Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

REVIEW: Studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark

Courtesy of Dajah Saul

I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark for a Loyola faculty-led study abroad program for all of July. I had never been outside of the United States before, and I had received my first passport only months before the application deadline. I never thought that I would end up in Copenhagen, Denmark for my first time abroad, but life has an interesting way to change my mind.
My parents wanted me to try a study abroad program during college, as neither of my parents ever got the opportunity to. I was nervous the entire time leading up to the trip, and I tried to have everything I needed prepared before my flights. Yes, flights – three, to be exact, going there to Copenhagen and coming back to New Orleans once the trip was over (so, six in total).

I had no idea what to expect. I searched through every student article on the international study abroad website (DIS), narrowed down grocery stores near the apartment, and established a walking route to the classroom building. Nothing could have prepared me for how great of a time I would have in Denmark. From living above a coffeehouse, to visiting castles, to steering a Viking boat, there is much to discuss from my first time abroad.
I was at ease when discussing the program with the professors coming along: English Professor Dr. Elizabeth Watkins, History Professor Dr. Allison Edgren, and Philosophy Professor Dr. Jack Stetter. Through all of the meetings we had beforehand, as well as finding out that Dr. Edgren had been to Denmark before, my excitement overwhelmed my nerves.
All of the students had a choice to take two out of three classes offered, all which could fulfill a Loyola core class requirement:
· ENGL N294: Monsters and Marvels of Medieval Scandinavia with Dr. Watkins
· HIST Q294: The Viking Age: Myth, Memory, and Medievalism with Dr. Edgren
· PHIL U240: European WorldViews with Dr. Stetter

As an English major with a love for medieval history, I think you can figure out which two classes I chose (no offense to Dr. Stetter, even though I sat in on his philosophy class once or twice in complete confusion). We had class 2-4 times a week for an hour and a half each, with field trips to supplement learning outside of the classroom on other days.
Our study abroad group stayed in an apartment complex right in the middle of Copenhagen, whose citizens pride themselves on riding bicycles rather than driving cars. I had five other students living in the same apartment as me, so besides class, we were bound to interact. Some of my roommates and I even ended up starting a Dungeons and Dragons campaign two weeks into the program, which we have to find ways to get back into since we’re back in school now.
Below the apartments lived one of the best coffeehouses I’ve ever been to: Emmery’s. When I say I went to Emmery’s at least 2-3 times a week, let’s just say it didn’t help that students had a 10% discount to use, courtesy of our organization DIS Copenhagen.

It also didn’t help (but definitely did) that there were a couple of grocery stores right across and down the street from the apartment, since in Copenhagen, frequent grocery shopping is a must. And no worries with interacting with locals, as the majority of Denmark speaks English!
One of the best aspects of Copenhagen was the transportation systems. Besides being able to walk 20-30 minutes to get to any desired destination or classroom, the metro train was always on time and efficient. My roommates and I would take the metro at any point of the day, waiting for it to arrive on time to wherever we were going (also, no offense to New Orleans transportation).
Unlike other study abroad programs, our study abroad group had plenty of field trips to fully immerse ourselves into medieval and Danish culture. There were many trips to choose from, but if you ever visit Denmark, I recommend:

Frederiksborg Castle:
Considering I had never been to a castle before, Frederiksborg was impressive. There is a large fountain in front of the entrance with statues of Greek and Danish mythology (did I mention that Denmark has a love for architecture, especially with their fountains?). Inside of the castle housed historical clothing, intricate architecture, astrological artworks, and a chapel that played music that sounded like it belonged in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” There was also a large garden area surrounding the castle, giving ample time to walk around and discover plants and statues that you’ve never even heard of.
Sidenote: Denmark also loves their fish and chicken salad, and the chicken salad at the Frederiksborg Castle café was to die for.

Viking Ship Museum:
While there was not much to walk through and see in the museum itself, it was the activity afterwards that sealed this location as my favorite of the trips: rowing a medieval Viking ship, even though I can’t really swim and had never been in a boat before. Our entire study abroad group sat in one large boat (with life vests, of course) and sailed into the Baltic Sea to have the view of a lifetime. I was shocked by how much I enjoyed steering with my fellow classmates, as well as being the person to pull the sail in to turn the boat.
Sidenote: Our group also took a train to get to this location, so you should have seen my excitement in the train station (which the professors definitely laughed at me about), as I had also never been on a train before.

National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum of Kunst):
This gallery, which I also used as my final project for the history class, was gorgeous within its interior and exterior. There is a large fountain in front of the gallery (see the love of the fountains yet?), and beautiful marble stairs to enter into the building. Our group had gallery passes to all of the exhibits, but I promise that I still didn’t manage to walk through all of the exhibits. There was a quiet station to sketch various statues displayed (I sketched a goat), and over three floors of beautiful art, film, and surrealism to look through. I found some paintings in that building that I still think about today.
Sidenote: I’m looking at you, Trompe-l’oeil style paintings.

One aspect of studying abroad for true immersion into Copenhagen were the host family dinners. Through our DIS program, students were separated into small groups and placed with a host family for a night of traditional Danish cuisine (and you can never beat a home cooked meal). Two of my roommates and I were paired with a mother and daughter, who lived about forty minutes outside of Copenhagen. They served us a traditional Danish chicken dish, tea, and the most delicious pavlova dessert I’ve ever had (and had only seen on cooking shows beforehand). They also showed us around their neighborhood, and the mother let us play with their cat, who felt just as included in our dinner.

If you’ve ever had doubts about studying abroad, don’t. Copenhagen, Denmark was easily the best trip and decision I have made in a long time. While my trip is only a glimpse into studying abroad and the world of Denmark, I highly recommend going abroad at least once while in college. What did I possibly know about Denmark before spending four weeks there on a Loyola faculty-led program? Absolutely nothing. But I wouldn’t change my mind about going for another round of Copenhagen, that’s for sure.

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About the Contributor
Dajah Saul
Dajah Saul, The Wolf Editor
Dajah Saul currently serves as The Maroon’s Wolf Editor. Dajah is a senior majoring in English with a concentration in Film and Digital Media, and she is interested in pursuing the publication or film industry in her future. In her free time, Dajah loves to read, listen to a variety of music with her headphones at all times, and absorb any form of pop culture in the media to rant about. Dajah can be reached at [email protected].

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    TraceyOct 6, 2023 at 2:44 pm

    Amazing writing Dajah. I am truly proud to be your mother.