Greetings from Copenhagen​!

 

My name is Joevita Weah and I am an Environmental Geoscience major at DePauw University.

I will be studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark through DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad). While in Copenhagen I will be studying Glaciers and Human Impact: Icelandic Climate Change Case Study as a core course and living in the Green Living-Learning Center

My elective courses are:
Renewable Energy Systems
Waste Management Systems in Europe
Environmental Economics
Danish Language and Culture

I plan to update this blog regularly about my academics, travel, and relationships abroad. I plan to post pictures, thoughts, and recaps to bring a little bit of Denmark to you.

Best,
Joescreen shot 2019-01-10 at 10.09.07 pm

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That one time in Malmö

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I  feel like I should make a separate post about my time in Malmö, Sweden because it was actually life-changing. This is not going to be the typical study abroad life-changing post. It was one of the most surreal out-of-body experiences I’ve had in probably ever.

Before I start, it’s important to note that Malmö is about a 45 min bus ride from Copenhagen. There’s a really cool bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden and it cost around $10 round trip to go. We decided to stay overnight even though most DIS students only go for the day because we wanted to see how the city was at night.  I think the decision to stay the night is what causes the domino effect of events. As we were driving the bus driver had a very eerie low voice and talked for about 10 minutes while we drove through an uncomfortably long tunnel. When we passed customs a passenger was escorted off of the bus for what I assume not having the right kind of identification. (Students always brings your passport no matter how close)

The city itself, at only 8pm, was quiet. There were barely people on the streets and not a lot of signs of movement. Our Airbnb was 15 minutes from the city center and looked exactly like an apartment complex is (insert African part of Minneapolis or Maryland). No one really populated the area and we got very ominous vibes. On the flip side, there was really cheap food and groceries, but everything else was surreal.

In the morning as we waited for the bus stop it was very overcast which didn’t help with our feelings of eeriness. There were also ravens and loud clicking coming from the meters on the street. We ventured to a mall and there were around 5 guards protecting a line to one store that had a sale.

After migrating a bit more into the city center Malmo started to look a lot like Copenhagen. There were older buildings with colors and statues and shops. Because we were in Sweden and because we had seen many different faces of Malmö we decided to go to IKEA.

IKEA in Sweden is another experience in itself and yes I would recommend going all the way to Sweden to go to IKEA. Did a bunch of 20 something-year-olds walks around and see every section/display within the 2 floors of IKEA? Yes. Did we regret it? No. There was also a pretty big restaurant and I got Swedish meatballs. I don’t want to get super sentimental, but meatballs have a special place in my heart. They’re versatile yet so simple. The Swedish meatballs were Much different from the meatballs I’ve had at home (home cooked) but the sauce did really give it a little something extra.

I’m going to do an actual post about what I did the rest of the week I just thought it was important to highlight this trip and also so I wouldn’t forget a single moment of my unique experience with Malmö.

Tak,

Joe

Electric Feel of the City

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I’ve been thinking of all the ways to begin this blog because so much has happened. I should probably start with first impressions of Denmark. It’s completely not what I expected, yet exactly what I expected. Even though the city is quiet it is also very busy. It doesn’t feel desolate or anything, but I also don’t feel as if I’m in the middle of a huge crowd.

I think my housing situation is going to be the most impactful part of my stay in Denmark. Do you know when you just click with a group of people? That’s how I feel about my floor on the green LLC. There are so many different personalities but we all have a common trait that is hard to explain. Maybe it was our eagerness to establish house rules and chores. Maybe it was our mutual love of staying home and snacking on discounted Brie. Whatever it is, I find myself effortlessly spending time with my new home and my new family.

We also enjoy doing activities together. We’ve gone grocery shopping together, supply shopping together, we’ve visited Nyhaven and the botanical gardens and we’ve bikes together. I almost feel like we’ve spent too much time together for the first weeks so I’m eager to set up some alone time. Nyhaven was as beautiful as google images presented it to be. We were also lucky because many tourists don’t visit it during the winter season. I was also surprised at how small it was. I had about the same reaction to the botanical garden, but the weather really put a damper on what we could see outside for free. The palm house, however, was really warm and I appreciated the amount of mineral they had out with the succulents. It reminded me that I needed to see the geology museum.

Now feel free to ignore this part, but I’m going to talk about two food adventures. One good and one bad to balance each other out. After the botanical gardens, we (I) decided we wanted hot dogs from Pølsevogn. After walking around for several minutes and wandering around the glass market for what felt like years we realized we were looking at the wrong place. After almost going to the corporate office of one of the Pølsevogns and finding ourselves in a public restroom we realized the hotdog stand didn’t exist anymore. Instead, we just got hotdogs from 7 eleven.
Hotdog: 1, Joe: 0.

On the flip side, one of my housemates and myself walked a little bit from our street and found a really good and cheap pizza place called Pizzeria Florentina. We want to make it our go-to pizza place because there are so many different options. It also only cost around 8 for a whole pizza!!

Classes at DIS, however, have been a bit of a different experience. DIS has had us do a lot in the first week such as the opening ceremony, book pickup, and tours around the campus. I think with jet lag all of the activities started to blur. I’m very interested in my classes so far and really appreciate my professors but I’m kind of worried about the prevalence if “oral exams” on so many syllabi.

Just a Stranger

I’m currently reflecting in my own bed for the last time in what will be a long time. A year ago today I was in the warm beach city of Nha Trang, Vietnam and had no thoughts of home. As I prepare to head to Copenhagen I know the weather has been about the same as Indiana and that gives me a bit of comfort. I know I will be reminded of home. Besides the weather, everything about the next four months has seemed so far away. Copenhagen resembles a stranger that I have yet to meet. I know a lot about what my semester will look like, but it still feels unreal.

At DIS there are core courses and elective courses. Often individuals chose a core course that aligns with their field of study at their home universities. Some, however, chose to branch out. My core course incorporates a case study involving glaciers in Iceland. I’m excited about this core because it integrates actual human impact scenarios and climate change. DIS incorporates field study trips within the semester so we will visit many different places that supplement the course. Aside from my interest, this course will count towards my Environmental Geoscience degree at DePauw University. Whoo graduating on time!!

I have spent the past few weeks saying my final goodbyes to friends and family (yes, I know it sounds like I’m going away forever). A lot of DePauw students study abroad and the majority of those students study abroad during the spring semester of their junior year. A good chunk of us will embark on our own little study abroad adventures and its pretty cool to see and hear about everyone’s experiences. I’ve probably had some sort of shared food related goodbyes with at least 20 of my closest friends to prepare for the 5 months of separation. I’m sad, but also anxious, to get started on my own endeavors.

I’ve also been preparing for the actual journey. I continuously fight against my urge to over prepare and my hate of having too much stuff. I have settled on one checked bag and reluctantly a carry on along with my backpack. I don’t think the trip will be too hard as I enjoy a long ride, but I’m extremely worried about navigating through.

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