Past Review


DIS Copenhagen: Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have no regrets from my semester at all; it was one of the most fun and incredible five months of my life. I visited over 10 countries and met people who hopefully I will keep in contact with for a very long time. My perspective on my academic interests and personal goals also changed. I have already traveled widely before this semester and lived abroad, so I wouldn't say that I was shocked into some different state of cultural awareness, but it was definitely a learning experience.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+
The term and year this program took place: Spring 2010

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The courses, compared to an accredited American university, were a joke. However, the study tours that came along with the courses were excellent - definitely the highlight of my semester. They were well planned, interesting, and fun; most of the learning I did was outside the classroom. The grading system and teaching methods were very inconsistent; it's hit or miss when it comes to professors and your grades. Once in a while you'd have a truly awesome professor who was entertaining and knew the balance between work and fun, and other times you'd have awful instructors from whom you'd learn nothing.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Program Administration itself, not necessarily the faculty, had really strong points and weak points. They were great at logistical matters, planning study tours and field studies, etc., and were very prompt and responsive when I had difficulties with my housing situation. They also were great in communicating back to the US when I was, for example, in Russia when the Moscow metro bombings occurred. They were also helpful whenever I needed assistance figuring out everyday Danish ways of life - like how to pay my post office customs tax or call my doctor. On the other end of the spectrum, their flexible approach sometimes is a pitfall. They don't offer very good counseling resources, which was scary because I knew a lot of people with mental and emotional issues that should not have been there in the first place, and were not consistent at checking up on them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a folkehojskole, which is an informal adult education institution. <br /><br /> I loved living in a folkehojskole; it was a totally different experience from kollegiums, which were just like what they are described as - dorms, and from host families. I got to know people from all over the world, and the community was closer knit than that of a kollegium. I also felt it afforded me more independence than a host family; I didn't want to have the obligation of coming back for dinner, for example, or asking if someone could stay over. The facilities were very nice, with sheets and cleaning supplies provided. On the other hand, it wasn't the most immersive Danish experience, if that's what you're looking for, and the commute was up to an hour and a half one-way on some days. However, the town I stayed in was beautiful, and I was actually more adventurous in Copenhagen because everytime I went in, I felt like I NEEDED to explore - I didn't want to travel 1.5 hours for nothing!

* Food:

The food was good at my folkehojskole, but it was sometimes problematic getting back in time for dinner (dinner was served ar 6 pm, I would often be in class or in the city late). They put out breakfast early for DIS students, and although sometimes I would try to pack a lunch, I ended up buying lunch a lot because it was such a hassle to store food in the student refrigerator. You quickly learn where the cheapest places to eat are in Copenhagen (and cheap is relative) - get ready to eat a lot of shawarma and falafel pita sandwiches. Also if you're vegetarian, watch out. It was difficult getting a balanced meal out of the vegetarian options that the folkehojskole offered; for example, they had some issues providing protein in the meals. And if you're vegan, forget it! If you have any special dietary restrictions beyond vegetarianism, I suggest you live in a kollegium where you can cook your own meals.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The field studies were great, and the program made sure you hit the most touristy spots but got off the beaten track as well. The program-provided cultural events were not that fantastic, but maybe that's because I felt they were heavily contrived. Anyway, you can't go wrong with studying in any city in Europe, because it's so easy to travel to other cities on weekends; I had some of my best cultural experiences traveling solo for the first time, and it was an incredible personal growth experience as well. Though the program doesn't necessarily facilitate those moments - because I had some of my best outside of any study tour, classroom, and even Denmark - it affords you the opportunity to find those moments.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt physically safe at all times. Copenhagen is a very safe city - I walked through the red light district at night without a problem -

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? I probably spent up to $100 a week. Copenhagen is EXPENSIVE; it's literally twice as much as a US city. So, a cup of coffee could easily be $7, and a paperback book, $40. Bring all the clothes you will need, and if you can, toiletries, to save a bit of money. Luckily the program provides cooking utensils, sheets, and furniture with most housing options, and the fee for a transportation pass to get you to and from the DIS campus buildings is built into the tuition. I spent the most money on food/drink in Copenhagen, and traveling.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Whenever possible, buy groceries and make your meals, rather than eating out. Some museums and galleries are free on certain days, so make sure you look those days up to go. I spent an unexpected amount on postage (sending back gifts, things I didn't want to pack in my suitcase, etc.) and excess baggage fees.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

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

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  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't have any expectations going in.