This post was written by Chris Bailey, who was studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark.
I finally left Europe on Dec. 24, victorious in a harrowing battle with the denizens of Heathrow Airport’s massively delayed Terminal 5. My semester in Copenhagen had ended a week before, amidst much farewell-clubbing and assurances that, yes, my friends and I would see each other back in the U.S. Those four months in Copenhagen rank amongst the best in my life, and while I’m glad to be back in D.C., I’ve already found myself making comparisons between the two cities.
The metro, for instance, is dark and dank compared to its Danish counterpart. Danes are incredibly (and I think sadly) homogeneous—although that’s not so bad if it means everyone is equally stunning looking. The differences between the two countries aren’t that great, however, and I think that’s why I haven’t experienced reverse culture shock, despite warnings from FOFAC advisers and my professors in Copenhagen.
Certainly there are things that I miss—lax drinking laws, delicious pastries, my friends, hygge (a Danish concept without an exact translation; roughly means ‘coziness’). And then there are the things I won’t miss—the sun setting at four, not speaking the language, the half-hour commute to class.
Already though, the memory of the things I didn’t like about Copenhagen are receding, and while I have no interest in traveling right now—see ‘harrowing battle’ in London, above—I would love to go back to Copenhagen someday. Maybe during the summer when the sun is out. I can’t recommend studying abroad enough—the insights gained and the experiences had just aren’t possible if you stay only in the United States. And if you do decide to study abroad, you could do much worse than Copenhagen.