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Student Profiles

Claire enjoys the wonderful views of Nyhavn, a 17th century waterfront, canal and entertainment district.

Overseas Study Program

Copenhagen,  Denmark

As much as you want to see the world, don't forget about the city that you're in! It's important to get to know the culture and city in which you are living before it's too late.”

Claire Bliss

Majors: Human Development & Family Studies

Term abroad: Spring 2015

Why did you choose this program? I chose this program for the Child Development with Special Needs core course, in addition to the unique experience to live in Scandinavia, an area of Europe that is not as invaded with tourists.

Describe your favorite classes abroad. I really enjoyed the Danish Language and Culture class. The instructor was a local businessman who wanted to share his love of his country, taking time out of his busy schedule to teach this class. I was also able to take away basic phrases and pronunciations to allow for an easier experience in terms of getting around the city - reading signs, picking up on various conversations with locals, and so forth. I also enjoyed my core course, Child Development with Special Needs, because it enabled me to volunteer in a Danish preschool setting, where I was able to compare the Danish school system with the U.S.'s school system.

What was the housing like on your study abroad program? I lived in a dorm-style setting, with other Americans from my program. I had a roommate, and together we had our own bathroom and a small kitchenette. My floor had a large common room - couches, a TV, cable/gaming systems, tables - and also a large, industrialized kitchen (unique to my living location). There were 6 different styles of housing to choose from with my program, all of which were located in various places around Copenhagen; my DRC (Danish residence community) was about a 25 minute commute from DIS.

What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? As much as you want to see the world, don't forget about the city that you're in! It's important to get to know the culture and city in which you are living before it's too late.

Describe your experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock. I had culture shock for the first few days, finding the language to be the most shocking. In addition, the style of clothing in Denmark is definitely not like the US - everyone really only wears black and gray.

“If I could do it over, I would…” Not be so picky about spending money.

What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? I am much more self-aware, and have more self-confidence.

What do you wish someone had told you before you left? It's hard! Not everyone has the happy-go-lucky experience that people seem to portray, and that's okay! Just make sure you don't sulk, but rather lean on people for support, travel to get out there, and make the most of your experience.

What was your greatest challenge? Homesickness and going into the program knowing no one. However, I also think I gained much more from this experience because I wasn't with close friends!

Discuss: “Going abroad vs. staying on campus.” GO ABROAD! When else can you live in a country for 4-5 months, taking classes and talking/living with locals?!

What fact about your host country do you think people would be surprised to learn? Danes are considered the happiest people in the world.