Wednesday, July 25, 2012


One thing they don't tell you during the study abroad application process is that merely selecting your study site is not the last important decision you will make. Once you're admitted to your program, there are a million and one other choices you'll have to consider. What classes will you take? Where will you travel during breaks? What will you do about cellphones? How many suitcases can you handle sanely at the airport? Where will you live?

It's this last question that I grappled with for a while. Some of my friends going to other countries are required to live with a host families; other have to live in dorms. DIS offered a variety of housing options ranging from student dorms to host families to communal apartments. I loved the idea of living with a host family but was hesitant about making it my first choice. What if they lived faraway from school? How would I commute on weekend nights? What if they didn't like me? I'm already jetting off to a new country; the last thing I wanted to worry about was feeling uncertain about my housing choice.

As I weighed the pros and cons of the different options, I came across the offer to have a "visiting family"; DIS offers to connect those not living with families to local Danes who are interested in getting to know an American student. It could not have been a more perfect match for what I was looking to get out of my experience in Copenhagen. I wasn't sure how comfortable I'd be living with a Danish family but I absolutely wanted to experience the country like a local. I ended up electing to live in a student dorm but immediately signed up for the visiting program and I cannot wait to meet my new family.

Perhaps I'm playing it safe by living in the dorms; they say to do one new thing a day that scares you so I guess I'll have to find other ways to push my boundaries while in Copenhagen. I want to make the most out my stay and thus I hope to spend a solid chunk of time with my visiting family. Even though I'm not living with them, I'm still anxious about meeting them. Will they be as excited as am I? Will they want to show me around? Will they think all my questions about their country and culture are silly? I'm sure they signed up for the program because they want to meet me too. I haven't found out who they are yet but I want to bring them a gift from the States as a token of my appreciation. Now I have another big decision to make...but I'm pretty sure picking out a present will be a fun thing to decide.

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