How do I say this simply…

5 days and counting. To say I am nervous is an understatement. I haven’t been able to sleep. All I’ve been thinking about for the past few weeks has been my arrival in Copenhagen. Will my roommate and I get along, possibly even become best friends? Will I get lost trying to navigate the city? (probably!). Will I make friends, especially ones that want to travel to similar places I want to travel to? Do they eat dinner at 6pm, or 9pm like the rest of Europe? (being an avid foodie with a pretty consistent eating schedule, that one would really throw me for a loop) Do I REALLY need to bring my big winter coat? (asking to preserve precious suitcase space, obviously).

I’ve started packing – one large suitcase to check and a small hiking backpack as my carry-on, per DIS’s advice – figured out my phone plan abroad, called my bank, and bought outlet converters. I’ve seen all my friends at home one last time, ate at my favorite restaurants and enjoyed my favorite latte for the last time at my town’s local coffee shop. I got my haircut, went to the doctor and dentist, and pushed through my last day at work. To say I am prepared is an understatement, I am way too prepared for my own good.

See, I am someone who likes to be in control. Not of other people, but of myself. Moving from Chicago to Colorado for college was a tough transition for me – meeting people hasn’t always been my strong suit. Yet, here I am, going into my junior year of college, with the best group of friends at school anyone could have asked for. That is what I remind myself whenever I start freaking out about moving to Copenhagen for the semester. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and no way am I going to give this up just because I am scared! It is completely normal to be worried for what is to come, especially if it consists of changing your whole lifestyle for about 5 months, yet what is important is to not dwell on what may scare you, but  how much you will get out of the experience. I already know I will return home at the end of the semester with countless stories to tell my friends and family for years to come – and hopefully will make lasting friendships for life!

I’ve already registered for the Copenhagen half-marathon in September, bought my plane tickets and air-bnb for Oktoberfest, emailed with my visiting-host family, and looked up good yoga studios near my housing. I’ve read countless past student’s blogs, pored over past syllabi for the classes I am taking, and researched the best places to explore in Copenhagen. I may not be able to control everything, but I have given myself peace of mind by preparing as best I can, and giving myself tangible things to look forward to while I’m abroad, just in case the transition is a little tough! I have no doubt I will miss home and my friends in Colorado, yet by just opening myself up to this wonderful, exciting, and a little bit scary experience is something I am very proud of myself for.

With that being said, I do have a few goals for myself for the semester, and I’ll keep them updated on this blog as the semester continues!

  1. Be present. Try not to think about what fun things my friends in Colorado may be doing, or where my family is at that moment, but how incredible Copenhagen is and all it has to offer me.
  2. Go to one new coffee shop/museum/park/restaurant a week. It is easy for me to get stuck in a routine, and by keeping myself on track with this goal, in no time I’ll be able to explore every nook and cranny of the city!
  3. Make at least one friend in every class. If I stick to this goal, that means I’ll at LEAST have four friends. Combine that with my roommate/friends in my dorm, and I’m already very well-off. More friends = more adventures!
  4. Immerse myself in Danish culture. It can be easy to go abroad to Europe and be worried about planning trips to other cities all the time, forgetting that there is whole new, wonderful city right at your fingertips to explore every day! I am taking a Danish language and culture class, yet outside of that class I really want to push myself to meet the locals and delve deep into their culture on my own. I’ve already begun to accomplish this goal by contacting my visiting host family and planning a dinner with them the first week I arrive. I can’t wait to meet them finally!

As much as I might be scared to leave the comfort and routine of my home, I am also eager to begin this new journey abroad. Just thinking about learning a new culture while living in Copenhagen itself excites me – I am a very hands-on learner, so DIS couldn’t have been a better choice for my studies abroad. I cannot wait to delve into my studies – my core course class is Prostitution and Sex Trade in Europe – meet new friends, reconnect with old friends, adventure to various castles and cities, walk along the harbor – just one block away from my housing! And explore the city by bike. So many new opportunities await!

With that being said, I better get back to my packing. Farvel! (that’s good-bye in Danish )

Kara

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