DIS - just do it! Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - 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?
- Appreciation for how different we all are, and why, but how we are still so similar and can connect despite our differences (: - Aspects of the Danish lifestyle/mentality that make it so different from the US

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Rigor definitely depends on the classes you decide to take and how much effort you put into them, though on a comparable level, Danish professors are more lenient than American professors and do not expect as much. Architecture and Design program definitely requires a lot more time than some other programs, especially because of studio.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Always available to help, information clear and accessible

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Good variation for choices, really cater to what you want out of your experience abroad. Personally, to speak for host families, I feel DIS really does their best to find good families and to match up students with their hosts. Commute varied depending on your family, but DIS provides transport passes so money is never an issue for traveling to and from school. I loved the fact that DIS provided housing for you - compared to other programs, we definitely had all the logistics laid out for us and that made transitioning to a new country a whole lot easier.

* Food:

Speaking for host families: DIS gives a stipend to the families and they are supposed to provide meals and supplies for you to make your own - food/cuisine depended on your individual family, and luckily I had a great host mom who loved to be in the kitchen :) I loved coming home to find different things on the table everyday! For students without host families, DIS provides a stipend, and depending on your own budgeting skills, this may/may not last you for the timebeing, though I knew plenty of people who lived fine off of it (despite Denmark's high prices).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

DIS is very organized and plans out numerous ways for their students to get in touch with the Danish culture and people, through a variety of forums and interests. We had options to mingle with Danish students our age, or to have a visiting family if we didn't live with hosts. DIS really does give you the option to really make your experience an immersive and rewarding one if you choose to.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

As a resident of Denmark (for the few months we were there), health insurance is provided - every student gets assigned their own doctor like the Danes, and visiting your doctor is (mostly) free, I believe. I never had any health issues so can't really speak on how good the provisions were, but they were definitely there if you need it.

* Safety:

Denmark is amazingly safe due to the culture people were brought up with - I never felt unsafe in my time there, whether I was alone or with others, at all hours of the day/night. I really appreciated the ability not to think twice about my safety at all times, it definitely was a luxury.

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)

This definitely depends on the type of person you are, how much you decide to go out/splurge, and what kind of living situation you had. Since I lived with a family, that largely took care of my food budget. There is a budget brand store for basic daily necessities that was similar to a Dollar Store here in the US (though in DK it is more like a $2 store, haha) and students were able to find things they needed throughout their stay.

* 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? $40ish
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? - living with host family makes a difference - if you want to try things (especially food!), invite lots of friends and split dishes!


* 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

We were given the option to take a Danish Language & Culture course, which more than half of the students in the program chose to do. Personally, it was definitely a lot of fun learning Danish since it is so different from Romance languages, though because of that, Danish itself is pretty difficult (even Danes say so!) We definitely were able to make out what a lot of public signs/ads were saying by the end of the semester and could carry on basic conversation in Danish.

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? Practicing ordering food in Danish! It's hilarious & embarrassing all at once but the Danes will appreciate it (:

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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?
  • Programs & immersive opportunities
  • Study tours
  • Detailed prep/planning provided by DIS
* What could be improved?
  • More integration with local schools/students
  • Lack of diversity in DIS student population
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? - How small the Information Design program is, and how there isn't as much focus on it compared to Architecture. - Don't freak out about bringing everything: you can easily get essentials once you arrive in the country.