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Harshita Gudipudi

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Neuroscience & Exercise and Sports Science/Medical Anthropology
Program: DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Term: Summer 2023


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I chose to study abroad to learn about the culture in other countries. I absolutely love to travel and explore new areas, but you cannot truly understand people's lifestyles in other countries until you live there yourself. Therefore, I knew studying abroad would provide me with a new perspective on the world and allow me to step out of my comfort zone! I selected DIS-Study Abroad in Scandinavia because they had lots of classes that pertained to my interests. Additionally, one of the sessions included a week long study tour to a different country, which really appealed to me because I wanted to explore other countries in Europe as well.


What did you learn about yourself?
My study abroad experience was the first time in a long time I had to start all over. UNC is an in-state college for me, so it has been a while since I had to start from scratch and meet new people. Therefore, this experience taught me who I am as a person. I learned more about my interests and what kinds of people I get along with. Additionally, I learned how to be independent and navigate a foreign country by myself. I had to do lots of problem solving when it came to understanding the public transit and the social norms, so it allowed me to improve my creativity skills as well. Denmark was a completely new environment for me, and interacting with individuals from a completely different background allowed me to delve deeper within myself.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories from the program was meeting my Danish roommate. She was super welcoming and was eager to show me around. She introduced me to all of her friends and I felt like I fit in immediately, even though I was in a foreign country. I am super appreciative of her and am so happy I now have a lifelong friend in Denmark:).


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Because you are in a completely foreign environment, being abroad can be intimidating. You may feel homesick sometimes, and that's totally okay! It's important to remember you are not alone and are able to reach out to anyone you are studying abroad with. I made a very good friend by just talking to her about my anxieties of being abroad, and we bonded over how much we could relate to each other. Try to enjoy your abroad trip as much as you can, as this will be an experience you will never forget!


How do you identify?
Student of color


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
The majority of Denmark is inhabited by ethnic Danes. Therefore, I was a little intimidated traveling there as an Indian woman. However, my Danish roommate ended up being an Indian who was adopted by Danish individuals. Therefore, meeting someone who shared my culture but had a completely different background gave me a very diverse perspective of the world!


Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
Do not be afraid to travel to a country that is not too diverse! You will definitely find people who will welcome you with open arms no matter how different you are from them:)