One of the factors that drew me to SMU was the vast amount of opportunities to study abroad. I’ve always known that I wanted to study abroad at some point, but I was never sure where I wanted to go or for how long. After my freshman year, I had met friends who had studied all over the globe for as short as three-week programs all the way to programs that lasted a whole year! The program that continuously stood out to me was DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad), in Copenhagen, Denmark. The program drew a mixture of students from universities across America, offering classes that transferred for credit in nearly every major.

The spring semester of my junior year, I flew across the world to Copenhagen, my home for the next four months. I lived in an apartment with eight other students from all different universities whom I became friends with instantly! I also become friends with several other students from SMU that I didn’t know prior to going abroad. Immersing myself in Danish culture was the best part of living abroad, I experienced so much more than I could have possibly imagined in just four short months.

Every morning I rode my bike to class, which is by far the most common way to commute in Denmark. At school, I was able to complete my European Studies minor; some of the classes I took were Terrorism & Counterterrorism From a European Perspective, Danish Politics & Society, and The Holocaust & Genocide. My counterterrorism class traveled to London for a week where we met with a counterterrorism think-tank, a renown BBC reporter and other influential people within the political sphere. The classes I took abroad were the most interesting courses I have ever taken, largely in part because DIS enables students to use Europe as their classroom.

Between classes I studied in the coziest coffee shops known to man, browsed the cobblestone streets of the inner city and people watched with friends. On the weekends I managed to check a couple cities off my bucket list… London, Hamburg, Geneva, Brussels, Amsterdam, Budapest, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Dublin, Rome, Florence, Venice, Stockholm, Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona and Munich to name a few.

While studying abroad I learned more about myself in four months, than I have my entire life. SMU is my home, but if I can give one piece of advice to a student, no matter where they go to school, it would be to abroad. Rachel Wolchin said,  “If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.” If not now, when? Just go.

Julia Traylor