Living Like a Dane

Wow. One week in a new country truly feels like one month! I cannot believe it was just last Saturday that around thirteen hundred students from across the world all landed in Denmark to call it their home for the next four months. I am lucky to be one of those thirteen hundred! The nerves started to rush as I was in the CPH Airport waiting for my baggage and thinking about how grand of a situation that I was stepping into. I walk to the arrivals area to find my host family and roommate front and center anxiously and excitedly waiting to greet me! I was welcomed with the biggest hugs and smiles even after a few flight changes and delays… and in that moment I was so at ease. It was a twenty-minute drive back to the house in Greve and dinner was already on the table. What was on the menu you say? TACOS! I was definitely at ease then! We all ate together, laughed, connected and had a great first night in Denmark.

My first reaction to Denmark was not really a reaction at all. Being in Copenhagen did not feel like such a culture shock from America…AT FIRST! That perspective quickly changed when we actually got the chance to visit the city the next day. Our host parents biked with us to the station and showed us how to use the DSB metro system to get to the actual city of Copenhagen. After arriving and walking around the city, I discovered so many dichotomous features and ways about Copenhagen. It was a big city but also a very small one. It was a friendly city but also a very reserved one. It was a wild city but also a very calm one! The dynamics all worked together perfectly and made the city very easy to love. I definitely felt like a tourist, admiring all of the great architecture with my camera and looking stunned to hear all of the historic facts about the country. I quickly learned many things within my first week and I am about to share a few of them. First of all, biking is NOT for the weak and apparently I have been doing it wrong all my life. Upon coming to Copenhagen, I thought I was going to be this big city biking girl, but I could barely even make it to the local train station! Secondly, cold and rainy weather is also not for the weak and it is probably my biggest con about living in Denmark. Although I am told the dark and gloomy skies will go away soon, this hot and bright Texas girl is WAY out of her element with this climate! Thirdly, “hygge” is a BIG deal and it is everywhere! Hygge is a Danish state of being cozy and with people you love. At my homestay, eating a candlelit dinner together is very prominent and is a daily occurrence, but it also is in most shops and restaurants you go into as well. Next, living in Denmark is quite expensive BUT it has its perks. Because Denmark is a little pricey, sustainability is amazing and also helps the environment. There is recycling everywhere, barely the use of air conditioning, and it’s why most people use bikes instead of cars. In addition to that, the high taxes on everything go to good causes; it enables free healthcare, subsidized childcare, AND you get PAID to go to college! Lastly, I LOVE DIS! The DIS program is probably the most organized and structured study abroad program that I have seen thus far and they offer some amazing once in a lifetime classes, taught by some amazing once in a lifetime professors, giving you amazing once in a lifetime experiences and opportunities. I am already a pretty big nerd, but after attending my first DIS classes, I have never been more excited to go to school! I am so glad that I chose DIS Scandinavia and I am very eager to see how the rest of the semester goes. That was a bit of a sum up and it was just a glimpse! I have met so many new and great people, gotten lost going home, eaten so many new things, gotten the typical tourist stares, had family game nights, some conversations with strangers, and so much more in just ONE week! As for the remaining categories like food, friends, going out, etc. you’ll just have to stay tuned for more…

Published by gdarkoo

Hello! My name is Gabrielle Darko and I am a student at Spelman College, located in Atlanta, Georgia but I am originally from Houston, Texas. I'm a traveler, photographer, and writer. I would like for you to come with me as I embark on this journey!

3 thoughts on “Living Like a Dane

  1. Great and good adventure for my second granddaughter of twenty two grandchildren. Grandpa Darko paid a visit to his business partner in Denmark 20 years ago and also had a wonderful experience of his two weeks stay with his business partner. Gabriel, may The Good Lord grant you more grace and expand your vision to effect your generation for good.Love you my Gabriel Darko.


    1. Wow! Hello Grandpa and thank you for reading and reaching out. I love and miss you so much. Thank you for this grant. Please continue to pray for me as I pray for you as well. Love you! 🙂


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