The Study in Study Abroad

Today, I believe I have hit that point in the adjustment process where I just love my new environment. This may be attributed to the fact that I have the afternoon off and I’m currently tucked in a blanket with hot, blackcurrant tea, but I think the main factor is I’m still excited about the quality of the classes that I’m taking in Copenhagen. I figured I’d use this opportunity to give an introduction to the classes I’m taking.

At DIS, there are 22 main programs that students choose from. Many of these programs correspond to a student’s major at home, but not always! For example, I’m in the Urban Studies in Europe Program, and there are about 7 Urban Studies Majors out of 23 students. Other majors range from Environmental Studies and History (like myself) to Math or Interior Design.

Within a program is a “core course” that you go on study tours with. Our core course for the program is called European Urban Life and Development. It is taught by two awesome professors, Oluf Emerson, whom is visiting from Rice University in Texas, and Throsten Wagner who specializes in Urban History. For our class, we will be traveling to Hamburg, Germany; Vienna, Austria; and Budapest, Hungary. I’m so glad that I get to visit these cities and learn about them through the eyes of our professors.

To complement my Urban Studies focus, I am also taking Strategies for Urban Livability. This course is taught by architect Bianca Hermansen, a superstar professor who leads us on bicycle tours around Copenhagen, showing us first hand good and bad examples of planning.

I am also taking History of Copenhagen: Structure, Plan, and Design, taught by Carsten Pape, who has been with DIS for over 30 years. The best part of his class so far is learning about the history of the places I pass by everyday. For example, the main DIS building, Vestergade 7, is located over the ruins of an old city wall that historians believe may have enclosed a city market during the early years of Copenhagen in the 12th century.

Danish Fashion may seem like a wildcard course in this line-up, but it is actually one of my most sustainability minded classes. Our professors Tina Hjort and Drude-Katrine Plannthin were one of the first people to make sustainable fashion an actual field. This is right up my alley regarding things I am passionate about. The timing is also perfect, as this weekend is Copenhagen Fashion Week. Another example of a class perk are the tickets that we got to attend VISION, the tradeshow of Copenhagen Fashion Week, where buyers can see next seasons trends directly from designers. It is an awesome place to network and do business for the fashion industry.

Our first assignment was to divide into groups and explore a section of the city to determine if there was a “style” or “look” that defined that area. Our group was roughly assigned the area of Nørrebro, which is Northwest of the city center. On our first stay of observing and photographing, there were not many people outside, as the weather was pretty cold and snowing, but with the influx of visitors in the city for Fashion Week, we found some Danish Fashionistas. Here is a shot captured by Blaire, a fellow DIS blogger.


Additionally I am taking Danish Language and Culture, which I recommend for everyone. Learning as much of the language as you can helps every little bit for cultural immersion. While I’m still completely lost when I’m sitting at a table of 8 Danish kids bantering with each other, I can kinda read the Sunday paper, and I’m hoping to improve with this course.

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