Have fun. Travel. Dance. Talk to <Host Brother>. Learn about Danish Cuisine from <Host Dad>. Show <Host Mum> cool Kenyan Videos. Swipe right to at least one European boy and go out. Go to Paris and Barcelona. Go to Amsterdam on your birthday month. Speak up in class. Go to coffee shops. Buy small gifts for people. Bike a lot. Code. Please have an internship by the time you get back. Maybe get a tattoo. Cuddle with Mika <Host Dog>.
This is the letter that I wrote to myself sometime during orientation week about what I wanted to do while studying abroad in Copenhagen. I received in the mail when I got back to the U.S. and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. I was a ball of nerves when I first arrived in Copenhagen. Will I like the DIS program? Will I like my host family? Will I fit in? Will I get friends? Will I experience racism or xenophobia? These were all questions that plagued my mind before I started the DIS program. But my DIS experience was above and beyond would I could have imagined. I can say this with certitude, the 3 months I lived and studied in Copenhagen were the best 3 months of my adult life so far! That’s a huge statement and I will not try to break down why I say this because this would end up being a very long blog post and I am lazy in the summer heat. I will just evaluate what my former self set out to do in Copenhagen.
Yes, I had fun! Lots of it! Yes, I did dance- The most fun I had dancing was in Berlin! I talked to my host brother quite a bit about games-befitting since my core class was in game development. I didn’t learn much about how to cook the exquisite food that my host dad prepared for the family but I did learn how to pickle red cabbage and make a bomb broccoli salad. I shared my love of Kenyan music with my host family and my host mum really liked a particular song (Sura Yako by Sauti Sol). I shan’t be spilling any tea about European boys on this blog post, but tea there is… Did not go to Paris or Barcelona but went to Berlin, Hamburg, Bergen, Stockholm, Malmo, Madrid, and Lisbon. Did not go to Amsterdam went to Bergen, Norway instead and fell in love with the city of Bergen. My classes were academically challenging, especially Game Development, I learned a lot and got some skills I could add to my resume. I went to a ton of coffee shops since a cup of chai and cake was all I could afford in Copenhagen – it is as expensive as they say. I especially loved the tiramisu cake at the Living Room and the chai and Bob Marley music at Flotteinheimer. I’m a terrible gift giver. I’m ashamed to say this but I did not bike at all in Copenhagen. It was too damn cold for me to bike! But I will be back sometime in my lifetime and I will bike! I got an internship yey! No Tattoo. I cuddled with Mika a ton!
One thing that I was really afraid of was experiencing xenophobia or racism. Thankfully I experienced neither. I did experience some microaggressions but nothing worth mentioning.
I had an amazing experience in Copenhagen largely because of the group of friends that I made: Gharin, Sisipho, and Jemimah. A place is truly the people that you meet and the relationships formed.
If you are reading this blog post and wondering whether you should take that leap of faith and study abroad in Denmark with DIS, I would encourage you to jump and take the plunge. You will have your own unique experience but there is a good chance it will be an amazing ride.
Tak Copenhagen! Tak DIS! Tak Host Family! Jeg kommer til at savne Copenhagen!