Profile: Brittany Wolfe '18
Major/minor: Psychology and American Studies major, Legal Studies minor
Study abroad program: DIS/ Psychology (Spring 2017)
Reason you chose this program: I knew that I wanted to study abroad in Europe, but in a country where the native language was not English and yet somewhere where it would still be possible for me to communicate and interact in the culture. I knew nothing about Scandinavia, let alone Denmark, and was excited by the unfamiliarity and yet proximity to cities I did know about such as London or Madrid. I ultimately decided on DIS for its abundance and diverse class options, positive experiences from peers, and for me most importantly, Denmark’s reputation as one of the happiest countries in the world.
Favorite class: My favorite class was Positive Psychology. This was my core course while in Denmark, and therefore was an influential part of my experience in Copenhagen. Denmark is currently ranked as the second happiest country in the world, and was in first place when I applied and was accepted to DIS. Knowing this piece of information in addition to the slowly rising popularity of positive psychology in the States, I thought that taking a class so unique to Denmark would help to engage my interest in psychology and yet also widen my perspective of the subject. At the beginning of most of these classes, my professor led with a short meditation followed by a class discussion of topics ranging from mindfulness and optimism to what makes a person or society not only content, but happy. One of my favorite parts of the class included our week-long field study to Budapest. There, we spoke with local Hungarians about domestic contentment and actively learned outside of the classroom.
Housing situation: I lived in a kollegium, a dormitory where Danish and visiting American students live. My kollegium was located a short walk from the heart of Copenhagen in Christianhavn. When I wasn’t vigorously biking to class, my roommates and I leisurely walked there, stopping for delicious kanelsnegls (cinnamon rolls) most mornings. I lived in a triple, with a shared floor kitchen and bathroom. I grew incredibly close with both my roommates and floor-mates. We had a weekly floor dinner where different teams from the floor cooked for the rest. It was truly one of the best living arrangements I have ever experienced and an eternal, incredible network of friends.
Best memory: Definitely sitting on the spacious, greenery outside of Frederiksberg Castle on sunny spring afternoons with some of my best friends from the semester. We hung out on the grass admiring the castle, abundance of flowers around us, and festivities of the lawn. On those days, I realized how much Denmark values hygge, or coziness, and companionship over long work hours for example.
Greatest challenge: Deciding what would make my time abroad most productive. In other words, I always thought that traveling, sightseeing, and running about Denmark was what my experience abroad was supposed to include, in order feel fully immersive. I realized much later in the semester that although seeing everything that Denmark had to offer was a great way to experience the country, that living as I would in the US such as watching TV with friends or cooking dinner could be equally immersive. Remember, you’re living abroad.
What you know now that you didn't know before: Biking is by far the most viable form of transportation. We need more bike lanes in the States!
Fact about (country) that you think people would be surprised to learn: Danishes (the pastry) aren’t actually a Danish creation!