There are two kinds of travel that one experiences while studying abroad. The first is the itinerary based hopscotch version. In this type, each day is spent jumping between tourist locations and public transportation, trying to check off as many sites as possible while still maintaining a quality visit to each place. I shall call this ‘Type A’ travel. The second is the ‘long-term’ travel style. This ‘Type B’ version is built through an entire semester spent in a city—strolling the streets of an unfamiliar foreign country long enough that they transform into familiar home. I used to get irritated while walking down Copenhagen’s Vestergade 7 (the street where the DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad) campus is located),
because it felt like every time I heard an American accent in a passing conversation, it was always talking about booking the next flight to Paris, or all the cool places that were on the “To See” bucket list. People studying for an entire year or semester in a countr…

23 things I appreciate about Denmark.

The bikes. The train. That you can bike onto the train and go wherever your heart desires and then roll off onto a bustling and well paved bike path. Flødeboller Softice (contact me regarding prices and directions for the 7 closest parlors around DIS)
Calling all the professors by their first names. The air dry laundry racks--most homes don't dry their laundry in a drier but have these nifty hanging boards you can put for one night in front of a fire place and poof! Dry. What an efficient use of energy. The stoplights that turn yellow before they turn green--gives those bikers time to mount their pedals and hit the street at the first flash of green. That most cars automatically turn off at stoplights to conserve energy.The metro. The proximity to Norway/Sweden/Scotland/Finland where Wild Camping is permitted.Cobblestone Courtyards. Cobblestone never cracks. It's MADE of cracks--therefore it never really looks bad or trashy!Courtyards in general. The two elevator options.
Very narrow…

A Patchy History of Copenhagen from the Architectural Perspective

The classroom for 2:50pm '20 & 21st century Danish architecture' in Vestergade 7, can only be reached by laboring up 4 flights of a spindly spiral staircase. There are two options: the indoor stairwell with it's yellow steps--so steep and sloping that one day, some poor student will slide from the glazed enamel to their death in the DIS basement, or, there's the metal cage out in the courtyard that hosts these narrow steel rungs which curl around in such a dizzy way that they instill the feeling one is about to plummit onto the cobblestones below. The 2:50 class is proud to boast of a 0 casualty count so far.

It might be nice to be up so high, to look out over the tiled Copenhagen rooftops from Vestergade 7, but there's only one window that's visible from the corner where I sit, and it's so narrow that only a sliver of skyline peeks through the rippling glass. It's the kind of window that makes you itch to tear down the adjoining wall and reveal the…

What The College Language Requirement Fails to Teach

My experience with high-school Spanish was a little like trying to remember to floss every-day. I knew it was supposed to be good for my all-around educational health, but I could never remember where to put “accentos”, vocabulary was an endless struggle, and however much I gargled and spat in class, I was physically incapable of rolling my ‘r’s. Despite my three tumultuous years in high school, I only succeeded in testing out of one semester for the St. Olaf 4-class language requirement. I bitterly fought my way through 111, 231, and threw a personal fiesta on May 16th last spring when I stepped out of my 232 final. I never really understood the necessity of this education requirement and was always a little irritated that it stole three of my precious classes, but after a week wandering the streets of Copenhagen, the lilting exchanges between people seemed suspiciously alluring. Long strings of noise that sounded like complete gibberish to my English ears resulted in roars of laught…

Time Spent on Trains

The time spent on trains is both fleeting and contemplative. The landscape flicks between dark tunnel and exotic scenery, like slides on an old projector. It’s so quick, so quick… But there’s so much time to think about it passing.
The time spent on trains is different than time spent on airplanes, as it actually requires investment in the environment. It makes the destination that much more rewarding, because of a participation in the journey.
The time spent on trains is a community time. A group of travelers— united by the need to relocate. Watching people’s lives exist, and for a fleeting second existing with them… but then passing through to different destinations.
The time spent on trains is spellbinding. The cars curl around the coast of a narrow, snaking fjord. Mountains climb straight out of the water, while white strings of waterfall pull the rocks back down. The little houses seem impossibly nestled between sheer cliff walls, as if someone challenged the builders that the terrain would be too diff…