Copenhagen is the perfect classroom Past Review

By (Print Journalism/Communications, American University) for

DIS Copenhagen: Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Living in Denmark has opened up the entire world for me, as I have visited dozens of countries since then with the skills and confidence that I gained there as a study abroad student. I plan to work in study abroad specifically because I want to enrich students' lives as much as I felt like DIS enriched mine. My host family is an important part of my life still today. The only drawbacks to the DIS program are the students who come just to party and hop around Europe every weekend. For those of us who really loved Copenhagen for its people and culture, it was disturbing to see some cliquish students only interested in doing a grand tour of Europe and not really getting to know Copenhagen. Despite this, I found a great group of friends and I felt like I was really able to meet Danish friends because I spent so many weekends in Copenhagen. I am still best friends with my Danish and American friends I met there!

Review Photos

DIS - Danish Institute for Study Abroad: Copenhagen - Various Programs Photo DIS - Danish Institute for Study Abroad: Copenhagen - Various Programs Photo DIS - Danish Institute for Study Abroad: Copenhagen - Various Programs Photo DIS - Danish Institute for Study Abroad: Copenhagen - Various Programs Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was large, the grading system was similar to my home institution, and the teaching methods were a mix of Danish and American. I appreciated the teachers who taught with Danish methods more than the teachers who tried to use American methods!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

As an American and Danish staff, the office in Copenhagen was knowledgeable, sensitive, and efficient. I never had any large problems, but even my seemingly minor issues were resolved quickly and respectfully. Students who I knew had larger issues also felt very comfortable with the staff at DIS. Their communication with students was superior, both in person and electronically.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I asked for a host family with a teenager and two dogs with no smokers...and I got exactly that. I was so thrilled with my host family, and I have been back to Denmark since to visit them. I got to live in a small town north of Copenhagen, which gave me the chance to experience both small town and big city life. I was able to stay over at friends' apartments and dorms in the city if I was out late on the weekends. My neighborhood was beautiful and I felt very safe there alone at all hours. I commuted by train, which is actually a big perk because my tuition pays for my commuter pass. Students who live very close to DIS do not get the commuter pass, which means they have to pay for the train out of their own pocket if they want to go outside the city center. I did not need to buy anything for my living situation. My host family treated me exactly like their daughter.

* Food:

Danes are very liberal and understanding about food issues and particularities. They enjoy when Americans try some of their weird foods, but they don't get hurt feelings if you don't like them or don't even want to try. My only issues with food were with coffee and licorice, both of which gave me intense stomach aches. I did not know these were the source of my pain for a while, but once I figured that out, my family had no problem making me tea and other sweets instead. Eating out in Denmark is expensive, so I took that as an opportunity to learn about grocery shopping and cooking. The produce in Denmark is fantastic and it's a common Danish activity to have dinner parties (with lots of wine).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were so many chances to do non-academic things with DIS. My favorite things were the Danish study tour and the European study tour. Through these I got to see other parts of Denmark, Germany, Hungary and Austria. The small groups made it easy to get to know everyone on the study tours, and I really felt like we were seeing non-touristy, special parts of these countries. I also went on the Czech Republic mountain trek and for some reason the students on this trip were extremely cliquish and just wanted to get wasted. That was a really lonely 5 days for me.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Copenhagen is so safe that you barely have to worry. The biggest danger is getting hit by a bike (just follow the walk signals!) I never had to use health care when I was a student there, but when I went back to visit my family two years later, my American boyfriend got free emergency surgery within a few hours of falling ill. The health care system in Denmark is much better than anything you will experience in the USA.

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


* 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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

The language was my favorite part about studying in Denmark. It's a simple language to learn, yet a bit difficult to pronounce. I practiced the most with my host family, but all Danes were thrilled to hear me try to have a conversation. Everyone there speaks English, so when things were difficult I could just speak English. But trying to speak Danish was fun and made me feel smart. I felt so much closer to my Danish friends and the culture because of my Danish language skills. My only regret is that I didn't take the 6-credit intensive language course.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? DIS Copenhagen is great for anyone interested in Europe because it gives you the chance to take classes on a variety of issues, travel to specific countries that apply to your major, all while feeling at home in the tiny country of Denmark. After 3 weeks on the road in Europe, I could not wait to get back to my home of Copenhagen. Danes are welcoming, the food is interesting, and the sites in Copenhagen are gorgeous. (If you are a student just looking to get drunk all semester, please don't come to Copenhagen. You just ruin the reputation of Americans and the social scene for the rest of us.)