Letters From Abroad: Copenhagen, Denmark

Ariel Levin-Antilla ‘21, Life & Style Columnist

What’s up, Dickinson? Long time no see! In almost every way, my semester with DIS has been the opposite of a Carlisle one. Instead of spending weeks at a time taking classes and living on the same campus surrounded by trees, mountains, and quaint fruit farms, I live in an apartment with both DIS and Danish university students in the “suburbs,” 20 minutes from my classes by Metro. Everyone and everything around me speaks in Danish, which is a language as fascinating as it is deeply frustrating. There’s always something new to explore in Copenhagen, and right now the city is gearing up for Christmas, so the twinkling lights and holiday cheer almost make me forget that the sun sets around 3:30 pm here:)

Every day I feel like I wake up and learn something new, whether I’m in class or elsewhere in Europe. On Wednesdays instead of class, we have experiential “field studies” that take us somewhere in the city to apply what we’ve been learning in class. With these opportunities, I’ve gotten to visit a Danish high school, a climate change mapping lab, and a graveyard! (Yes, you read that right). I’ve retained so much relevant information because of these experiences and I’m able to see how what I’m learning about sustainable development, cyberpsychology, or Danish culture plays into the world around me.

I still remember the day I stepped onto SAS Flight SK926, realizing that I was about to leave my entire life behind for 4 whole months. In some ways, my time here feels like more of a glimpse of the future rather than another college semester. The lack of campus community that I’m so used to at Dickinson can feel isolating at times, but ultimately is a reflection of life after college, when my friends won’t all live a ten minute walk from me. One of the consequences of this is that I’ve found that my social life requires a lot more planning than ever before, since everyone is spread out around Copenhagen and the surrounding areas. (Never thought I’d miss the cushies and their way of bringing you and your best pals together so much!) It also means I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with doing things on my own—going to museums, visiting parks, or attending events that I’m interested in if other people can’t go with me.

At this moment I have exactly one month left in Copenhagen, and I plan to spend it by visiting the Louisiana Museum one last time, eating plenty of #WednesdaySnails, and maybe hopping across the “pond” to Sweden! Honestly, my life doesn’t feel real right now, and I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to take part in this experience. I don’t think I’ll ever forget what this tiny, beautiful ScandiNation has taught me about the world and my place in it. Now I have to get back to studying for my Danish test—peace out! (Or as they say in Danish, vi ses!)