted to travel and see other countries so I saved the majority of my money for airfare. Many students really wanted to try all the different cuisines so most of their money was spent on restaurants and other students just wanted to have a good time so they saved their money for the bars. It all depends on what is most important to you and what you feel is worth spending your money on.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

DIS offers an optional beginners and intermediate Danish Language and Culture Class. I signed up for the beginners class and really enjoyed it. The language is really difficult, especially to pronounce, but learned helpful phrases and key words so that we could order food and carry on a basic conversation, or at least read the menus and such. There isn't an extreme need to learn the language because everyone speaks English but DIS really encourages you to try.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Take a language class and make sure to actually do the work. You can get by without studying or doing the readings, but you definitely won't learn the language that way. Practice with your friends, host family, visiting family, Danish friends, whoever. You probably won't be perfect and the Danes will laugh at you because they are not used to hearing foreigners speak their language, but you will get better with practice. And don't be afraid of sounding funny.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • the city of Copenhagen in general
  • the opportunity to travel to other countries and experience new cultures
  • the students I bonded with at DIS
* What could be improved?
  • the heater in my room
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How hard it would be to leave. I wish I would have known that I would adapt to my Copenhagen lifestyle so easily and become so comfortable in my study abroad experience that it would seem unreal to have to return home.