C(OPEN)hagen for Business: My First Week

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”

Seneca

I apologize for being MIA, I promise I’m alive (as my Snapchat and Instagram show). This week has been a hectic one to say the least. The first day I arrived we had a short introduction session before I was picked up by my homestay family.

About them: Johannes, my homestay brother, is 7 and a bit of a wild child. He has some of the most energy I’ve ever seen in my life. Luckily, he is proficient in English because he absorbs YouTube videos like it’s his job. Annette is my homestay mother, and she is an emergency room nurse at the nearby hospital. She’s learning Italian, the piano, and any bit of Southern slang I can provide her. My homestay father is Christian, an independent marketing consultant for the healthcare industry. He works from home and is often concocting new, delicious recipes for our family dinners (which are sit-down and enjoyed together practically every evening). Last but not least is Mika (mee-kuh), the family’s Samoyed. She’s extraordinarily happy all the time (and requires endless attention), though she does have a penchant to ruin all of my favorite white clothing. There’s actually a direct correlation between how dirty Mika is and Annette’s blood pressure.

Other than that, here’s what I’ve been up to since I got here:

Starting DIS

We have begun orientation and classes, so I’m already drowning in homework (not really). I’m excited about designing for European cities, and we’ve already begun working on a project in the meatpacking district of Copenhagen (called Kødbyen), a trendy, up-and-coming entertainment district.

Other than that, I am taking a course on urban sketching, Danish language and Danish design, all of which I’m extraordinarily excited for.

Exploring

Since I’ve gotten here, I’ve begun thinking about where else I want to go. I’ve already booked trips to Munich for Oktoberfest, London for a Queen concert, Norway for a kayaking trip and there’s another few with studio that are currently escaping me. I’m trying to figure out when I have free time other than that so that I can go somewhere else. Luckily, I’m here for an entire year so I have a bit more time.

Also, I’ve been exploring the city. On one of my first days here, DIS organized a scavenger hunt across the city so that we could see major tourist destinations and get some of their backgrounds. Other than that, I’ve been to Paper Island (Papirøen) twice, which is the coolest food market ever. I’ve also explored Nyhavn and the bar scene a bit.

Trying to Blend In

I like to think that I’m a chameleon and not a stereotypical American tourist. Copenhagen fashion is super cool (you’ll see a post about that later), and I’ve been attempting to emulate it. Half the time everyone’s wearing some super-cool sneakers with modest hemlines and some amazing leather jackets (in all black), AKA exactly up my alley. I’ve been trying my best to dress like the cool girls I see on the S-trains.

The Danish language is a nightmare. Nothing is pronounced how it spells and half the vowels make it feel like I need the Heimlich, so I stick out like a sore thumb any time I need to say something other than “thank you” (tak) or “excuse me” (undskyld). I’ll get there eventually, hopefully.

Other than that, I’ve just been spending my time familiarizing myself with the city. It’s extraordinarily safe here, so during the daylight hours I’ve wandered along the harbor, through the King’s Garden (Kongens Hove) and the botanical gardens.


This week has been amazing, and I continually find myself tearing up at the fact I actually live here. Here’s to more good weeks going forward!

Danish Phrase of the Day: Skål!

Pronounced: “skull”

Definition: Cheers!

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