As part of their positions, CGIS Advisors embark on site visits to visit students and ensure that our programs are the best they can be. Senior Intercultural Programs Advisor Callie Rouse recently traveled to Stockholm, Sweden to visit students attending the DIS: Stockholm program. She spoke with College of Literature, Science, and the Arts junior Shannon Higgins.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Callie Rouse: Why did you decide to choose this particular program?
Shannon Higgins: I decided this program particularly because my major and minors and my future career goals, really aligned with what I wanted to do. So I'm looking for a career in law and I took a forensic psychology course that you mentioned, and it was one of my favorite courses I've ever taken. So basically, the credits, the course, and then I also really liked that program was a lot smaller than the Copenhagen program.
CR: What is something you took away from the experience or a story that you would like to share with people?
SH: I think one of the best experiences that I had was the first week I was here. So our housing has a shared kitchen and one of the big things in Sweden is their loose candy. So all the grocery stores just have large walls of candy and that huge scoop and that’s how you buy it. Yeah. We all made like charcuterie boards out of the candy, we sat around and we had the loose candy and a movie night. And so I got to know everybody in my house and that was a really good setup for my entire semester.
CR: So why should students participate in this? Especially versus Copenhagen?
SH: I would say the size of the school. Just because I've gotten to know so many people in the program very, very well. The class sizes are super small so it's super personal. You get to know your professors very well. And it's very one-on-one, especially compared to the University of Michigan, so I've really enjoyed that personal relationship that I do develop. Also, I have visited Copenhagen and Stockholm and I guess maybe I'm biased just because, like I can go around very comfortably here. It's absolutely stunning as well as going kayaking next week. With just your transportation, you can take a ferry to Pelago and go to the islands. So there's just so much the city has to offer. Yeah. I just love it and there's never ending things.
CR: Considering different identities that might resonate with you, is there anything you'd like to share about how your identity has impacted your time abroad? SH: I'm half first gen, you know, but nobody else in my family that I know has been able to have study abroad opportunities. So having an opportunity to go abroad for an entire semester and to do all the cultural learning, the academic learning, and like widen all of my perspectives in that way, it's been super super cool because my entire family is based in Michigan and lives in Michigan.
CR: What do you think you'll remember most about your experience abroad in 20 years?
SH: Probably just the feeling that I have here—of just happiness, but being able to go and just feel excitement all the time. There's always something new and exciting. So when I look back in 20 years, it'll probably be like a childhood excitement. Like, looking back and thinking ‘Yeah, that was like a really amazing experience where I was just experiencing things left and right where I wasn't even able to process it at the time.’ How cool and like such an amazing experience it was.
CR: Is there anything else you want to add? Just in general about the program.
SH: Definitely study abroad. I think it's just been like the coolest experience ever. This has been the most amazing experience ever and I definitely think that this is like one of the best programs that I found. They kind of just have so many resources for all the students as well. So like, I was dropped in a country where I didn't know anyone but one other person here and I still never felt like I was completely alone because DIS had so many resources for me.
CR: Did you receive any scholarships or funding for the program? And are you comfortable sharing which ones if you did?
SH: Yeah, I did receive a scholarship from DIS and from the financial aid program.
Questions about semester study abroad in DIS: Copenhagen? Contact Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org.