Wednesday, September 26, 2012


According to numerous sources, the Danes are the happiest people in the world. There are plenty of different theories as to why they consistently rank at the top of the world list: everything from low expectations to the welfare state have been targeted as the root of their happiness. Living in Copenhagen, it makes sense for me to embrace the happiness theme and work towards having my happiest semester yet.

But there's a catch: I'm not a Dane. I have high expectations for my time abroad (which means I could be let down) and I'm not entitled to most of the benefits given out by the government (meaning I have to worry about things that the Danes don't). So how then, can I be the happiest version of myself? Over the summer I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. An American author and self-made happiness expert, she suggested that the best way she found to achieve happiness was to "be Gretchen." Extending this theory to myself, I should simply "be Hillary" while abroad. And Hillary likes to be busy.

Even though I wrote over the summer about how I wanted to have free time to explore Copenhagen, the truth is that I like to be busy. This semester was going to be the first time I didn't have a job since graduating high school but today I landed an internship.

(You can see all the major towers from the office window)

I'll be working at ScienceNordic, a year-old digitally based company that works to provide high quality science news from the Nordic countries. They're looking to attract more American and academic readers so my task will be finding ways to market their stories and website to a culture that I know well. I have a background in marketing and a passion for sustainability so this will be a cool way to combine two of my seemingly unrelated interests.

I debated wether or not to pursue an internship while abroad but I ultimately decided that it would be a fantastic immersion activity. It's a completely different way to get involved in the culture even if it's at a desk or behind a computer. My coworkers will be Danes and Norwegians and I'll be working in a European market. I'm equally excited about working for the company as I am about working in a foreign country.

Fear not though, my hours will be flexible and I'll still have plenty of time to enjoy Denmark and explore Europe. Just last night I booked a trip to Paris with a friend from high school. I may not have the same sources of happiness as the Danes but not even the rain can dampen my mood. Happiness is what you make it and I'm pretty happy with what I'm making of my semester thus far.

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