Diana in Copenhagen: My First Week

August 29, 2014

Hello from Copenhagen!

 

After I had less than 48 hours to get ready and pack, I somehow made my way to Logan airport in time for my big European sendoff. I waddled around the airport equipped with a backpack “carry on” that was about the size I am, a tote bag “purse” heavier than most children I’ve seen, and a suitcase that tested the airline luggage worker’s strictness on weight limits. I was ready to begin my journey.

Me at the gate at Logan

Me at the gate at Logan Airport

To be fair, the said journey had a rocky start when I found that I was the lucky one placed at a middle seat with a broken screen on the seven-hour flight to Germany and, of course, the air conditioning on the flight was broken. Alas, things started to look up once a flight attendant restarted my screen and the AC finally started working.

 

The flight from Germany was short though, and before I knew it I was touching down in my new home. The Copenhagen weather welcomed me with rain, which I’ve learned is not surprising. Rare is a day here where there’s not a single shower—something I have yet gotten used to. On a brighter note, I walked into the lobby area of the airport to a smiling Dane waiting there to greet me.

 

This semester I’ll be attending Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and they have a program that matches its exchange students with a Danish student to show us the ropes. I greeted my buddy Kristoffer with a hug and spent the entire metro ride to my dorm asking him all of my questions about Denmark. Topics of conversation ranged from what Danish food is (apparently lots of heavy foods), Danish clothing (all black everything), and Danish people (extremely happy but not often outwardly friendly).

 

Time went quickly and soon we were walking into my dorm Kathrine Kollegiet in a municipality called Frederiksberg. The dorm room is for exchange students only and my hall has students ranging from Connecticut to China, so I’m even expecting dorm living to be a multicultural experience. My single here is huge too! I’ve got a kitchenette, two big windows that open to a playground area, and my own bathroom. The kitchenette with two burners, a small sink, and a microwave is…quaint. It’s served me well to make pasta, grilled cheese, and eggs so far but we’ll see how far I can survive on those meals. I’m hoping to write a food entry later once I get more creative!

My single in Kathrine Kollegiet

My single in Kathrine Kollegiet

The bathroom really surprised me though, because in Denmark they don’t differentiate the shower from the rest of the bathroom. The “shower” is really just a curtained off corner of the room. Just a curtain—yep. Getting used to this has been interesting, but I guess the system has its perks? I never need to worry about tripping on the little lip on the ground when getting in and out of the shower and I can put my foot on the toilet to shave my legs with ease. The whole room gets soaked though; I can only defend the system so much. Outside of this odd cultural design difference, I’ve truly enjoyed playing house so far and I know it will grow my independence tenfold.

The shower area

The shower area

I arrived in Denmark a week earlier than most to take something called a “Danish Crash Course” consisting of classes to help familiarize us with the Danish language. While I’m still quite the novice (this is a nice way of telling you I can say hello, thank you, and goodbye), this course was an easy way to get to know people. Now comes the real orientation week where we have the opportunity to meet even more students and hear about life at CBS. I’ve loved my time in Denmark so far and can’t wait to have more adventures.

 

Thanks for reading!


Diana in Copenhagen: The Preparation (or lack thereof)

August 18, 2014

Hello all! My name is Diana and I’m excited to have the opportunity to share my experiences with you all through this blog. I’m a Business Administration major concentrating in Marketing and looking to pursue a minor in Rhetoric and Communications, although I haven’t declared it yet. As the title of this post suggests, I’m going to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark this fall and am experiencing a whirlwind of emotions because of it. I’m beside myself with excitement, eager to begin my journey, curious about what the experience will bring me, and anxious about not being the least bit ready.

A year ago if you’d asked me to imagine what I would look like one week before studying in Denmark for four months I would conjure up an image of chaos. Flashes of lists would overwhelm me: ones of what to pack and buy while others would detail planned adventures to explore the continent. In this vision my room would be littered with piles of clothes and adapters and I would be engulfed in the packing nightmare every twenty-something endures before an extended trip with limited packing space.

Instead, I am sitting in the administration building at my job at a YMCA residential summer camp in Wakefield, RI (one of the two places on the property with full electricity and WiFi) at 11 pm waiting to return to a cabin full of sleeping adolescents. Not a bag is packed, no lists are made, and I’ve had minimal available brainpower to even realize how close I am to having the experience abroad that I hope will change my life. This is my thirteenth year at Camp Fuller and my fourth working at the place marked by rustic buildings, cabins with no walls or electricity, and amazing people from all over the world.

My cabin

Where I’ve lived for the past twelve weeks. There are only half walls so the sides open up as flaps.

The dock

Where I spend my mornings docking up after driving the water skiing boat for a few hours

I’ve made countless memories at this place and most can be attributed to the people who have found there way here from places like Australia, New Zealand, Poland, England, Ireland, Spain, and South Africa. Each year, people from every corner of the world somehow find their way to this run-down camp in the smallest state the United States and experience the culture here—my culture. I’ve grown used to being the host to these world travelers. I feel confident explaining how things work and am comfortable being the host and facilitator of their experiences in my country. As the summer is slowly drawing to a close though, I am becoming very aware of the clock ticking towards the moment when the tables turn.

diana and sara

Here I am with Sara, a counselor from Denmark I’ve known for the past two years. I can’t wait to have her show me around her home country now. We’ve already planned to meet up and cook authentic Danish food!

To be honest, I feel like I’m going into this experience blind, and that only intensifies my anxiety and excitement. This will be my first time having a single room in a dorm for example. Will I get lonely? Will I be able to go back to having a roommate after experiencing this freedom? Copenhagen is notoriously expensive. Will I be able to budget myself? Will I have enough means to do everything I want to do? I’ve never lived in a city before and am so attached to my GPS I’d consider naming my first child Garmin. How many times will I get lost? Will I end up loving the city and dread my return home to suburbia?

My questions are endless but I know in a mere number of days I will start getting answers. It’s crazy to imagine myself trading in my staff shirts and one-piece bathing suits for a passport that will take me across Europe, but those are just the facts. I’m ready to kiss my comfort zone goodbye and immerse myself in a new place just as I have helped so many others do before me. It’s my turn to learn, to grow, to explore, and to be the one enlightened by a new people and culture and I can’t wait to have that chance.

Stay tuned!


%d bloggers like this: