Every person seems to study abroad for a different reason. Some want to travel, some want to party, and some want to get a unique educational experience. However, a common thread among exchange students is that they all want to engage in a culture different than their own. Danish culture is special, and it’s hard to get fully immersed in just one year—or sometimes less than that. Yet, I’ve found that breaking out of my “American bubble” has helped me enjoy my experience in Denmark much more than if I were to just stick to my typical routine and only interact with other American students studying in Copenhagen.
It’s easy to say “Just get involved!” But how does one truly get involved in Danish life? By living with a host family, I’ve gotten a rare opportunity to live the Danish life. Volunteering at Studenterhuset has also been a great experience; I not only get to meet Danes, I also have the chance to meet other international students—most of whom aren’t American. I’m studying at DIS, an institution in which all of the students are coming from American universities. This means I have to work a little harder to meet Danes. But, fear not! Getting involved in Danish life and meeting Danes is not as hard as it may seem.
Christina, an American student studying in Copenhagen, met a lot of Danish friends through involvement with her church. She explained that she wanted to burst out of the bubble of American exchange students “grow as a person and get to know an entirely new culture.” Christina is able to meet people from all different places, both from classes and church. After studying in Copenhagen for a year, she has really created a life for herself here, and it has made her experience much more memorable and enjoyable.
Students can also break out of their bubble by joining a sports team in the city. USG, a non-profit student sports organization located in Copenhagen, is open to all students with an interest in athletics. The organization has a plethora of different sports; you can choose which one seems right for you! They even offer dance and exercise classes and clubs. The website notes that registration starts in late August, but you can sign up throughout the season (which ends April 30) as long as spots are still available. Joining a sports team or club in the city is a good way of making Copenhagen feel like home. It’s also an easy way to make a lot of new friends!
It can be intimidating to burst out of your bubble while on exchange in Denmark, but Copenhagen is an easy city to become involved in as a student. You chose to study here for a reason, so take in all the culture you can! Don’t fall into the same routines you did at home. Get involved and feel that hygge you can only find in Denmark!