DIS was the highlight of my college life, I fell in love with Copenhagen Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., Wellesley College) for

DIS Copenhagen: Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience at DIS was probably one of the highlights of my college life. I made amazing friends through my classes and traveling, had a great relationship with my host family, and fell in love with Copenhagen. Because Copenhagen is not a touristy city, I truly felt immersed in the culture and by the end of the semester I felt that I had gained a rich understanding of what it means to be Danish. From my abroad experience in general, I expanded my views on the ways that one can lead her life and feel that I see the world as a bigger place with more opportunities than I realized before I left for Denmark. Additionally, I feel like a more independent person after having the experience of making a new life for myself in a new place. I almost decided not to study abroad and am incredibly happy that I stepped outside my comfort zone and attended DIS.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month
The term and year this program took place: Spring 2010

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The most difficult part of my academic experience at DIS was adjusting to different teaching methods, assignments, and expectations. Classes were less structured and assignments were more open ended than I was accustomed to at Wellesley, thus it took a few weeks to become comfortable with this system. However, once I learned what was expected of me in class and assignments, my classes became manageable and more enjoyable. The work load was also average, allowing a healthy balance of work and play.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration at DIS was generally accessible and helpful when problems arose. They organized various day excursions around Copenhagen so students had opportunities to get to know the city better and also organized weekend long and week long trips for students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a Danish host family outside the city of Copenhagen. The family consisted of a mom, dad, and two sons (ages 10 and 14). They lived in a smaller city called Hillerod. <br /><br /> I loved my host family and do not regret my decision to live with a family. However, the commute was further than the commutes of most other students and sometimes made it difficult for me to get into the city at times that I wanted to. For instance, the bus that ran from the train to my house stopped after 8pm, so if I wanted to stay out later in the city I had to either ask my host family for a ride from the train station or stay overnight with a friend who lived closer to the city. My family was incredibly welcoming and I had a wonderful relationship with them, attending many extended family gatherings and celebrations with them. However, I think DIS should try to match students with families that live in areas that are more easily accessible by public transportation, since I would have been able to be more self sufficient, relying less on my family to pick me up and less on my friends to let me sleep at their houses, had my family lived closer to the city.

* Food:

The Danish diet consists of lots of red meat, which I do not regularly eat at home. Therefore, it took a while for me to get used to the types of dinner my host family served. However, my family was understanding of this change for me and went out of their way to buy foods that I requested. It was very expensive to dine anywhere in Copenhagen, thus I did not go out to dinner often, but there were many delicious bakeries and cafes in the city as well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

DIS offered countless trips, both day, weekend, and week long, to various places in Copenhagen and beyond. These were great opportunities to meet new people and travel without the stress of organizing hostels and flights. I went on the Czech Trek for the first week of travel break and this was an amazing trip in which we hiked, mountain biked, rock climbed, zip lined, and explored a rural area of the Czech Republic (while living in a castle) and then made a trip to Prague on the way home. I also went on a weekend ski trip to Sweden and a weekend sailing trip along the coast of Denmark. These were all great experiences!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Copenhagen is likely one of the safest cities in Europe, thus I never felt uncomfortable waking around the city, even at night with only a few other girls. Additionally, health care is free in Denmark and DIS helped all students apply for and receive CPR cards (i.e. health care cards) so that we could all be admitted to a hospital or see a doctor for free if a situation arose.

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 spent around $75 a week on personal expenses, however most of my food was provided by my host family. Everything in Denmark is expensive, thus keeping track of expenses and trying to spend money wisely became important for me, especially since I wanted to do a significant amount of traveling around Europe as well.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would advise students to look into the least expensive grocery stores and try not to spend extravagantly, as Copenhagen is quite expensive.


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? I had not taken any Danish before arriving in Denmark.
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Danish is not necessary to communicate with the Danes, since everyone over the age of 13 speaks English relatively fluently. Taking a course in Danish was useful for small everyday phrases, but not for becoming proficient in the Danish language, but this was not one of my goals for taking Danish.

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

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Students who are interested in traveling as well as studying and learning about the unique Danish culture would benefit from this program.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Danish Language and Culture

Course Department:
Instructor: Ditte Marie Egebjerg
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course offered a valuable introduction to Danish culture, which was particularly useful for me since I was living in a Danish host family. Additionally, I learned basic phrases and conversational Danish in this class, which was useful for my field work in a Danish kindergarten and for communicating with the children in my host family. This course included relevant field trips to locations throughout Copenhagen that enhanced my understanding of Danish history and culture. The professor was knowledgeable, engaging, and encouraging as we learned this difficult language.
Credit Transfer Issues: No