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All blog posts are by University of Michigan students who have participated in a CGIS program. The following blogs are students studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Winter 2018

Grayson reflects on her time in Copenhagen

I’m about to start my second full week in Copenhagen! It is amazing so far, but freezing. I’ve only been here for 8 days; however, I have learned and seen so much already that it seems like it’s been longer. My experience actually getting to Copenhagen was not the easiest - weather seemed to want to keep me in America, but it’s only gone up from there! The first few days, we had orientation and had a lot of information given to us. I got set up in my housing and attempted to grocery shop at a Danish grocery. It was pretty easy except for when I was standing in the deli meat section taking a long time to figure out which was sliced turkey with google-translate.

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The Making of a Home

What a day. Unfortunately, I do not mean that in a positive way. It pains me to say that on only my second day here. While brunch was ‘hyggeligt,’ the day went downhill as we began our bike journey. I was initially rather excited about cycling, but it ended up going horribly. The bike (which my host parents, Jens Peter and Birgitte have generously provided for me) is just slightly too large for my short stature, so I very clumsily have to jump up to mount it. This had to happen every time we stopped, for I cannot balance or reach the ground while stationary. We then took the s-train, which was rather nice, yet eerily quiet. In the city, we feasted upon hotdogs, which are surprisingly all the rage here in Denmark, and then we attended a cover-band concert of “Danish Elvis.” 

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Spring/Summer 2018

Benjamin reflects on his term in Copenhagen

In the Royal Library Garden of Copenhagen, between the hydrangea beds and behind the central fountain, there sits a man whose weathered, forlorn features are etched into bronze. Widely known as the Father of Existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard paved the way for later thinkers through his discussion of the angst and despair which are inherent to the human condition. (Fun fact: Kierkegaard literally means graveyard in Danish) Apart from that, his religious works lay much of the groundwork for Protestant faith. Kierkegaard’s personal life was marred by tragedy; he was sickly his whole life, most of his siblings and both his parents were dead by the time he was an adult, and he was so internally conflicted that he broke off his engagement with his fiancee in fear that marriage would change his prior perception of her. The statue did an excellent job of preserving him. With streaks of copper oxidation down one cheek and a slight downward glance, he looked sad. Not the oh no I just dropped a pizza roll type of sad, but the I understand every facet of life and the only thing left to do is despair type of sad, which is of a significantly higher magnitude.

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Fall 2017

Claire dives into Danish culture through food and local friends

My study abroad experience in Copenhagen, Denmark gave me ample opportunities to soak up some authentic, hyggeligt Danish culture. Within my first week there, I made a point to meet Danes around Copenhagen, who generously showed me the insider sites that tourists might not usually see. I wasn’t a tourist there, after all – I was a student and resident! First, I enjoyed an intriguing twist on traditional Danish smørrebrød – open-faced pieces of rye bread with various spreads and seafood/meats – with my Danish flatmate. Though I’m not too much of an adventurous eater, in general it was pretty enjoyable, if not a little difficult to take in, with all of the completely new textures, tastes, and smells!

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