Denmark: From Foreign to Familiar

Submitted by Katharine Hamelin on the 2021 fall semester DIS program in Copenhagen, Denmark…

Going abroad for a whole semester can be very intimidating. This is my second study abroad experience and even for someone who has studied abroad in the past, leaving all that you know both culturally and academically is scary. This time I was not travelling with a group of people that I knew prior to the program. So while I’m going into my junior year of college, I felt like a first semester freshman at a new university in a new town where you don’t know a single person on campus. While everyone here is quite fluent in English, Danish is the official language, so navigating Copenhagen was a scary thought originally. However, I was lucky enough to get the housing opportunity to live in a flat with other non-American students for my semester. Besides me and my American roommate, there are 5 other people that make up our diverse flat. We have 2 flat-mates from Denmark, 1 from Austria, 1 from Germany, and the last from Norway. While we are all studying different things at different Universities here in Copenhagen, it is so nice that we were able to meet each other through our housing. Before I came to Denmark most of my flat-mates had already been living and studying here, so they were super helpful to have from day one to answer all of my questions. They helped me and my new American roommate get to know the area, the grocery store, and the public transportation. Since then we’ve had weekly common dinners together, and frequently make plans to do things as a flat.

One of my favorite things we have done together was a GoBoat around the harbour here in Copenhagen. The GoBoat is a boat that you can take into the harbour at your own pace with a group of friends. The boats have a built-in table so you can bring snacks to enjoy with friends while you navigate around Copenhagen and sightsee. This was a great experience for us all to hang out and bond a little more while also seeing the beauty of Copenhagen from the harbour. As I am writing this, I have officially been in Copenhagen for one month, and while this experience was originally foreign and scary, my flat-mates have definitely helped make Copenhagen feel familiar and like a second home to me.