Great Opportunities Abroad With A Professionally Run Program January 23, 2019

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 08/19/2018 to 12/14/2018 with

DIS Copenhagen: Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A lot. I personally got a lot of relevant experience in things I cared about which was great. I was also forcibly put in alien social situations, which was a good push for me personally, and I think it helped me grow a lot as a consequence. For me, it was definitely worth my time and worth spending a semester.

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.

I think it was fairly rigorous for an abroad program; I had an order of magnitude less work than at my home university. The courses I had were all interesting and well taught.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

DIS was very on top of supplying resources and offering support for students - they're typically also good in my experience with providing stipends and reimbursements when necessary, and it never really felt like a horrible bureaucracy, despite the relatively large size of the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I liven in the Hojskole, and I highly highly recommend this living option. The only downside is the commute which is ~70 minutes, but IMO completely worth it. The Hojskole has the atmosphere of a small campus and is almost camp like, and I felt like I really did connect with the other Americans and Danes living there. This housing option gives you great exposure/integration with Danes that some of the other housing options lack.

* Food:

While Danish food in general doesn't feature much that's incredibly outstanding, the kitchen at the Hojskole, which you could rely on for most meals, when you weren't away did an incredible job.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Being in a classroom with all Americans means it's pretty easy to not meet Danes. I was lucky that my housing, and also one of my courses (the SRP) facilitated more interaction and gave me people that I could ask about Denmark and its culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any health issues, but those people I know that did had a pleasant (and free!) experience.

* Safety:

Copenhagen overall is a wonderfully safe city - that being said there were several students that had wallets/purses snatched.

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

I think DIS was a uniquely perfect program for me. The primary draw for me was the classes - the two main things I was able to do, my video game development CS core course and my chance to do research with the Science Research Practicum were both exactly what I was looking for and gave me a fantastic opportunity to build skills/make a portfolio. Besides that, Denmark turned out to be a really great place - everyone spoke English, was very nice, very relaxed, and very comfortable.

Finances

* 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)

Personally I was lucky not to spend too much due to the Hojskole kitchen providing many meals. Eating out is incredibly expensive, and basically no one did it if they could avoid it. DIS does provide a food stipend to other housing locations, but since I didn't get one I can't really vouch for or against it.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~$30?
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try not to break your laptop screen in the first month like I did. Cry when it happens anyways.

Language

* 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

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? In Danish - 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? Danish is incredibly difficult to pronounce and understand. Focus on reading it, it's much easier because it still has pretty much the same roots as other Germanic languages. It took me the full 4 months to be able to get the most difficult pronunciation down to a somewhat respectable degree, and I think I was pretty good at it. Everyone speaks excellent English anyways, so don't worry too much.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?
  • Hosjkole
  • Classes
  • Travel Weeks
* What could be improved?
  • More events mixing Danes and Americans
  • Another CS Core Class
  • Support for student run clubs/groups?
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Plan weekend/break travel well in advance, otherwise a) you'll never do it and b) it'll get more expensive.

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!