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Student Profiles

Overseas Study Program

Copenhagen,  Denmark

I now know that I'm comfortable and capable of being an international traveler and that if I just trust myself and allow myself to be present, everything will work out.”

Abby Shifriss

Major: Human Development and Family Studies

Term abroad: Summer 2014

Why did you choose this program? I knew that I wanted to study abroad in an environment in which I could grow both as an individual and a student. I had heard that Copenhagen was both a very beautiful and incredibly progressive city and it definitely exceeded my expectations. The classes offered through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad fit very well with my interests and my major, so it was pretty ideal. Another big selling point for me was the fact that they have a summer program and that DIS isn't quite as common of a program as some of those in other European countries (at least from my perspective).

Describe your favorite classes abroad. While I was abroad I took two classes. I participated in a six-week program and so each class was an intensive (but manageable) three weeks long. I took Positive Psychology and Cross-Cultural Psychology, both of which were incredible and two of the best classes that I've ever taken. I absolutely loved that in Positive Psychology we would meditate at the beginning of each class as well as do activities around the community. It was very interactive and engaging and provided an interesting point of view considering the fact that Denmark is ranked as the "happiest country in the world". In my Cross-Cultural Psychology class, we spent a week doing a study tour in Berlin, which was wonderful. I don't think that I could choose a favorite of the two because I learned so much and both professors and academic experiences had profound effects on me. I feel that I gained an entirely new perspective on culture and on myself as a global citizen.

What was the housing like on your study abroad program? While studying in Copenhagen, I lived in one of the many DRCs (DIS Residential Communities) that are spread around Copenhagen. Basically, it was an apartment with six other American students and a Danish RA. On each of the four floors of our building there was another apartment with DIS students. My location was amazing. We were right in the city center--a five minute walk from our campus and I could get basically anywhere that I needed to by bike or on foot.

What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? Approach your study abroad experience with an open mind and few expectations!

What’s your best memory from your time abroad? Watching the sunrise at Nyhavn (Google it!) with my friends after a night of exploring Copenhagen.

What was your biggest surprise about the location, culture or other aspects of your program? I was surprised by how easy it was and how comfortable I felt getting around Copenhagen. I always felt safe and the layout of the city made it very manageable to navigate. The Danes don't always appear to be extremely approachable but I almost always found that they were kind and helpful when I did have a question.

“If I could do it over, I would” ...not stress out as much about all the details. Being organized and asking questions is important, but it's also good to have some faith that everything will work out!

What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? I now know that I'm comfortable and capable of being an international traveler and that if I just trust myself and allow myself to be present, everything will work out.

What do you wish someone had told you before you left? To be flexible and to be prepared for how quickly the time flies by!

What fact about your host country do you think people would be surprised to learn? During World War II, Denmark protected their Jewish population.

How did you find scholarships for study abroad? I searched for scholarships through IU and through DIS as well as through the Foundation for Global Scholars.

Would you recommend other students pursue any specific scholarship opportunities? Definitely the Hutton International Experiences Program scholarship. You don't have to be in the Hutton Honors college and the application is easy. I know that they give out a lot of scholarships!