(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.

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.

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.

 

 

Mad4Commuting

Hej venner!

Quick update: Tomorrow I am leaving on a week-long study tour with my core course (Child Development in Scandinavia) to Helsinki, Finland! We are touring many schools and attractions there as well as going to a sauna and doing some karaoke; how fun is that?? Well, I will tell you just how fun that is next week, stay tuned!

I am in love with my every day commute. In Cope, people walk or bike everywhere (literally everywhere!). In the morning on most days, I get to stroll through the streets of Cope, enjoying the beautiful, winding paths and the crisp morning air. My lovely home is a five minute walk from the Østerport train station where I take the train one stop to Nørreport (fun fact: DIS provides students with a train/bus pass that allows us to take any public transportation for free!).The train schedule was super confusing at first with all the colorful lines crossing over each other but I can finally say that I’ve mastered it.

From Nørreport station, I have a ten minute walk to the cluster of DIS buildings that contain my awesome classes. The walk is pretty quick but all the cozy cafes, cute clothing stores, and little pastry shops are incredibly tempting but I always have to settle for window shopping (and eating? Is window eating a thing? Well I just made it one) instead. The latest I am done with classes during the week is 14:35 (or 2:35 pm), giving me plenty of time to explore the unknown corners of Cope, give in to one of those cozy cafes, study at the magnificent library (the Black Diamond, it’s beautiful), or simply go home and spend time with my host family (who I have completely fallen in love with). Usually I take the same path home, but when I’m feeling adventurous I’ll make random turns and get myself lost to see if I can find my way back. This is the best way to find new spots to check out or see if you really know the city (I’ll admit, sometimes I cheat and use the super useful Cope app on my phone but don’t tell anyone because I like to brag about how I can always find my way).

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That’s my ride!

On Thursdays (my Danish baby day) I take the bus instead which is less walking but still a great way to get around. Now, about biking. Biking, as I’m sure some of you know, is huge in Denmark. Huge. There are more bikes in Denmark than there are people! Like what!? So, of course, I had to see what all the fuss was about. My host family had extra bikes for my roomie (Liv from California but goes to school in Minnesota) and I but DIS will also provide bikes for students who want them. So one day we set off on our bikes, thinking nothing of it. We later found out that we definitely should have thought something of it. There are different bike lanes, bike stop lights, bike hand signals, bike etiquette and much more that we did not know about. We definitely got yelled at in Danish by one lady who then proceeded to try to teach us the hand signals. We were super embarrassed. After returning home we looked up every bike law there was and interrogated our host family about it at dinner. They laughed at us for getting yelled at. But seriously, bikers in Cope are hard-core and during my first week here I kept wandering into the bike lane on accident and was almost trampled. That’ll teach you a valuable lesson.

Overall, commuting in Denmark is fun, easy, and one of the best parts of my day.

Fun fact: We finally visiting The Little Mermaid statue and it was amazing.

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Oh my bad, the statue is the one sitting on the rock. I know it’s hard to tell which is which.  

Stay tuned for more craziness!

Stay positive. Stay passionate. Stay mad.

 

Mad4Vuggestue

Hej venner!

Quick update: My friends and I went to a Danish spa the other day and it completely changed our lives. Additionally, I forgot all my contacts at home so I am currently wearing Danish contacts, how cool am I? Also I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post but we are not allowed to take pictures of the babies (for obvious reasons) no matter how much I want to.

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My core course is Child Development in Scandinavia in which we learn about the differences in how children are raised here in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries through interactive lectures as well as practicum. Every Thursday I help out at a local vuggestue (or nursery, the babies range from 10 months to 2 years and 10 months) changing diapers, engaging in free play, and wiping the sticky fingers and runny noses of the twelve babies I have come to know so well. Super fun! We start the day by arranging ourselves in a small circle on the floor and passing around a basket of toys. The babies take turns and pick out a toy of their choosing and put it in the middle of the circle. Each toy has a corresponding song (all in Danish…its a struggle) that we sing and do little dances to. Some babies are very animated in there singing and dancing while others like to casually watch me flail and pretend I know the words (I’m getting much better and am determined to know them all by the end of the semester). After everyone has their turn and all requests are fulfilled, it is time for free play. Free play is a very Danish idea in that the babies are allowed to do (literally) whatever they want. This includes climbing up on the chairs and tables, dressing up in crazy outfits and running around, and playing with big play structures. This allows the babies to develop social skills and learn from experience. After playing, we all sit down for lunch, which is always quite an experience. First of all, the food is like something I would be scared to order in a restaurant because it has a really fancy name and costs a lot of money; it’s that good! Second of all, the babies all eat with a fork and knife! Not a plastic fork and knife, but a real fork and knife, it’s amazing! They also serve themselves and clean up after themselves (keep in mind these children are, on average, a little over 1 year old!). I was, and continue to be, completely blown away by these babies.

One day, when fluffy snowflakes were falling perfectly onto the sparkly, awaiting ground, we took the oldest babies sledding. We dressed them all up in their snowsuit onesies that they wear everywhere (the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life), put on their tiny snowshoes and tiny mittens and were ready to go (side note: putting on baby mittens is the hardest thing I have ever experienced). We put two babies in each buggie while the others held onto the sides and walked with us. The hill where we went sledding was already filled with many other babies from multiple different vuggestues and I almost fell over from all the cuteness. Hundreds of babies waddling around in their puffy snowsuits, falling over into the snow, running into each other as they came down the hill on their sleds; it was heaven. I find so much joy in getting to know these babies and being a part of their early development. Although the language barrier can be hard at times, we find other ways to communicate and learn from each other.

Fun fact: The first time I was introduced to the babies, the pedagogue accidentally called me Maggie instead of Maddy. She tried to correct herself but, unfortunately, Maggie stuck, so that is what most of the babies know me as. I actually considered changing my name to Maggie to make it easier but Mag4Danish just doesn’t sound as good for some reason.

Another fun fact: After spending all day with the babies I find it hard to transition from my baby voice into my normal, socially-acceptable voice. There have been many times when I have come home and started speaking to my host family in a high-pitched voice where I put strange emphasis on some words and speak very slowly. They were weirded out at first but have come to accept that that is just how it is going to be on Thursdays.

Sorry for all the fun facts but also check out this statue I found:

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Stay tuned for more craziness!

Stay positive. Stay passionate. Stay mad (mag?).

 

Mad4Sweden

Hej venner!

Quick update: I spontaneously flew to Stockholm, Sweden this weekend with a couple of friends and it was amazing!

As we stepped off the plane, surrounded by people that not only spoke a different language but also followed different cultural and social customs than in both the U.S. and Copenhagen, we were slightly overwhelmed. We made no plans in Stockholm other than booking a place to sleep for the night and preparing to fill up our camera rolls with skylines and selfies. We slowly-but-surely translated the Swedish signs into English and shuffled toward the bus station that rode into the city. Once we stepped off the bus and into the cold Swedish air, we were ready to explore. We hiked up our backpacks that contained everything we needed for our two-day adventure and set off in a random direction. Admiring the colorful buildings and drooling over the palaces that seemed to be everywhere, we most definitely resembled the stereotypical tourists but we didn’t care because we were loving every second of it.

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Hey, that’s me 🙂

This was the first time we had ever been to a new city with no previous plans and just going wherever our wandering eyes took us. It was very refreshing. We visited museums, admired the palaces, and popped into little local bakeries and shops to try out some Swedish goodies and trinkets (fun fact: I’ve decided to collect key chains from everywhere I travel on this semester-long adventure and hope to have a ton by the time I’m done!).

That night, we dragged ourselves to our little home for the evening as we had walked everywhere imaginable that day. We eagerly went to sleep and got up super early the next morning to continue our travels! We started with a very Swedish breakfast of sour milk (yes that’s right, SOUR MILK), granola, rye bread, and jam made from an unknown fruit (we still have yet to identify said fruit, it’s fine). After that, we began our search for the perfect waffle. The previous day we had spotted a couple little waffle joints and stands claiming that they made the best waffles in Stockholm so, naturally, we wanted to try one. We agreed upon a waffle stand just outside one of the palaces we visited and eagerly chowed down as we trudged through the recent but heavy snow (the first snow since we have been here!). The waffles were incredibly delicious.

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Yes, that is Nutella ❤

We finished off our trip with a couple more museums and pictures of the beautiful architecture before heading back to the airport. While we were excited to return home to our host families, we were sad that this new experience had come to an end. However, it just got me motivated to plan even more little weekend trips to hidden beauties. I’m quickly falling in love with my European adventures and getting less and less inclined to return home to the states in May (don’t tell my mom :p).

Fun fact: Sweden has even more cobblestone than Cope (help)!!

Stay tuned for more craziness!

Stay positive. Stay passionate. Stay mad.