Alice Logan, University of Copenhagen, English and American Studies
My time in Copenhagen finally came to an end in the last week of June and it’s taken me a while to fully reflect on my experience there. Never in a million years did I think that I would feel like I’d truly lived in Denmark or that I’d miss it after coming home, but that’s exactly what has happened.
Something which I think is unique in experiencing Copenhagen is the awareness I have developed of everyday stress. It’s along winded point but hear me out. Denmark and the Scandinavian countries have long been stereotyped for their stress-free, relaxed approach to life which can often be dismissed as slow-paced and hippy. Before experiencing the Danish way of life I thought I thrived off of the fast-paced, high-stress British way of life but now having lived in the Danish relaxed atmosphere I think everyone should have the opportunity to experience this calmer way of life. Upon returning to England I felt quite disorientated by the sheer everyday stresses that people were projecting, even just the way people interact and snap at each other because of the high stress environment. Having become so accustomed to a low-stress life I hadn’t anticipated finding my old life so alien. The Danish way of life seems to allow people to have a coffee or read a book without feeling guilty about not working, whereas the English never seem to switch of which can be exhausting after a while. I think it’s interesting to consider this way of life, as I found that I really was able to embrace and enjoy studying there because of this lifestyle and performed really well under exams which was definitely due to the more relaxed Danish style of teaching. It’s a lifestyle I think a lot of people would really benefit from experiencing and is something I am really going to try and carry forward into my study approach in third year.
If you are wavering about studying abroad, just do it. It’s amazed me how many other students have said they now wished they’d taken the opportunity but thought that the move would affect their studying which is a real shame as a new challenging style of teaching actually improved my performance. Also as a lot of ex-study abroads will tell you the European way of teaching is a good practice run for dissertation, as a lot of the project topics you choose and research yourself, putting you in good stead for third year.
For some people I know they feared not having a safety network around them to support them in their studies, but being an international student amongst other internationals, you don’t tend to feel too homesick as everyone is in the same boat and you form close friendships as everyone looks out for each other. Take it from me as someone who is a self-confessed home bird, you won’t want to come home after a few weeks because the Danish are such lovely people and make you feel at home.
I genuinely can’t think of anything negative about my experience in Copenhagen, the teaching and staff are incredible, the modules are wide and engaging and the country is like no other in their approach to life. I had the best time on my study abroad and Copenhagen will always have a very special place in my heart ❣