My last six weeks in Copenhagen were by far the most chaotic.
Chaotic in that I spent the first twelve weeks putting off small excursions, such as various museum visits and restaurants to try with the reasoning of “I have eighteen weeks, I’ll get there at some point!”. Come the start of block three, the realization that I still had a long wishlist and very little time left sent me into a bit of a mad rush across Copenhagen.
Reffen wasn’t a place that crossed my radar until it opened at the very start of block three. Located on Refshaleøen, Reffen is an organic food market that has food stands with cuisines from all across the globe. From authentic ramen to bubble ice cream (yes, ice cream in a bubble waffle cone), you can try so many amazing foods. The entire urban area in itself is architecturally very interesting so stop by and check it out!
If I haven’t mentioned classes yet, all students need to take two classes for each block. For my final block I was enrolled in “The Study of Scandinavian Happiness” and “Economics of Wine” which I highly recommend taking both! As I’m sure you can guess, the happiness course was taught exclusively in person at the Copenhagen study center.
One of our professors was none other than Meik Wiking, the New York Times best-selling author of The Little Book of Hygge and various other happiness-related Danish books. I can very confidently say that Meik is one of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met and I carry his teachings with me every day since being one of his students. Even if you don't get the opportunity to take his class, watching one of his many presentations online that he has given across the world is just as great.
The Times named him the “world’s happiest man” and I, and I’m sure other CIEE students, agree with that title.
The second class I took was fully online and taught through Cape Town, South Africa. “Economics of Wine” was a class I signed up for solely because of the name. Prior to enrolling, the only background of economics I had was an intro economics course I took my senior year of high school. Needless to say, my knowledge of economics was that- in my opinion- it was boring.
Despite those existing thoughts, I enrolled anyways and the course did a great job of keeping students super engaged. I found myself telling my friends and family back home fun facts about wine that I never knew. The wine industry, as I’m sure many know, is a vast and ever growing industry that is incredibly interesting to learn about. And that’s coming from a global health major.
Aside from taking two very interesting classes, I did a lot of independent travel during block three. A small group of us traveled to The Netherlands to experience Amsterdam for two days as well as Lisse. As I spoke about in my first post, I traveled to Amsterdam in 2019 with my family which was the catalyst for my love of travel. So returning to the city brought such strong feelings of joy that are indescribable.
Lisse, a small city a couple hours outside Amsterdam, is where Keukenhof is! Dutch tulips were in season during our visit and we spent the entire day roaming the botanical garden. It felt like a dream. You are surrounded by tulips and windmills as if you were teleported to a fairytale.
My family came to visit me for a week and a half following my return from that trip. Being their tour guide for a week was incredibly fun as I was showing off all my new danish fun facts such as my very small danish vocabulary.
As it was Easter, I had a day off from classes and we traveled to Stockholm, Sweden for 42 hours. The main attraction was none other than the ABBA museum right outside the city center. Anyone who knows me knows that I am the biggest ABBA fangirl and getting to Stockholm to go to their museum was number one on my list.
Although we only took a 50-minute flight out of Copenhagen, it was super cool to see the cultural and language difference.
My biggest tip when it comes to traveling to a new city is to get a two-day pass for one of those red bus tours. If you’re not comfortable figuring out the public transportation system in a new place, using those tour buses to your advantage is a huge game changer. You’ll be able to learn lots of history about the new city you’re in while also having the luxury of hopping on and off at your convenience.
The CIEE sponsored trip this block was to the forest tower located a couple hours south of the city. I don’t quite know how to explain what the forest tower is besides… It's a tower in the forest. See photo above.
On top of that we also visited Stevns Klint, a UNESCO site!
Another great opportunity that CIEE gave us was to participate in “Dinner with the Danes” where we are placed with a Danish family for the evening and have a traditional danish meal. Susie and Kasper made me tarteletter for a pre-dinner (it tasted like chicken pot pie, yum) and Madtærte for dinner which is the Scandinavian take on a quiche. SO good, definitely sign up to participate if CIEE is still running it! Of course for dessert we had black licorice and FLØDEBOLLER which are danish staples.
My final full weekend was by far the craziest. Four of us found sixty dollar tickets to Milan, Italy in which we spent a measly 16-hours. From there, we took a five dollar flight to London, England. Those five days will go down as the most fun yet exhausting days of study abroad.
My last week in Denmark was extremely bittersweet. Knowing that I was experiencing things for the last time brought about so many emotions that are hard to describe. Yes, I was incredibly sad my time in Copenhagen was over but I will forever be grateful to that city for what it gave me.
As I’ve recounted my semester in Europe through these blog posts, I want nothing more than to get on the next plane and do it all over again. Except I can’t and I know this was a once and a lifetime experience that was made even better from the amazing people I did it with. I do have one more post written that speaks about "reverse culture shock" and adjusting to life back in the US, so stayed tuned!
When the program ended, I “backpacked” (I had a carry-on suitcase) all across Switzerland for over a week with my dad. If you would’ve told me before my study abroad began that I would backpack across a country I would think you’re crazy. That just goes to show how much I grew through my five months in Copenhagen.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to the CIEE Copenhagen staff for everything they did for us during our stay. Truly the kindest people can be found in Denmark, specifically that tiny office located above the 7/11 in Kultorvet.
Jeg elsker dig, Danmark. tak tak tak tak tak!!!!