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So it begins!

It is my first week here with DIS and I thought I’d take you along for the ride!

Monday, August 19th:

Today, I attended the DIS Welcoming Ceremony at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, which was beautiful and fit over 1,000 of us new DIS students quite comfortably. At the ceremony, there were live operatic performances accompanied by piano and we were able to hear the incredible acoustics throughout the entire room with no microphones.

We also heard from the executive director of DIS, Melane Torp, who helped us nail Danish pronunciation with a simple graphic:

Lars Rossen, who is an assistant program director at DIS, gave us a massive group therapy session where we learned how important it is to be friends with your anxiety. 

All good advice, I’d say!

After the Welcoming Ceremony, I made my way to the DIS campus with some other students to pick up our books. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring a bag for my books. Luckily, only one of my classes had physical textbooks, so the journey home wasn’t too challenging. Afterwards, I ventured around Copenhagen on trains and buses trying to find the place I needed to go to get my phone set up internationally, but ended up lost and exhausted and just went home instead. That will be a task for tomorrow…

When I got home, I went through all of my course calendars to see when my classes are and where I’ll be travelling this semester. So far, I’m doing things from going on a “bat tour” to flying to Ireland with a class. If you have any questions about the bat tour, don’t bother asking me. I’m probably wondering the same thing! 

Tuesday, August 20th:

Today was a day full of errands.

I finally got my Danish phone number situation figured out and now I can proudly say that my phone number starts with +45! DIS had a Danish phone company on campus to help us switch our phones so we wouldn’t have any crazy international charges while we are here for the next four months.

After that, I dropped my bike off at a bike shop to get a basket attached to it (now I’ll blend in with the locals…kind of). The bike shop is just down the street from my apartment and it uses second-hand parts to create less waste! 

The next thing that I checked off my list was school supply shopping. Classes start (for real) on Thursday so I figured I’d grab some notebooks and pens to get ready. Navigating the store was interesting, as half of it was full of children’s books, but I eventually bought all of the supplies that I think I’ll need for this semester!

Today was decidedly less interesting than yesterday, as I didn’t attend any DIS-specific event where I would meet other students, but I was able to figure out how to walk to school! Here’s a picture from my walk:

Wednesday, August 21st:

What a day!

Today was my program orientation for my core course, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism from a European Perspective. I hopped on a bus to get to school and confidently found my way to classroom V10-A33. I’m in awe that I found it based on that title. Let me break it down:

  • V = Vestergade (street name)
  • 10 = Street number
  • A = entrance/stairwell
  • First 3 = third floor (which is really the fourth, as Danes count the ground floor as floor 0)
  • Second 3 = room number

Somehow, I made it on time to the room, which was mentioned in an email, and found three other girls sitting there. We got to talking and soon we realized there was no professor in sight and no other students in the class that was meant to have 16 of us. 

At this point, we panicked a little and found our way to an administrative building to ask where we should be, as we were in the correct room based on the email. As it turns out, the room number on the syllabus was different so we tried that room and finally got to meet our professor and our other classmates. There’s nothing like accidentally being 20 minutes late to your first class abroad! I can’t say I’ll be doing that again any time soon. 

During the program orientation, we learned about what the semester was going to look like and even did our first presentation, which we had fifteen minutes in class to prepare for. These Danes really don’t take it slow…

This class is going to be so cool. We are going to have guest lecturers from people who have been witnesses of a terrorist attack to people who have planted bombs. It’s going to be something that I don’t think I would have experienced without DIS. 

After the orientation, I made my way home and started prepping for class tomorrow! 

Here’s a picture of what the outside of DIS looks like! Believe it or not, the classrooms are nestled in the streets between the beautiful buildings!

Thursday, August 22nd:

Today was the first day of classes! I’ll go through them one by one:

  • Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism from a European Perspective
    • This is the class that I had orientation for yesterday and I am still very excited about it! We illustrated some major security programs in order to better explain them to our classmates, because as Martin (our professor) says, “If you can’t draw it, you don’t understand it”. This class is so interesting to me because, unfortunatley, terrorism is very prevelant today and I think it is important to understand why it happens and the complexities behind it. All of my classmates seem very passionate about the topic and I am thrilled for the future of this class!
  • Urban Ecology
    • This is a very interesting course to me, as I typically spend a lot of time in Seattle and have wondered how the ecology of the environment works in bigger cities. In this class, we came to understand that our professor has a huge excitement for bats, which are apparently very common in Copenhagen, and I think this “bat tour” with her will be quite entertaining. 
  • The Politics and Ethics of Food
    • “This course is not only the most important course at DIS, but also for your generation as a whole”. These were the first words that came out of my professor’s mouth. That’s a pretty big statement to make, I’d say. But, this class is focused on creating a sustainable future for humankind on this planet and is absolutely crucial. I cannot wait to come home in December and preach about food sustainability! 😉

Those were the only classes that I had today, but afterwards, I went with a friend to a DIS Board Game Night at Bastard Cafe. The walls were covered in every board game you could imagine and we got to meet other students while tackling confusing games. Not the worst way to end your night!

Friday, August 23rd:

Today, I only had two classes. 

  • Muslims in the West
    • When I walked into this class, I saw a man with a very impressive beard (my professor) and eight girls. And that’s it! It’s such a great environment for discussion because we all can relate to things on a certain level! In small groups, we talked about what it looks like to be a Muslim in Europe and the massive role that the EU plays in spreading Islamophobia.
  • New Nordic Design
    •  Just based on this first session, I know this class is going to be very interesting because Copenhagen is full of very intricate architecture. We are going to be looking into Danish furniture design, building design and how light plays a role in design. It’s definitely new to me, but what better time to try new things than when you’re studying abroad!

Those were my only classes today, and in between, I hung out in a cafe near school where I ran into one of my friends and made plans for tonight! We are going to go to the International Student Festival here in Copenhagen, where they bring a bunch of study abroad students from different schools together!

On another note, I have been riding my bike everywhere, getting to know the area, the hand signals, and how fast these Scandinavians can go.

That’s basically what my first week with DIS looked like and I can’t wait to see how these classes progress!

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