Unforgettable: Cultural Differences and the Unknown July 08, 2022

By (Computer Science, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/14/2022 to 05/13/2022 with

DIS Copenhagen: Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about the differences between American and Danish culture. The Danish perspective on internal and external politics and matters. I learned about myself on a profound level that is difficult to describe. I loved being immersed in another culture and with people who were in a similar boat as myself

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.

I really really enjoyed my experience in Copenhagen. The courses that I took were incredibly fun and educational. My professors were very kind and supportive of my learning and would always answer my questions. Group work is very popular in Denmark so that was an experience I received very frequently when assigned work in or outside of class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was always staff available and where there to answer any questions. The main hub of DIS has a place where students can ask questions and if they cannot, they direct you to the appropriate staff member. Classrooms were a bit difficult to find and navigate to for the first week or two but after that it was not too difficult. Do note that the classrooms are spread throughout the local area so that can make finding them confusing.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I really enjoyed my homestay living arrangement. I will say that it is not for everyone simply because there are personal adjustments that have to be made. The student needs to compromise on how they live life with the host and the host needs to compromise with how they live with the student. There is definitely a good amount of give and take in a homestay. It is important to be open and communicate your thoughts and feelings!

* Food:

Minus a half star for danish food being on the bland end of tastes. Other than that, ti was all delcious! Salt and pepper is never at the dinner table so maybe buy some of that for yourself. I will say that if it is there, it's because you are not Danish!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Integrating with Danes is not an easy task because they make their friends very early on. Not to mention you are only in Denmark for a limited amount of time. Moreover, the culture can be difficult to adjust to because of the complete difference in norms that exist. Ask questions and do not assume and you will be ok!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got covid while I was abroad and that was not a very fun time. I was taken care of very well by DIS and received food and travel reimbursements from them. I had the standard Ibuprofen/advil available. Fortunately I did not need more medical care than that. I know of others who received health care rather quickly

* Safety:

You may get your bike stolen but I would have no problem walking around the main streets of Copenhagen at night. Most of the city is out at 4am anyways on the weekends. Be smart and be aware of your surroundings and you will be ok. Late nights are common for students during the week days and common for everyone on weekends.

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

Oh man, DIS was a very wild experience. It felt a bit like a whirlwind simply because of how fast it went by. I wish I could do another semester with the knowledge I accrued during the first one.


* 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)

2 I was in a fortunate position to have all of my expenses covered either my DIS or my parents. PLEASE keep in mind that Copenhagen is a very expensive city for EVERYTHING. It is more expensive than NYC, San Francisco and basically every major city in the US. Be prepared for food that is on the more expensive end if you are used to eating out on a budget. It is possible to find cheap places to eat where they give large portions(although not common). Look for the hole in the wall kind of places and do research about general cost of neighborhoods you are in.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30-50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be conscious of the money you are spending on eating out and traveling. If you have never done accounting before, now is the time to start LOL


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
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? None - Brandeis does not offer Danish
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? Do not think, speak! Danish is not an easy language so they know you will mess up. Embrace it!

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
  • International Students
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?
  • Cultural Differences
  • Learning Opportunities
  • Forced Open-mindedness
* What could be improved?
  • More ways for people to meet each other
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Honestly, not much that I can think of. One thing is the priciness of Copenhagen. This would have helped me budget a bit better.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'