A Great Semester, Would Choose Another Program Going Forward December 26, 2019

By (Psychology, Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/17/2019 to 12/14/2019 with

DIS Copenhagen: Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Learned how to cook for myself, budget, speak a bit of Danish, more about Danish culture, how to travel independently (and a lot more). Yes, studying abroad was definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

In comparison to my home institution, the classes I took at DIS were nowhere near as rigorous. I felt instructors were helpful and qualified in their respective fields, which created a unique learning environment, but not all were effective professors. With that said, I enjoyed the opportunity to take courses not offered at my home university, engage in learning outside of the classroom (as in field studies or core course week), and have time to learn outside of the classroom (socially, culturally, etc...).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I found DIS Copenhagen to be extremely well organized. When I had questions about housing accommodations or health concerns, they were always prompt and thorough in their responses.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I absolutely loved my housing arrangement (the Green LLC).

* Food:

As I lived in an LLC, food wasn't provided. I cooked for myself. I appreciated the stipend for groceries from DIS, but I didn't find it enough to cover my expenses for the entire semester (though some were able to do so). I wish that DIS or home universities would make the difference, especially when groceries in Denmark are pricey and eating out isn't an option if finances are tight.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

While DIS is seamless in a lot of ways, the biggest qualm I have with the program is the lack of integration with Danish culture. If you don't live in a homestay and going out isn't your first choice, it's difficult to make friends with locals. I wish that DIS had more structured opportunities (or more suggestions) to meet fellow students, as this isn't offered through academics. I would recommend DIS to others but with the large disclaimer that in order to truly live abroad, you'll have to be the one making the effort to meet others (which can be challenging when you're adjusting).

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had to see a doctor several times while abroad, and the DIS Care Team helped me set this up prior to my arrival. Overall, they were extremely helpful in health accommodations.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I had a wonderful time, and I most definitely wouldn't take back my experience. With that said, if I had the opportunity to go abroad again, I would choose a program with local and international students. I regret not choosing a program where I could actively integrate into the culture.

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Look for fresh produce at grocery stores that are on sale! They typically are marked down at night (and bread is half off). Download and use 2Good2Go! You'll most likely need to transition to the Danish Apple Store, but the savings will be worth it. I only ate out a handful of times over the course of the semester and tried to minimize money spent at cafes (check out the many local libraries or Studenterhuset if you'd rather not spend money to study somewhere!). I saved this money for traveling and eating outside of Denmark (where it's often much cheaper and honestly yummier). Try cooking with a large group of people, especially if you live in a communal space. Community dinners with a group of 10 cost us around $2/person (and it's fun). Communal living in general can be extremely cost-efficient (and more sustainable). I saved a lot on toiletries, groceries (we had a communal fridge with leftovers), and clothing (try a swap at the end of the semester!). You can get a LOT of wonderful items at the DIS Sustainable Boutique. I furnished my room with decorations and got many useful things (tupperware, school supplies) at the first session, so I'd definitely check it out to save a buck. Drinking while out isn't cheap. Try to drink before going out if you'd like to save!

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • Living and Learning Community
  • Field Studies and Core Course Week
* What could be improved?
  • Academic Rigor and Instructors
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Make the effort to get to know locals. And take advantage of the trains around Europe!