Reason you chose this program: My Amsterdam program fell through and it was the best thing that could have happened. The study tour for my second class ended up going to the Netherlands anyway. I also wanted to take human rights focused classes for my major, and this program offered a look at immigrant, refugee, and special needs children.
Favorite class: My first class was Children with Special Needs, taught by an American who fell in love with Copenhagen and never left. Classes were either discussion-based lectures that catered to student interests or field trip oriented. The material was not only insightful, but also allowed me to visit a lot of handicap facilities and education centers, giving me an immediate feel for transportation systems and Danish life. The schedule was super flexible, so I had plenty of time to explore outside of class.
Describe the housing situation: Tasingegade was a dorm a twenty-minute train ride away from the city center, a five-minute walk from a beaches and parks. I had a single with my own bathroom and kitchenette, but my hall was a smattering of outgoing Americans with daily Facebook group posts seeking adventures. A ton of them were from IU and/or in my classes. The common room also made it easy to meet students, with daily dinners, videogames, and study sessions.
Advice to future study abroad participants: Know that VISA gift cards don’t work. Know that several credit cards won’t work. Know that Western Union can wire transfers. Bring an adapter. Make dinner. Buy dinner. Answer when there’s a knock. Talk to every dorm mate at least once. Take time for yourself. Take pictures, take notes. Notice when you’re happy. Notice when you’re not.
What was your biggest surprise? All the Danes have been speaking English since the third grade.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: I grew up in Europe, but I was still thrown by the levels of love and leisure.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would… have figured out my money before I left. But I had a $200 food stipend and being largely penniless the first week allowed me to familiarize myself with the city and see there's no rush to spend.
What you know now that you didn’t know before going abroad: I can do anything, even the things I’m afraid of.
Greatest Challenge: To focus on my experience before anyone else's. Find who you like, find what you like. Pace your tourism. Don't blow through all the sites in two weeks. There's always someone who hasn't been somewhere.
Fact about your host country that you think people would be surprised to learn: Movies cost $20.