A fun semester, amazing travel opportunities, not the most rigorous classes December 27, 2019

By (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?
I learned a lot about Danish culture and also learned how to live independently. I had to cook for myself often and learn to budget better. I most appreciated the opportunity to travel and the friends I made.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes at DIS were not especially hard and were mostly introductory-level, but many of them focused on giving us cross-cultural perspectives, which I really appreciated. DIS has a lot of resources and the core course study tours were very very memorable--they provide good lodging, amazing food, and lessons through trips to museums or cultural events. Overall, though, I found the academics to be not very intense, which gave me more time to explore Copenhagen and other places, and get to know my peers.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The DIS administration was very helpful. The facilities team is very prompt and helpful with any maintenance issues in your housing, and the IT department was extremely helpful for me when my laptop broke--I was very easily able to borrow a laptop for as long as I needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved the apartment I was living in as part of the Music LLC. It was spacious, very new, right in the middle of the inner city, and close to campus. It was a very convenient place to live and I also felt that my roommates and I were well-matched.

* Food:

DIS provides a food stipend equal to about $600, and so you do a lot of your own cooking. When DIS does provide food, such as the meals included in study tours or food at campus events, it's very good. But the stipend, in a city as expensive as Copenhagen, wasn't enough for most people I knew to cover their food expenses, and most people paid quite a bit out of pocket.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I didn't feel very integrated with local culture because I lived with other students from the US. I felt that I knew the area very well after living there for a while, and had some opportunities to experience Danish culture with Danes, but mostly was with other American students and so did not have much cultural immersion.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare in Denmark is free and you're assigned an English-speaking doctor, so it was very accessible. My doctor also was very thorough and made sure to treat and discuss every relevant aspect of my health, and testing for infections, etc, was fast and easy. However, my doctor was pretty far from where I lived and had very specific calling hours to make appointments, so I often had difficulty reaching him. I also couldn't access test results and other information that my doctor sent me because I needed an online account, which I couldn't set up without the help of someone who was already registered.

* Safety:

I felt safe walking around the city, but my apartment was broken into halfway through the semester and some items were stolen from easy-to-access common areas. I would advise other students to be careful about locking doors and making sure they fully close behind them.

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

DIS allowed me to have amazing experiences while abroad and a lot of time to grow outside of my academics. It was a good break from my more intense academic experience at Wellesley, and I found amazing friends among my peers in the program.

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)

Copenhagen is an expensive city. DIS tries to offset some of these costs by covering transportation passes for some students and providing food stipends, but it was still pretty expensive overall.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to do most cooking for yourself if you're living on your own (not in a homestay, where I believe most meals are made by the host families). Many staple foods aren't very expensive, so cooking regularly is affordable. Eating out is far more expensive.

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

It wasn't required to take Danish, but we had a lot of exposure to it, and most of us were familiar with common words and phrases by the end of the semester even if we could not actually speak Danish.

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? None
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* 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?
  • Study tours
  • Great resources
  • Friends
* What could be improved?
  • Affordability
  • Diversity
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I'd known that the student body of DIS is not very diverse. I had some trouble adjusting at first; as a queer person of color, I sometimes felt alone, the odd one out. But I was lucky enough to find communities I felt comfortable in and that I identified with and in the end had a really great experience.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

A Sense of Place in European Literature

Course Department: Literature
Instructor: Mette Jungersen
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The readings for this class are really rich and interesting, and the study tours for the class were absolutely unforgettable. We visited so many unique museums and monuments, and learned about Danish culture through cultural events and discussions of issues like colonialism in Denmark. Mette, the professor, is so interesting, helpful, and knowledgeable, and always knows of places off the beaten path in any city she's been to.
Credit Transfer Issues: I didn't have any trouble transferring credit for this class.