A Month in Review: Abroad in Copenhagen
By Joanna Tan
Excerpts from a travel blog about studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark.
December 31, 2021
It’s about to be New Year’s! Just a year ago, Copenhagen was one of the last places I could’ve imagined I would be going. But I wanted to make sure that I have no regrets about the way I spent “the best four years” of my life.
I was left with a choice between attending two study away programs: Danish Institute for Study Abroad Copenhagen and Aquincum Institute of Technology Budapest. Although there were many pros to attending the AIT program, I ultimately decided that the flexibility of the DIS program and the bigger program size was a better fit for my study abroad goals. Namely, the study tours and emphasis on learning outside of the traditional classroom setting at DIS was a core value that resonated with me.
So here I am, ready to celebrate New Year’s by watching the Times Square Ball drop and hoping that 2022 will be a year of happiness, safety and personal growth. Here’s to an exciting and fulfilling semester abroad!
January 11, 2022
It’s three days until my flight! I’m excited, anxious, and can’t wait to leave on my first real journey outside of the country. I will be taking the Medical Biotechnology and Drug Development core course, with a week-long study tour to London. I’m looking forward to learning about careers in the biotech industry and drug development, and to meeting a lot of new friends at the DIS program.
Joanna’s to-do list for preparing to travel during a pandemic:
- Get a credit card and debit card with no foreign transaction fees
- Watch cooking tutorials and recipes to prepare to be a (master) chef in Copenhagen
- Start learning Danish on Duolingo
- Think about packing; feel overwhelmed; leave packing for another day (optional?)
January 16, 2022
Today was my first time flying in over 10 years, and also my first international flight.
I finally started packing the night before my flight; it was a bit of a frantic time but I managed to finish after maybe four hours (whew!). I had one checked bag, one carry-on and one personal item (my backpack).
The flight itself was not too eventful; they provided a lot of amenities and also served dinner and breakfast. I struggled to fall asleep on the plane, which resulted in terrible jet lag once I arrived.
Once I arrived, I was excited to see my apartment and home for the next four months—and it was (luckily) bigger than I expected! I was used to living in a 100 square foot room back at college, so having a bigger room with my own bathroom and kitchenette felt like a big upgrade. The only downside, though, was that I didn’t have a proper stove but a hot plate for cooking. I took some time to visit local grocery stores and buy basic ingredients, then knocked out for the night.
February 2, 2022
This year, Lunar New Year’s happened to fall on February 1—just a couple weeks after I arrived at DIS. I was missing home a little, and my friends suggested that we do hotpot to celebrate the new year.
Overall, it was a good experience! I would recommend eating at a restaurant for the full immersion, but it was a good way to not break the bank (~$10-20 in ingredients per person). If I ever end up eating hotpot again while I’m here, I would definitely want to add a couple more of my personal favorite ingredients (crab slices, fatty beef and fish cakes)—given that I can find them at the few Asian supermarkets around here.
February 12, 2022
Wow, what a week! My cursory research into DIS hadn’t gleaned much info about study tours—I thought of them as a nice perk, getting to go on brief field trips with your core class on DIS money. Instead, I experienced a week packed to the brim with activities, and have been taking more naps than ever to make up for the travel fatigue, but 100% would do it all over again.
Highlights from the week:
- Trying Danish smørrebrød!
- Learning about science research in Denmark
- Oncolytic virus research
- Circulating tumor DNA as a diagnostic tool
- 3 year PhD program
- Cold Hand Winery: the first Danish winery specializing in producing apple wine
- Modern art ARoS Museum @Aarhus
And that’s a wrap! Feel free to follow along with updates about my time abroad here: https://joannaincopenhagen.wordpress.com/
I had always been interested in starting a blog, and my study abroad program was looking for student bloggers to join their media team. They were interested in students writing about their lives abroad—and so that was the inspiration for starting my travel blog!
Joanna Tan is a Biology and Computer Science major at Williams College from Brooklyn, New York. In her free time, she likes reading webtoons, watching e-sports commentary and listening to pop music. She’s interested in pursuing a career in software engineering or working in systems biology research after college. This is her second year as a Girls Write Now mentee.