Whitney in Denmark

Whitney is a junior from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who is an international studies and premed major. At SMU, she serves as a resident assistant and is involved with Campus Ministries. She is studying abroad this fall with SMU-in-Copenhagen.

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Another installment from Copenhagen

DSC00543-sm.jpgI’m about a month into my experience here in Copenhagen, and I have to admit, the luster hasn’t worn off yet. I love walking around the city and seeing new things (even things that I pass by every day and don’t notice), meeting new people, and absorbing as much of the culture as possible.

Updates since the last blog …
I joined a dinner club on my floor in my Kollegium. This is by far one of the smartest decisions I have ever made. Each night, a different person (there are 12 in the dinner club all together) cooks dinner. The catch is that they can’t spend more than 20 Kroner per person (about 4 dollars) and everyone helps clean up the dishes after the meal. It’s a pretty genius idea, actually, and I have had some of the best food I’ve eaten since being here (all made by my floormates)!

I also went on a short study tour to Jutland (the part of Denmark that is connected to Germany) a couple of weeks ago. It was awesome to get out of the city and see some of the Danish countryside. We visited three cities – Arhus, Aalborg and Skagen.

We visited a Folkehojskole, which is a Danish school for high school graduates in which they don’t get graded and get to study what interests them (music, art, sewing, etc). The one we visited was especially equipped to accommodate disabled students. I hadn’t noticed how unfriendly Copenhagen is to disabled persons until I had it pointed out to me. For example, in Copenhagen, most of the streets and sidewalks are cobblestone, buildings rarely have their entrance at the ground level, and elevators aren’t common, and if they do exist they are way too small to accommodate a wheelchair.

DSC00530-sm.jpgThe next day, we went up to Northern Jutland and went to a massive national park with huge sand dunes. It was so awesome – we could see the ocean on three sides from where we were. After that, we went to the northernmost tip of Denmark where two seas meet. Our trip leaders gave everyone shots of this really horrible liquor called Gammel Dansk. It pretty much tasted like highly concentrated Robitussin. Anyway, we took lots of pictures, got splashed by the water, and rode on a “train” pulled by a John Deere tractor. It felt just like being home in West Texas!

The next day, we went down to Denmark’s second biggest city, Arhus, and visited an incredible art museum. Our day ended with a ferry ride (our bus got to come along too) from Jutland back to the island that Copenhagen is on, Zealand. The trip was incredible – and it was so great to get out of the city for a while!

We have been venturing out in search of new and exciting opportunities lately, and some of these adventures have taken us to Norrebro, a large immigrant neighborhood with a really happening nightlife, the Carlsberg beer brewery (definitely a worthwhile excursion), and our floor’s “tour de chambre,” which is basically a progressive party from room to room.

DSC00616-sm.jpgThe people on my floor get extremely into it, and the other American on my floor and I decided that we would too. We decided to do a “space” theme where we covered my friend’s ENTIRE room with black garbage bags and cut out tinfoil stars to hang on the walls. We also decided to make outfits out of tinfoil. It was hilarious, and totally worth the massive manpower and hours required to do it!

Unfortunately, the people on my floor neglected to tell us that people usually don’t change into their costumes until right before their room was visited, so we came out wearing tinfoil outfits and antennae at the beginning of the party. Everyone liked it though and didn’t tease us too much! The party was a raging success – we even taught the Danes on the floor some American games.

For my field studies with school I have visited the “Bodies” exhibit (sort of like Body Worlds, an exhibition of preserved bodies cut into different layers illustrating various anatomical features) and the Royal Theatre where Hans Christian Andersen made his debut in ballet (who even know he was a ballet dancer?), and we watched a German movie about Turkish immigrants. I find that the field studies are one of the best parts of classes as we get to really apply what we’re learning in the classroom and/or see it illustrated in life.

Currently, I’m preparing for our three-week break in which I plan on visiting France, the UK and Italy. I’m really excited to get to see some more of Europe, but I am almost sad to have to leave Denmark for so long. It is slowly starting to feel like home to me. Just today some Chinese tourists stopped me in the street to ask for directions, and I was able to not only tell them where they were going, but also to use some of my Mandarin Chinese language skills! It was awesome!

Until Next Time,
Hej Hej!

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