About My Study Abroad Program
Major/Minor: Business Administration major/Computer Science minor
Program: DIS: Copenhagen
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Term: Summer 2020
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
The most common piece of advice I've gotten from college graduates is that if you have the opportunity to study abroad, do it. Studying abroad was always in the back of my mind as a student but having never traveled overseas before, the idea was intimidating, to say the least. On the other hand, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and experiencing an entirely new culture was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. After struggling to find many programs that excited me at a study abroad fair, I was heading out when I saw a table of faculty-led programs. I realized that a faculty-led program would be the perfect addition of familiarity to such a new, exciting experience for me. On the table, I saw a flyer for a Computer Science course that was going to be taught by my favorite professor at Carolina. In that instant, I knew that this program was the right one for me.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned more about myself in my three weeks abroad than I ever thought I would! One of my favorite things I learned about myself was my strength in adversity. Having never traveled overseas, stepping off the plane into an airport filled with signs in Danish and unfamiliar people was overwhelming. To make matters worse, I've never been a person who's great with directions or maps. However, no matter how many times I felt lost (or actually got lost) or things didn't go according to plan, I stayed resilient and optimistic. Now, when I face a challenge in my everyday life, I reflect on my experiences in Copenhagen and am reminded that there's always a way to overcome it. Sometimes, I just need to get a little creative.
What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
My favorite memory from my study abroad program was our last Wednesday in Copenhagen. The weather was gorgeous, so my classmates, my professor, and I went to the canal to go swimming. We felt just like the Danes living out their hygge lifestyles -- a Danish word meaning a feeling of contentment and well-being from enjoying simple things in life. It was the perfect way to take in the beauty of Denmark and reflect on our experiences throughout our three weeks abroad. I wouldn't have wanted to spend one of my last days in Denmark any other way.
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
My biggest piece of advice for study abroad students is to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. When you're in a new country, it's important to recognize that things will go wrong and you often may not exactly understand what's going on around you. Embrace the differences you encounter and use them to learn and grow as a person.
Would you do it again?
I would study abroad again in a heartbeat!
How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at UNC?
Although I took an exact course that's offered at UNC, my experience with taking the class abroad far exceeded my expectations. I went into the experience thinking that the course and my environment wouldn't have much impact on one another, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they were intertwined in the most perfect way. During our time abroad, we visited design and art museums that inspired the designs of our course projects. We even had the opportunity to travel to Aarhus, Denmark for a weekend, where we listened to a technical talk from a Google engineer. Taking my class abroad could not have had a more positive impact on my learning experience!