Name: Gabriella Werner, Class of 2020
Program: DIS Copenhagen, Denmark, Spring 2019
Fields of Study: Environmental Biology, Public Health
How did studying abroad affect your academic and/or professional career?
Studying abroad opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking and understanding for both my academic and professional career. As an Environmental Biology major it is so easy to feel down about the world around you but by studying in Denmark I was exposed to a wonderful way of positive thinking, pursuing discovery, and broadened my current knowledge to an international scale. From my Public Health minor, I was not only exposed to a completely different health care system, but I was also entrenched in the view of public health from an international scale within Europe.
How did you explore your hobbies, interests, and passions abroad?
When I was abroad I actually discovered new interests and passions. I learned that I absolutely loved traveling around a city with just google maps and a friend by my side. I realized that I love to learn about history and international relations when the next country is only a 3 hour drive away. I discovered that Denmark has some of the most amazing sweets I have ever tasted. But what was my most amazing experience while being abroad with DIS in Copenhagen is that all my classes were my passions and that I was able to learn and interact with professionals of my passions everyday.
Why would you recommend your respective abroad program or location?
I was actually surprised how much I loved Copenhagen. In fact, I love it so much that I am now thinking about trying to find work there so that I never have to leave it again. Copenhagen is a unique and beautiful city with a rich history that has been around for thousands of years. People here are welcoming to foreigners and the people you meet in the DIS program could quite possibly become your best friends. You also have the ability to choose from a wide range of interesting and engaging classes that are taught by professionals of their field. I honestly don't think anyone can realize how unique and eye-opening Danish culture is until you are living in it.
What should students consider when applying and preparing for their time abroad?
Students should be ready to embrace a culture shock. Although Copenhagen has a lot of modern comforts and many people speak English, that does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that this place is the same as Tulane or your home. When applying and preparing it is important that students are willing and able to jump into the new culture with 2 feet and to keep an open mind. If you do that, then I see no reason why students will not only have a good time, but flourish, when they are abroad.
Share a story about a time you experienced cultural immersion.
Even though I lived in the city with other Americans, DIS still has this amazing program that allows you to have a "visiting host family". Even though our schedules collided, my host family would constantly invite me over to their home for dinner with them and their dog. It was such an amazing opportunity to talk to them about my life back home and learn about their life in Denmark, as well as to get that sense of family while being so far away from my own. My host family had 3 kids ranging from 18 to 14 and it was so interesting to talk with them about their everyday life and answer any questions they had about American life. Even as I was leaving Denmark this amazing family made it clear that I was always welcome to stay with them in their home if I ever came back.