A Danish Education for Americans May 16, 2017

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/15/2017 to 05/13/2017 with

DIS Copenhagen: Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that there are ways to create a more environmentally sustainable system, without sacrificing quality of life.

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.

DIS classes are academically-oriented, but they tend to be light on homework and other out-of-class work. Most of the work is performed at the end of the semester, for a final project.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was phenomenal, but the commute time was very long every single day.

* Food:

The food was excellent, but after four months, I am tired of pork and beef for every evening meal. I need more produce.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living in a homestay, I didn't interact with any Danes outside of my host family. I believe that other housing options have very different experiences, though.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not need to use the Danish welfare system. My only problem was how long it took to get my CPR number (which is the equivalent of an American social security number). If I had had a problem at the beginning of the semester, I might have had problems with paying for healthcare.

* Safety:

When walking in the city, watch out for bicycles; they rule the road. Other than that, the greater Copenhagen area is EXTREMELY safe. In the beginning of the semester, I had to walk along the train tracks and the docks after sundown, in order to get home. Not once did I ever have a problem. I always felt extremely safe.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Most of my courses were phenomenal and were excellent supplements to my education.


* 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 a very expensive city to live in.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Resist the temptation to eat lunch at a cafe every day. Make and pack your own food in the morning, or the evening before.


* 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

Almost all Danes spoke English. It was not necessary to become fluent in Danish.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 105
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? Create an account with Duolingo.com and practice online.

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Classes
  • Safety
  • The Study Tours
* What could be improved?
  • Some teachers were not cut out for teaching.
  • The very long commute every day
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Danes do some things differently. Those differences will make you feel homesick, and that's ok. It's fine to take a weekend just for yourself every now and then.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!