A close friend invited me to visit her host family and her in Copenhagen, Denmark for a long weekend. Once I met her family, petted their golden retriever, and finished a home cooked meal, I was overwhelmingly happy for my friend. She deserved this wonderful experience! I could not help but feel a desire to also live with a compatible host family for support and cultural integration. Although I sincerely appreciate my apartment space and independence, joining her home-stay for those few days provided further insight on how living situations could influence the overall experience.
Besides Danish pastries and the Little Mermaid, I did not know what to expect of Copenhagen and was thereby grateful that my friend had encouraged me to explore her beloved city. Copenhagen is famous for its modern architecture and design while Amsterdam celebrates its artistic revolutions and urban planning. The area is spacious but safely manageable with its grid system whereas the center of Amsterdam is a focal point for orientation. Even though I considered the Dutch to be laid-back, Copenhagen had a relaxed pace of life and lower population density. Noticing these similarities and differences between these two cities, I became more conscientious about our decisions on study abroad locations.
Eating opened-face sandwiches, admiring the sunrise in the countryside, and walking around Christiana, I greatly enjoyed a chance to briefly participate in the Danish culture. Just as I had fallen in lust with the glamour of Paris, I admired the impeccable taste of Copenhagen. The “what if” questions had been on my mind, and I sometimes doubt my decisions. Yet, it is unnecessary to compare one study abroad experience with another and judge on what should be the “better” or “right” experience. We are in control of our personal experiences, interpretations, and feelings. As I grow to be more comfortable with Amsterdam and my actions, I recognize that I had picked the place that was appropriate for me in terms of what I wanted and more importantly, need. This insight is more than satisfying.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I am an art history and psychology major who decided to escape Southern California and explore the four seasons in rural Williams College. I love engaging in spontaneous adventures and finding great spots off the beaten path. I enjoy viewing and creating travel and food albums. Wish me luck in finding the perfect scarf and all the European cheeses!</span></p>