(NotSo)Mad4Leaving

Hej venner!

First of all, my heart goes out to the friends and families of Leah and Linsey. I am so thankful and impressed with the support that DIS and the Danish community as a whole provided to everyone who needed it after the tragedy.

Quick update: I am leaving today. So much crying has already happened and there is so much more to come (both happy and sad tears, I assure you). The greatest adventure of my life is coming to a close and, although I’m devastated that it’s over, I’m so happy that I got this amazing opportunity! (so cheesy, I know, I’m sorry)

This will be a very disorganized post because I am so distressed about leaving! Here are two guest posts from the other people who you have gotten to know so well during the semester:

Kayla who says ‘bagel’ strangely because she’s from Wisconsin wrote: Hi everyone! I’m Kayla. I was in Child Development in Scandinavia with Maddy and we were in neighboring vuggestue rooms at our practicum this semester. When I first got to Denmark, I’ll be honest, I had a hard time adjusting. If you do too, just know that’s normal and okay. But one of the first things that started to make me feel better was the Child Development and Diversity orientation. I realized that these were my people. We all shared similar interests and a passion for improving the lives of children. I realized that I was about to get an educational experience that I couldn’t quite get back at my home university. The practicum was one of the things I was looking the most forward to about studying abroad in Denmark, and now that I’ve gone through it (sob), I can easily say it was one of my best experiences here. Those little Danish babies stole my heart. (Sidebar: if you are not quite as much of a baby enthusiast as Maddy and I, have no fear. CDD has practicum placements in schools of all ages. If later childhood is more your thing, then Children and Youth in Europe might be the course for you!) So if you are a future CDD student or considering the Child Development program at DIS, let me tell you- congratulations!! These are your people! You might even make new friends that you take two trips to Norway with… 😉

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Liv from California but goes to school in Minnesota wrote: Hi everyone! My name is Liv and I am from California, but go to school in Minnesota. This semester, I was in the Biomedicine core course and living with Maddy in our home-stay. I think the most important take-away I have from my study abroad experience is that it was nothing like what I expected, but better than anything I could have imagined. My favorite part of DIS is that it fosters a very intentional community that lets you meet other people you might not normally meet. There is a perfect blend of students from all walks of life, and going through the Copenhagen experience with all of them has taught me so much about the world and myself. I am so grateful for the friendships and connections I have made here (especially Maddy, love you girl) and I would recommend this experience to anyone!

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Now that you’ve gotten a little taste of the experiences some other DIS students had, here is a little taste of the experience I’ve had while living in a home stay (10/10 would recommend by the way). I’ve been keeping a list of funny things my host family has said during the semester and I’d love to share it with all of you! So here it goes:

  • Push up the roof
  • What time are you standing up tomorrow?
  • My favorite color is black…like batman
  • I didn’t eat you pizza. Your pizza flew into my mouth
  • Man have do what man have do
  • You have so long hair
  • I’m a farmer boy
  • Oh what a beautiful guy
  • Can I please have all of the butters?
  • What is that coming out of your mouth now?
  • What time do you leaving with the plane?
  • We don’t eat veggie
  • Does the Santa Claus come to the U.S. sometimes? Because he’s always in Denmark.
  • Cripsy instead of crispy
  • Produce instead of procedure
  • What is the clock?
  • Breakfast will be ready in 5 or 2 minutes

My host family played a major role in making my time here so incredibly amazing. We are already making plans to come back and visit and for them to come to the states! I have come to love them all like my own and am going to miss them so much when I go back.

So, I guess this is it. Thank you all for following and experiencing my journey along with me! I hope you have enjoyed it at least a faction of how much I have! I also want to thank DIS for allowing me to be a DIS blogger, it has been such a great experience! I hope I have given any future DIS or CDD students some solid advice, but if anyone ever has any questions, you are way more than welcome to contact me through this page!

Thanks for saying tuned for my crazy adventures!

For the last time,

Stay positive. Stay passionate. Stay mad.

 

 

Mad4Norway(Again)

Hej venner!

Quick update: I have 9 days left here in Cope. Next week is finals week and I leave on May 12th. Where has the time gone? But on a more positive note, during my last practicum visit with the Danish babies last week, the unthinkable happened: one of the babies called my Maddy! How? I have no idea. But it definitely happened and it made my life.

To celebrate this event, my friends and I went to a Danish drag bingo night! One of Liv from California but goes to school in Minnesota’s professors participates in the drag show and let me just say, she was beautiful. One problem: the whole show was in Danish. Now, we are pretty much fluent (lol) but we still struggled to understand all the jokes being made and the instructions for the bingo being announced. Because of this, we ended up just laughing along with everyone else, pretending we knew what was going on, and definitely not winning the bingo game. However, it was great to practice our Danish numbers. Additionally, we could not figure out where to get the little chippy things to cover the bingo numbers that were called so we resorted to digging through our purses for tiny objects that could be used as alternatives. We used Danish kroner, euros, tiny hair ties, and even month old candies I had stuffed to the bottom of my bag. What can I say, we are resourceful.

For my last trip while studying abroad, Kayla who says ‘bagel’ strangely because she’s from Wisconsin and I traveled to Bergen, Norway! I know I say this almost every time, but now that I have done all my traveling I think I’m allowed to say that Norway was my favorite country (besides Denmark of course). The city center was absolutely adorable. The buildings were all a different color and each one was unique.

We went up to the top of the two tallest mountains in Bergen (by cable car) and were completely flabbergasted (such a great word) by the view.

We also went on a fjord tour which was incredible! We drank natural fjord waterfall water (which was the purest and coldest water I’ve ever tasted) and admired the snow-topped mountains while trying not to be blown over by the intense wind.

 

I am trying to squeeze everything that I’ve saved for the last minute into these next 9 days. I don’t like thinking about going home yet, so I’ve decided to ignore it. We’ll see how that coping strategy works.

Fun fact: Every time Kayla who says ‘bagel’ strangely because she’s from Wisconsin and I have flown together, we have had a system. When we check into our flights and pick our seats, we always pick a window and an aisle seat in the same row. We have always ended up with the whole row to ourselves (because who would willingly pick a middle seat?) and have a seat solely devoted to our plane snacks. It is called the Snack Seat. Works every time.

Fun fact: During my first couple trips in the beginning of the semester, I ordered lasagna at least once in every different country without realizing it. Once I did realize it, I thought that I’d keep that tradition going, of course! As of now, for no real reason, I have tried the lasagna in 9 different countries! The conclusion I’ve come to: my host mom makes the best lasagna in Scandinavia and beyond.

Another fun fact: Dogs in the Distance is booming! Kayla who says ‘bagel’ strangely because she’s from Wisconsin and I were reminiscing about the semester and we remembered a pretty funny story. Since we both work at the same practicum site and have a mutual love for babies, especially Danish ones, we had the brilliant idea of creating a second Instagram called Babies in the Distance! However, we realized that this is a super bad and creepy idea, no matter how much we love babies, so we scratched that and stuck to dogs instead. I know, I was disappointed too.

Last fun fact I promise: Denmark is amazing. When my parents were here, they carried around a little travel bag with all their stuff in it (phones, wallets, travel books, etc.). During one of their adventures, they accidentally left the bag on a seat on the train. When they got off and realized that they didn’t have their bag, the train was already gone and they had no way to get it back. Everything was lost (the phones, the wallets, the travel books, the etc.) and they were devastated. While my mom hurriedly called home to cancel all the credit cards before anyone started to use them, my dad ran to the lost and found at the main station in case a miracle happened, but they weren’t hopeful. Shockingly, the bag and everything inside had been turned in moments after they left it on the train. Again, Denmark is amazing.

Stay tuned for more craziness! (for only a bit longer 😦 )

Stay positive. Stay passionate. Stay mad.

Mad4PretzelsandMacarons

Quick update: I willingly jumped out of a plane!! My host dad (who happens to be a skydiving instructor) took Liv from California but goes to school in Minnesota and I to Bornholm (a small Danish island) and encouraged us to jump from 3,000 feet and fall to the ground. The best part: it was a solo skydive. That’s right. We jumped all by ourselves and safely (but not at all gracefully) reached the ground. It was super windy and I was terrified but it was amazing and I would most definitely do it again!

 

My parents came to town and took me to Germany for the last break! We started our adventure in Munich where we enjoyed a walking city tour.

Munich is such a beautiful city that is full of history and many many giant soft pretzels. Not going to lie to you guys, I had a massive pretzel literally the size of my face for every single meal, every single day and I have zero regrets.

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From Munich, we rented a car and made our way to Füssen through the picturesque country side and tiny little towns. We visited two very big, very ornate, and very old castles that were absolutely stunning. And yes, I continued my three-pretzels-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away mentality. So worth it.

Our last German destination was Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a miniature town that is surrounded by a wall with a two-mile diameter. Complete with the pastel, colorful houses and the mom-and-pop shops lining the cobble stone street, this town was your ideal fairy tale setting.

After a week back in Cope with my parents, Liv from California but goes to school in Minnesota and I embarked on an adventure to Paris, France for the weekend! It was magical. We explored the breath-taking city while gawking at the beautiful people, sights, and macarons. And, naturally, I dragged her to the aquarium. Are you even surprised?

We visited Notre-Dame de Paris, the Saint-Chapelle, the Louvre Museum, and, of course, the Eiffel Tower (we also experienced it’s jaw-dropping “sparkling”).

For fun, Liv from California but goes to school in Minnesota and I decided to calculate just how many macarons we had purchased over the course of the weekend. The grand total: a whopping 48 macarons, adding up to close to one hundred dollars over the two days we were there (sorry mom and dad…and stomach). We definitely received many strange looks as we sat in the airport and devoured about 14 each in one sitting. Oops. Worth it?

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I apologize for the longer-than-usual post but so much has happened! The semester is wrapping up and I only have one more trip this weekend. I wonder where I’m going…stay tuned!

Fun fact: I have now held two different random strangers’ babies in two different countries. Is that weird? (sorry no pictures allowed 😦 )

Fun fact: Best pro tip of all time: Go everywhere with your parents because they are amazing! (and also pay for everything)

So many fun facts!: My friend (Kayla who says ‘bagel’ strangely because she’s from Wisconsin) and I created an Instagram account called dogsinthedistance where we post pictures with stunning backdrops and teeny hidden surprises to spot. Fun for the whole family! Go check it out!

Stay tuned for more craziness!

Stay positive. Stay passionate. Stay mad.

Mad4FamilyDinners

Hej venner!

Quick update: My baby Danish is becoming impeccable and practicum has become even more fun now that I can finally communicate with my Danish babies. The other day when we were sitting in our singing circle, the baby who was sitting in my lap leaned back and whispered “Kan du godt lide chokolade?” (Do you like chocolate?), and after my heart stopped melting I whispered back “Ja, jeg kan godt lide chokolade.” (Yes, I do like chocolate). I did a little happy dance in my head for getting through that intense conversation all in Danish. I love babies! Except when they sit on you for too long and your legs fall asleep and you can’t walk and get made fun of by all the babies for the rest of the day (not speaking from experience of course).

For this week’s blog, I wanted to touch upon a very important and enjoyable event that is always the highlight of my day: family dinners. My host mom (reminder: professional pasty chef) is the best cook in town according to the most reliable sources (the most adamant: my adoring host dad). As soon as the aromas start creeping up the stairs from the kitchen everyone starts drooling. Since the dining room is upstairs and the kitchen is downstairs, the most important thing is to get everything up there in one trip. If we are all sitting down and realize we forgot something, we either stick it out and go without it or vote an unlucky someone off the island to go fetch what we need (plus a few other things now that someone is making the trip).

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For anyone who is wondering; yes, that is The Little Mermaid on my shirt which reads: Mermaid Hair Don’t Care :p

Other than the delicious food, dinner is all about being together as a family and talking about everyone’s day. The conversation is filled with laughter, whether it be at a joke my host brother makes, a story my host sister tells, Liv from California but goes to school in Minnesota and I riling each other up until we are practically screaming at each other (not negatively of course), or everyone laughing at my host dad’s mispronunciation of english words. We usually sit at the dinner table for a long time after we have finished eating just talking about anything and everything. When our host parents finally make us clean up, the real fun begins. Since the adults prepare the meal, the kids (I’m still a kid right? Being 21 doesn’t make me an adult) wash the dishes. Every night, we assign three jobs: the washer, the dryers, and the DJ. There is a giant speaker in the kitchen (no big deal) that we hook up to and blast our music. It is so loud, I don’t understand why we don’t get complaints from our neighbors. Washing dishes while dancing around and singing at the top of our lungs (while it does make the process longer) makes it much more enjoyable.

It can get a little rowdy when our host brother starts to try to snap us with his dish towel (which hurts so bad and leaves marks by the way. Thanks Daniel.). After washing the dishes and having a dance party, we retire up to the living room to get hyggeligt with the rest of the family and see a movie (they have to be based on a true story because those are my host mom’s favorite) or finish up some homework we have. In summary, my host family is the actual best.

Fun fact: My parents are coming to Cope next week to visit for another (!!!) travel break we have. They are taking me to yet another amazing (and secret until next week) destination! I can’t wait!

Fun fact: This blog was super short on pictures so here is a lovely picture of me living my best life with a nice mustache (taken by my best friend/”twin” who visited a couple weeks ago with her big fancy camera):

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And here is a picture of Liv from California but goes to school in Minnesota and I with our little host sister after she performed her ballet show in the royal theater!

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Stay tuned for more craziness!

Stay positive. Stay passionate. Stay mad.

Mad4LongTravelBreak

Hej venner!

Quick update: I’m so sorry I missed last week’s blog but it was a very busy week as I’m going to tell you about! I spent most of the travel break in Barcelona, Spain and the last couple days in Keflavik and Reykjavik, Iceland!

So remember how I admitted that every time I travel to a new place I claim that it is the best one yet? You guessed it, I’m doing it again. First of all, the weather in Barcelona was incredible (love you Cope, but seeing the sun was nice for a change). I was wearing short sleeves and even tank tops the whole trip. I went with three friends, which was the perfect sized traveling group, and we ate our way through the city. Seriously, the food was unfathomably delicious. Here are just some examples of the unbelievable dishes we tried:

Fun fact (no judgment): we went back to the same brunch place (Brunch and Cake for anyone who is interested) three times over the course of our six day stay. Our first two days we went back to the same location, ordered mostly the same food, and even had the same waiter. He was definitely judging us but we had no shame, the food was that good. In addition to eating an insane, yet totally understandable, amount of food, we also visited some beautiful Gaudí buildings, historical spots, and museums throughout the city.

I also dragged my friends to the Barcelona zoo (going to the zoo in new cities seems to be a re-accuring theme so why not make it a new tradition?). It was a Wednesday so we were pretty much the only people there, but this made it even more fun!

That night, we experienced a traditional flamenco dance and dinner show which was breath-taking! It takes so much talent to move like the dancers did and it was a beautiful performance. The people in Barcelona were so friendly and it was an amazing trip.

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After enjoying the sun for a couple of days, I decided to move on and explore a very different climate: Iceland. I decided to get out of my comfort zone and do something I have never done before which was travel to a whole new city alone. Honestly, I was nervous at first, but now I am so happy that I did it because I feel so much more accomplished and independent which is what studying abroad is all about! When I arrived, the wind was blowing so hard I (literally) almost blew over onto the ground. It was overwhelming. I got a couple hours of sleep before getting up and embarking on a tour of Iceland’s most spectacular sites and landmarks.

This included a national park, a geyser area, a waterfall, and a hot spring. It was incredible, life-changing, and any other descriptive adjectives you can come up with. The pictures do not come even close to doing them justice. The next day I explored the tiny city of Reykjavik and then enjoyed the Blue Lagoon! This travel break could not have been better and I am so lucky and thankful for the opportunities I had. Now that I’m back in Cope and getting back into the swing of classes and such, I have come to appreciate the time DIS gives us to travel and take advantage of the beautiful area we are surrounded by even more. I really am the luckiest person in the world.

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Fun fact: I now have way too many key chains and stickers to fit anywhere but its totally worth it.

(Not so) fun fact: While I always talk about the fun and awesome parts of studying abroad, there can be tough times too. The Thursday before travel break was probably the most frustrating day I have had since I have been here. I went to the gym early in the morning before going to play with my Danish babies so I was already rushing to get there on time. My bike seat decided to break on my way there, making it very uncomfortable and nearly impossible to ride. Because of this, I was a little late to my practicum site (which is extraordinarily rude in danish culture…great) and my primary mode of transportation was completely broken. After practicum, as I struggled to ride my bike home (I honestly don’t even know how I managed), my tire decides to go flat! Everything that could have gone wrong decided to go wrong that day. But, when I finally and painfully made it home, my adoring host family was there to listen to the struggle that was my day, comfort me, and help me laugh about it. A new environment can be a challenge in itself to overcome, but there is always a way to get through it! Sorry for the cliché ending but it was a really good lesson for me and I thought I would share! Also sorry for this post being a little long, I hope you got through it!

Stay tuned for more craziness!

Stay positive. Stay passionate. Stay mad.

 

Mad4Amsterdam

Hej venner!

Quick update: Pygmy marmosets are officially my new favorite animal. That is all.

I always come back to Cope from visiting a new city and proclaim that it has become my new favorite place I have been, and I’m staying consistent. Liv from California but goes to school in Minnesota and I spent the last two days in Amsterdam, Netherlands and it has become my new favorite place I have been. First of all, we were not worthy of our hotel.

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We just randomly picked the closest hotel to the attractions we wanted to see and it ended up being the coolest hotel we could ever imagine. That night, we wondered into the city center and admired the lights from a draw bridge and enjoyed some local food from of a tiny hole-in-the-wall joint (pro tip: always find the teeniest restaurants, they are so cute and delicious!).

The next morning we woke up super early (thanks to the awesome alarm in our hotel room that wakes you up by turning on all the lights and playing music, what??) and took a canal tour around Amsterdam. The houses and buildings are beautiful and look like they were all plucked right from the 18th century and clumsily plopped into rows bordering the canal (fun fact: the houses are squished so close to each other and some are placed crookedly! We found out that they were constructed like this so that people could haul large objects up to the top floors by rope and not hit and damage the front of the house!).

After the tour, we visited so many museums including the Anne Frank House which was breathtakingly beautiful. We then shopped around  (I got my key chain for all those who are concerned whether or not I am keeping up with that) and ate so much food. The next morning we woke up bright and early again and made our way to Amsterdam’s zoo and aquarium where it was just as interesting to watch all the babies run around as it was the animals. We were probably the only people there that did not have a child but it was still so worth it. The zoo was so open it felt more like a park with nothing but a mote separating the animals from us and wide open spaces with grassy areas and picnic tables. We could have easily stayed there all day.

We then found a cozy cafe for lunch that claimed that they had the best soup in the city and, from what we could tell, they did. Speaking of food, we ate some crazy and beautiful dishes in Amsterdam that all tasted as good if not better than they looked.

While I am sad to be leaving, I am also so pumped to get back to my home in Cope and see my host family. I have a week of classes followed by another week-long travel break to even more amazing destinations (stay tuned to see where!). I am truly the luckiest person in the world to be able to embark on these crazy adventures.

Fun fact: look at this tiny little building in the middle:

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It is literally as wide as it’s door!

Another fun fact: Amsterdam has the BEST cheese. There is a cheese tasting shop on every corner and Liv from California but goes to school in Minnesota and I stopped in each and every one and just tasted all the cheeses. Every single one. Don’t worry, we did actually end up buying some too because how could we not?

Last fun fact I promise: What would a trip to Amsterdam be without a picture with the famous Fault In Our Stars bench??

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Stay tuned for more craziness!

Stay positive. Stay passionate. Stay mad.

 

Mad4LongStudyTour

Hej venner!

Quick update: After my long study tour to Helsinki, Finland, six of us flew to Oslo, Norway for the weekend because why not?

Long Study Tours are fantastic. As students at DIS, we get two week-long breaks: one for independent travel, and one for Long Study Tour with our core course. My course went to Helsinki where we toured and observed schools (Finland’s school system is bomb), enjoyed local food (reindeer meat!!!), and visited various attractions (everything from ferris wheels to museums). The first day we visited a very prestigious primary school with grades 1-7 where everyone slides around in socks and experiences a unique education. We then had the afternoon to ourselves which a couple of friends and I spent ice skating and sipping coffee in a cute little cafe.

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Fun game: guess which one is the volleyball player

The next day we visited one school in the morning (where we got to see the babies singing traditional Finnish songs and it was the cutest thing I have ever seen) and had the rest of the day to explore the city on our own. A couple of us used this time to stop by the huge indoor food truck warehouse and try various local dishes. We then went up in a ferris wheel and took all of the pictures of the beautiful city.

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Working theory: they purposely color the glass blue so all our pictures look like this (yay)

Helsinki has many museums and churches that are enticing and incredibly stunning (not to mention great picture-taking opportunities).

Our next day was the best day of my entire life. We started at a nature center that helps children learn more about the outdoors.

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We participated in activities that the children usually do which was super fun (for example: we acted like squirrels and threw pinecones into bags on branches and ran as fast as we could to see if we could out-run a brown bear). After spending hours in the middle of the forrest on a snowy day, we warmed up at a Finnish sauna! Before enjoying the warmth, however, we jumped into a hole drilled into the ice into the freezing water beneath (voluntary, I might add).

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I actually jumped in twice, no big deal

After Helsinki, we took a short trip down to Oslo, Norway where we spent the weekend visiting museums and exploring the remarkable city.

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I’m so happy

Fun fact: Reindeer meat and ox tail are…interesting

Another fun fact: Next weekend, Liv from California but goes to school in Minnesota and I are traveling to yet another amazing destination!

Stay tuned for more craziness!

Stay positive. Stay passionate. Stay mad.