Russell Barnes was a senior majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering through the College of Engineering when he studied abroad in an OSU exchange program in Copenhagen, Denmark. This program allowed him to take classes at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) for a whole semester. Read on to learn about the challenges and benefits of being abroad in Denmark!
It wouldn’t be a proper blog post about studying in Denmark if I didn’t mention the part about actually living here! Taking trips earlier in the semester worked perfectly because I was able to wind them down in the second half and spend more time in Copenhagen as the weather slowly improved. I didn’t understand how seasonal affective disorder could exist until coming to Denmark in January when, even during the daytime, the sky still didn’t quite reach full brightness. It’s funny looking at the photos from earlier in the semester when it was dark, cold and snowing because our daylight hours now surpass Portland by about two hours, and they’re growing longer each day.
Something that I won’t miss about Denmark is shopping for food. Grocery stores are small and with a limited selection, and, like most businesses here, their hours are shorter than what I’m used to. Some stores call themselves 24 hours, but what they mean is that they’re open til midnight. The packages of food are also smaller, so I wound up going grocery shopping with two to three times the frequency that I would back home. A good effect of this is that it’s easier to keep stocked with more fresh food when you’re going more often. Also, I think it’s funny how bewildered people are when they see me eating potato chips with lunch. They see chips like how we might see popcorn or Mike and Ikes: something that you only eat during movies or parties.
It has been awesome being surrounded by people from all over the world, and I have learned so much about different cultures and countries. Some groups of students tended to band together with peers from their own countries, U.S. students included, but I tried to avoid doing that because the whole point of the exchange program is to be around people of other cultures. In fact, I’ve barely seen the other OSU exchange student here, and I think that we’re both perfectly okay with that. Even with that in mind, it’s still cool meeting other Americans here because everyone else is from the East Coast or Midwest. Seeing how multilingual young Europeans are makes me wish that we had better language education, but I think that there is a lot more motivation for Europeans to learn other languages than there is for us because of their high language diversity and the utility of English skills in the working world.
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