Name: Lena Heier (she/her), Class of 2023
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Program: DIS Copenhagen Fall 2021
Fields of Study: Public Health and Political Science
How did studying abroad affect your academic and/or professional career?
Studying in Copenhagen gave me a very unique perspective on my major and my future career. I want to work in healthcare policy, and learning about the healthcare system in Denmark firsthand, which is very different from ours in the U.S., was incredibly valuable. I enjoyed my experience so much that I am hoping to go back to Europe for grad school sometime in the future.
How did you explore your hobbies, interests, and passions abroad?
The culture in Copenhagen is very introspective and peaceful. The emphasis on "hygge" - the Danish word for coziness - allowed me to reconnect with my love for reading. Also, my friends and I all started crocheting, which is a super fun hobby.
Why would you recommend your respective abroad program or location?
Copenhagen is an incredibly safe, clean, and efficient city. It is easy to adapt to for Americans on the surface level because almost everyone speaks English, but it is unique enough in culture that there are many new things to learn and experience. DIS specifically is so well organized and supportive of its students. They take care of so many logistical issues, from getting housing to including grocery money to providing sheets for the bed. They helped make the move so much less stressful.
What should students consider when applying and preparing for their time abroad?
Make sure you are cautious and aware of your expenses. Save up as much as you can before you leave. Food and coffee every day can add up quickly. Try to save as much as you can when you are in your home country so you can spend more on trips! Also, keep a bucket list of everything you want to see and do, both in your home country and in places you visit. You only have so much time, so it's important to prepare so you get a chance to see everything.
Share a story about a time you experienced cultural immersion.
My favorite cultural experience in Denmark was going cold swimming. My friends and I rented a private sauna for an hour next to the canal and jumped in the freezing cold water (in November!) and then warmed up in the sauna. It is such a unique experience, and it really is super rejuvenating.
Did your identity impact your study abroad experience?
I was fortunate to be able to blend into the general population well in Copenhagen, as I'm white and blonde, and therefore was lucky to not have to face issues surrounding my identity.