Copenhagen: The Happiest City in the World Past Review

By (Maryland Institute College of Art) for

DIS Copenhagen: Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Living in Scandinavia definitely has given me insight and a better understanding of a completely different political system and manner of living than the US. Scandinavians are also very sensitive to weather and their architecture and design reflects this reaction to environmentalism. The AD program itself has helped me re-affirm my decision to pursue my masters degree in architecture following MICA, and I can honestly say that some of the faculty at DIS are the best teachers I have ever had in my academic career.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The architecture and design department was very organized and used a fair and holistic grading system that met the standards of American students from different universities in the country. The teachers within the department as well were very insightful and were never difficult to understand (they had very good English) and taught things in the classroom both inside the classroom and out in field studies. I cannot express enough how organized the program is. As far as I can tell, the architecture and design program specifically is the most rigorous and challenging program in the school (in a general overview). I highly recommend this program for a design student who is interested in working with an advanced caliber of students and is serious about design and architecture. Scandinavia is a great place for any design student with these ambitions.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The DIS program overall is very organized, like I have mentioned before. So, it is a very easy transition for any student to re-adjust into the Danish culture with the help of the staff and organizations through the program. DIS does a great job sending preliminary material for parents, organizing housing, and arranging orientation trips that there is absolutely no excuse for any student NOT to give the administration at DIS a perfect rating. This is definitely a luxury that I know many, if not all, study abroad programs do not do.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My choice in housing was deliberately made because of the importance of proximity. Be forewarned, that if you do not wish to commute for long (ie: 1 hour or more), try not to choose the Folk High school, and sometimes Danish families are located very far from the inner city. It is really a matter of priorities for each individual student, but I wanted to be close to the studio to maximize my work hours.

* Food:

I had no dietary restrictions, but I know it is a bit difficult for vegetarians to find food in Denmark.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

Danish is an incredibly unusual language, and it is only used by such a small percentage of Europeans. It is normally advisable (from fellow Europeans) to not take a Danish language course unless you are fully intending on staying for longer than 1 semester. Unfortunately, I never had the course room in my curriculum to take the Danish course offered at DIS. But there are opportunities for students to take them outside of the school as well throughout Copenhagen.

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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  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I absolutely recommend this program to any student pursuing architecture or design!