The first few days in Copenhagen I felt like a little lost puppy. I couldn’t read most things, couldn’t overhear conversations, and google maps attached at my hip. Our SRA’s (Social Residence Assistants) from my apartment were very helpful with introducing us to the grocery store and metro which made things a little easier! I probably stuck out like a sore thumb because if you know me well you know you might need sunglasses to bear the brightness of my closet. Danes wear very VERY neutral clothing. If you have some black, white, and grey that’s all you’ll need! But a perk is that I never felt unsafe navigating the city by myself which eased my worries (and my mom’s) quite a bit.
Culture in Copenhagen is quite different from here in the U.S. I guess I never really realized how obnoxious we are until I learned how reserved the Danes are. You’ll be on a ride on the metro that’ll be full with people and no one will talk to each other. If you approach a dane you will get a kind response, but you have to make the effort. They see privacy as a sign of respect for one another. There won’t be any “I like your shoes” or random interaction unless required!
Other notable facts:
- College students get paid about 800 dollars a month from the government to go to school
- Water is not free at restaurants and servers do not get tipped for it is included in their hourly wage
- Danes are all in shape for all of the bicycling they do to get around. Public transportation is very common and safe. I only saw one gas station while I was there because not many people have cars!
Originally I was planning on coming to Denmark by myself. I like the fact that Copenhagen was right on the water and a place that I didn’t know too much about. I appreciate art and history but can sometimes get bored of it which is why I didn’t go to a more well-known place such as Italy or London. I am so grateful to have had my two friends Hannah and Lisa as adventuring buddies on this trip. We made sure to make the most out of everyday to see every inch of the city possible and checked them all off a list as we conquered them.
Some of my favorite excursions:
- Paddle boating in Malmo, Sweden
- Jumping in the 50 degree Harbor Bath from a 5 meter tower in May!
- Watching a FC Kobenhavn Football (Soccer) game
- Touring Christenborg Palace Royal Rooms
- Any time spent in nature or at NyHavn (New Harbor with the bright colored houses)
Now I know what you’re probably thinking. Did she even study? Well the answer is yes. I took a course at DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad) a school where all professors have experience in the field of the subject. My course was entitled Human Trafficking: A Global Context. No it’s not the most uplifting of subjects but I was very excited to learn about a subject that people are becoming more aware of, specifically in Michigan. Learning about trafficking can be quite frustrating because there are so many issues and perspectives on them that I struggled with well where can I start?
A few things that stood out to me:
- Being aware of how to identify a victim is a way to fight against the issue. Most statistics of trafficking aren’t completely accurate because of so many victims who have not yet been identified.
- Sex trafficking of females is not the only kind of trafficking. Men are also trafficked and people can be trafficked for labor practices as well.
- Most trafficking does not start from kidnapping but by means of coercion or a promised not fulfilled of hope of a better life.
After this experience I feel much more independent being able to do life away from home in an unknown country and culture successfully. Even though it was just one country I gained a better understanding of how large the world is and how little I am in it. God’s creation is so beautiful and throughout this journey the word that was on my heart is faithfulness. He has been faithful with challenging me not only in bringing me to Denmark but in my walk of faith as well. It was never promised to be easy but he did promise to grow me through it. I am very thankful for this opportunity I have gotten to study abroad in Copenhagen and I look forward to seeing more of the world in the future.