Goodbye Copenhagen, Denmark

Authored by:
Jessika R.

Jessika R.

Week 6 / 6

I cannot believe that my time here in Copenhagen, Denmark has come to an end. I have learned, explored, and experienced so much that has changed my life for the better. I have learned so much about the Danish culture, from their food to their living styles. I think one of the things that will follow me for the rest of my life is what my professor Isabella and CIEE coordinator Michelle taught me about freedom. I learned about freedom in a new way than I have ever been taught before. When you live in the United States, you consider yourself free and have freedoms that other countries do not provide. Which is true. However, the expression of freedom is where I believe people get blinded from unless they fall into a category that differs from that of the norm in American society. In Denmark, the freedom of expression, from tattoos to piercings and hair color changes, individuals are allowed to express themselves with very few limitations within their living to work space. In America, there is this “standard” that individuals must meet when it comes to work force etiquette. Individuals do not have freedom to express themselves through tattoos, body piercings, hair color, or clothing. These limitations of expression, in my eyes, are a sign of how we are not truly free and our views on freedom have been skewed throughout the years. This idea that people who want to be productive members of society must fit the standard form of work place etiquette has been seen as racist, sexist, and a perpetuation of societal conformity. This standard prevents people from expressing themselves as they are and portrays that individuals who do not fit this “standard” are outsiders and it is acceptable to discriminate against them. This can be seen in African American women and men beauty standards where afros and braids are not seen as “professional”, when their hair does not contribute to the quality of work that they can achieve. “Freedom from” and “freedom to” shows how a society could or could not be truly free in the end. The “freedom from” is where, I believe, most people see as the overall goal of freedom. Freedom from poverty, freedom from political chaos and excessive governmental control, and freedom from enemies. However, if there were more freedoms to be oneself, fully with limited restrictions, there would be more beneficial production where people’s appearances do not illustrate the quality of work that they can perform. This learning experience will help me in my future goals of helping the world becoming a more accepting place, placing focus on more pressing matters than not hiring someone because of their appearance and improving job satisfaction and overall societal well-being by focusing on individual’s productivity and what skills they can bring to the table. I am very excited to see what more I can learn throughout my travels and how these life lessons can improve the lives of future generations to come. Tak for det Denamrk, I will never forget my time here!

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