Greetings from Copenhagen!
Colby, greetings from Copenhagen, Denmark!
Perhaps you are sitting there wondering, “Hmm…Denmark, where was that again?” If you are, I don’t blame you because I did the exact same thing several months ago.
I have always known that I would study abroad some day, but I think it’s funny that I ended up in Denmark, because I never considered it as a possibility. When I was younger, I always envisioned myself in Paris, Australia or Africa. However, as the years passed, I never took a French class, so Paris was out of the question. When I got to Colby, I decided to major in biology; Australia would have been a perfect fit, as it is a biologist’s paradise with a plethora of exotic plants and animals and interesting ecosystems.
However, when it was finally time to decide, Australia just didn’t have the same appeal to me as it did several years ago, so I scratched that idea. As for studying abroad in Africa, as soon as I mentioned the idea to my mother, she immediately put her foot down on that one, so Africa was out, too. While I pondered my options during summer break, I remembered that a good friend of mine studied abroad in Copenhagen the previous semester and absolutely loved it, so I checked out the program’s website. Several months later, I found myself on the longest flight of my life from Maui, Hawaii, to Phoenix, Ariz., to New York, N.Y., to Reykjavik, Iceland to Copenhagen, Denmark. I left Hawaii on Friday evening and arrived in Denmark on Sunday afternoon.
To make a long story short, deciding to study abroad here in Denmark was probably one of the best decisions of my life, besides my decision to study at Colby, of course. My program, Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS), is one of the best programs that I’ve been involved with because of the courses it offers, its housing options, its extracurricular programs and the travel opportunities.
I decided that I wanted to live with a host family and really get immersed in Danish language and culture, and DIS placed me with the perfect family–I now live in a quaint town about an hour and a half from Copenhagen with a family of seven, a dog, a cat and two guinea pigs. It’s a full house and I love it.
Here at DIS, I’m enrolled in the Medical Practice and Policy program (MPP) and am taking five courses: Human Health and Disease, Medical Ethics, Biology of Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic, Danish Language and Culture and European Storytelling. MPP is a program designed for those who are considering a future in medicine. It offers a more hands-on approach to learning, so all of my lectures are held in a local hospital, and we often have field studies in which we learn basic practical skills such as reading blood pressures, inserting IVs and catheters, CPR and much more.
Another important aspect of this program is the comparative aspect between eastern and western medical practice and policy. In order to do so, we get to travel around Denmark and the rest of Europe to analyze these differences. In February, I traveled with my class to Western Denmark for three days to learn more about the Danish health care system, and just this past week, I traveled again with my class to Budapest, Hungary, and to Vienna, Austria, to compare the similarities and differences between eastern and western health care. Needless to say, I learned a lot not only about the health care systems, but also about the rich cultures of the countries and of my classmates.
When I first left to study abroad several months ago, I knew that I was embarking on a trip of a lifetime. I had no idea what to expect since I had never been to Europe and grew up in a small town on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. However, everything I have experienced and will experience is simply amazing, and I can’t seem to find the words to describe how I’m feeling. All I know is that I have been blessed with the opportunity to study abroad, and I sincerely hope that everyone gets the chance to do so.
Hej hej, Kelsey Naruse ’13