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Willem Kloempken

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: History + Peace, War and Defense/Geographic Information Systems
Program: Danish Institute for Study Abroad
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark + Stockholm, Sweden
Term: Summer 2022


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I wanted to see the world and develop both myself and my resume. I also wanted to see a part of the world I'd never been to and that was close enough to the United States culturally-speaking that would facilitate a successful experience for me living on my own. Scandinavia also has low crime rates, high rates of English fluency, and a temperate summer climate with beautiful natural landscapes.


What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I don't need to rely on others as much as I thought I did. I also learned that I'm pretty tame and enjoy being outdoors and in nature as much or more than being in city centers.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
I have quite a few favorite memories, but one that comes to mind is the day I took the train out of Copenhagen to Roskilde. After an hour train ride through a picturesque countryside, I was able to spend my afternoon in Roskilde Cathedral and visiting the Viking Ship Museum; both places of historical import in northern Europe.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
My advice for future students would be to not stretch yourself too thin, but be sure to take advantage of your opportunities. Easier said than done, I know, but be open to new experiences within reason.


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
Just as an American abroad, there are some noticeable differences. People are much less likely to smile and start up conversations, and you may get some dirty looks (especially from servers who may think Americans are loud and dirty). On the whole, people are very polite, though.


Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
People may have stereotypes about Americans (cowboys, racism, guns, etc.,) so tread carefully when confronting these.


If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?
Talk to other Americans


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