As my time here comes to an end, I realize that I haven’t posted solely about Copenhagen — the place I have spent the past 4 months learning and living. I find myself already missing the daily comforts that made this place so amazing. The warm apartment I longed for after a long day, my blue bike which I always seemed to misplace on the bike rack or a hot chai from the local Lagkagehuset. No matter how much I don’t want to admit it, my time here has come to an end. I am ready to head home.
Denmark as a country is tiny. The total Danish population is 6 million – about the size of ATL. The main city, where I lived, is home to 600,000. Meaning it is quite small, but it made navigating, living, and traveling so easy.
The Danish are an interesting bunch. Everyone is white, everyone is rich, and everyone is progressive (by our standards). There really wasn’t the initial culture shock that you might get studying abroad in a country like France or Spain. It helped immensely that everything was translated into English. Don’t get me wrong, there were other challenges I overcame being 5,000 miles away from home. Most were a result of the horse incident, but hey, you win some, and you lose some. The Danish are blunt (especially for me coming from the south), and they can be reserved; once you get to know them, however, they are an open book. Also, there is a 99% chance they will ask you about Trump’s America (UGH—still in denial I’m coming home to that).
Coming into abroad I partially shut myself off to the world I was on the verge of being immersed in. I told myself that 4 months was not enough time to make genuine friendships and that I would be better sticking to the people I knew. I thought having my best friend here and making acquaintances would be all I needed. I was SO wrong, and I proudly admit that.
“There’s this really cool girl who you will love,” John Michael’s sister, Caroline, told me. Somehow my path crossed with a girl that worked in Vermont with the Robinsons. I admit I was skeptical. After a few Facebook messages and a random run-in in front of a bakery, Margaret has quickly become one of my lifelines and a great support system here in Copenhagen. Tackling two classes and an internship together this sweet angel has become more than a friendly face. She is a constant source of comfort and one of my favorite people to café hop with.
Then there is Maddie, a girl I met the second day here as she was also placed in a homestay in Køge. To be honest, I didn’t remember her at all, but after we both had negative homestay experiences, I found myself Facebook messaging her, introducing myself as her new roommate. Now 3 months in it makes me sad to think that we won’t be sharing a tiny apartment and polka dot bedspread in Amager. I am going to miss our early morning banter, her convincing (forcing) me to workout since she knows I’m 10x happier when I do, or happily agreeing to homemade meals and regular dinner parties. She has influenced my wardrobe, my dance moves, and my taste in food for the better and overall is one hell of a gal.
Though our paths are leading us separate ways, Margaret and Maddie have shown me that you never know when you will make, or better yet, when you will need a new friend. Each of them reminded me that you have to be yourself unapologetically.
Despite all the travel this semester I spent a significant amount of time in the city. If you ever find yourself in CPH here are my favorite spots and my unofficial guide to the Upper East Side of Copenhagen!
Favorite Experiences: Royal Ballet & Running Tour of the City
Both of these experiences were my most culturally enriching. On the 10k running tour, I got to see Copenhagen from a local’s perspective. We heard stories about her life and what made her proud to be Danish. It was truly an exceptional experience. I also do not know if I will find a Nutcracker performance that will live up to the Royal Ballet in Copenhagen. A few girls from my core course and I decided to join society for the night and partake in the arts. 10/10 would recommend.
Favorite Places to Eat: Wulff & Konstali, Mother, Irma
Food in Copenhagen is just generally expensive, there is no way around it. And even after eating some new Nordic cuisine I am still not entirely sure what it is. Naturally, food was a huge part of my trip. Wulff & Konstali is the definition of hygge — their brunch boards are a way of life and one thing I hope to bring back with me. For a fun dinner out try Mother – the best (sourdough) pizza in Copenhagen—is located in the Meatpacking District. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with dinner in Meatpacking. Also, a fan favorite that usually goes unnoticed is Irma, the grocery store. Think Copenhagen Trader Joes. Their salads got me through Monday and Thursday classes, and it was always a no-brainer for picnic food!
Favorite Study Spot: The Royal Library
The black diamond is one of the Danes’ favorite architectural structures. It is the most extensive library in Scandinavia and one of the largest libraries in the world. It was a 10-minute bike along the water from my apartment.
Favorite Cafes: Coffee Industry Sweden, Buzz Café
Both of these cafes were a 5-minute walk from the DIS campus. Buzz’s main clientele is for sure students, but they have some of the best deals in the cities on their drinks and snacks. I met here for most of my group projects or during random gaps in my schedule. Coffee Industry was my favorite place. It was a chain, but in my opinion, had the best chai and the best overall vibes. My preferred location had big open windows and sat on a street corner. It was my favorite place to people watch and Skype.
Things You Must See
• Nyhaven – Colorful houses – have a drink here surrounded by historical buildings.
• Paper Island & the sidewalk trampolines
• Tivoli – opt to spend at least 3 or 4 hours here to take in everything. • Biking in the City – you can do a self-guided one by Googling (Copenhagen Cycling)
• Strøget (specifically Royal Copenhagen and the Lego store)
• American Pie Company – fika (have a cup of coffee and one-on-one with someone) here
• Danish Design Museum – one of the coolest museums in Europe.
• One of the many castles – honestly they are all great, and most are centrally located.
So, I end this portion of my blog and my reflection on my time spent here with three things I have always known, but that I am now continually seeking to put into practice.
Resiliency – understanding that things and most importantly people change and that is OK.
Impulsiveness – Some of the best moments are the ones you can’t plan, and some of the most meaningful discussions are the ones you didn’t mean to have. Every once in a while you just need to say yes.
Intentionality – I have learned that whenever you decide to put roots down somewhere you will eventually grow and that is a beautiful thing.
Tak Copenhagen for being my classroom and, most importantly, my home. You will for sure be missed.