This is going to be my last post from Copenhagen. Even as I write it, I can’t believe it! 6 months has gone by too quickly, although I’m extremely excited to see my family and friends. I have had so many amazing experiences here in Copenhagen, in addition to my wondrous travels throughout Europe. I have so much to be grateful for, and so many people to thank for making my time here so special. I am conflicted about what to write about in this final post, because this city and the people here have had such a profound impact on me. First, I want to thank the University of Copenhagen for allowing me to enroll directly as a student and immerse myself in Danish academia. I learned a great deal from my classes, my professors, and my peers, and feel that I have grown immensely as a student after being in such an open and relaxed school environment. I know that the insights I have gained from my time at KU will be valuable for me finishing my Bachelor’s as well as pursuing my Master’s. Moreover, I was able to meet countless other international students as well as Danish students, learning about their home universities and their unique perspectives on the topics we were discussing in my political science courses.
I would also like to thank the lovely people at Chora Connection. The opportunity to intern there was so gratifying, and I have never been part of such an inspiring group of people. Everyone at Chora has found their way to a career in sustainability through a dynamic path, and the welcoming atmosphere they have created in their offices is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I hope that one day I can foster such a feeling a community in my workplace, and I can’t thank them enough for their decision to take a chance on me and welcome me into the Chora family. I look forward to seeing all of the great work that Chora Connection will do in the future, and hope that I can translate such passion for sustainable change to my career in the U.S.
Thank you to the groups I have volunteered with this semester – Oxfam IBIS, DanMUN, and Distortion Neighbors team. Working with Oxfam IBIS has been an eye-opening experience to see how volunteer groups operate in a country that’s as liberal as Denmark, such as the demonstration at the Climate March. DanMUN provided me a new understanding on the utility of Model UN, contrasting greatly from how Model UN is perceived in the U.S. Learning about their conference logistics and ambitions also showed me how to scale the activities that I’ve completed for Model UN in the past. Lastly, volunteering with Distortion on the Neighbors team was an interesting experience for many reasons. Distortion itself was unlike anything I could have ever imagined, and is probably worthy of it’s own separate post. Most importantly, though, meeting other Danish and international volunteers then exploring the different neighborhoods and talking about the impact of Distortion was quite rewarding. I saw more of the city than I would have otherwise and met the people that make Copenhagen what it is. I am so happy that I chose to get involved with volunteering through multiple avenues, and feel that my time abroad has been dramatically improved by these experiences.
I would also like to thank the city itself. Your streets have come to mean so much to me, and your commitment to beauty and nature is one of a kind. How many days I spent in awe of the beauty of the lakes, biking along tree lined streets or sitting in one of the countless parts. I regret that I was not able to explore every single corner, because I know that Copenhagen has so much to offer and even in 6 months I couldn’t cover it all. The city has a pulse to it, one that you can feel reverberating through all of the people that walk its streets. People from around the world are drawn to visit because of the spirit, the mentality, the appeal of “living like a Dane.” It’s certainly an unparalleled attitude, and I feel that I now understand what it means to adapt the Danish lifestyle. Now I have the challenge of mediating this Danish lifestyle with my real life in the U.S.
Writing this calls attention to the feeling that I’m unable to shake – that this is not my real life. This semester has felt surreal, like I’m on a holiday vacation from myself. That’s not to say that this semester has not been without its struggles – many a time I have felt lonely, homesick, wishing I could change my situation. However, my feelings towards this experience are overwhelmingly positive. I have learned a great deal about myself and what I value – how I want to spend my time, who I want to be around, what it is that gets me up in the morning. I have both challenged myself and allowed myself to simply just be. I know that I will never forget the amazing memories I have from my time in Copenhagen, and I can’t wait to see how my life will pick up when I get back to the U.S. Until next time – farvel, København!