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Life > Experiences

A Joint Review of DIS Copenhagen

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

A Bit About Us

Jordan is a senior at CU Boulder and studied abroad in the summer of 2022. She studied in Copenhagen, Denmark through the DIS program.

Madison is a sophomore at CU and studied abroad in May and June of 2023. She studied in Copenhagen, Denmark through the DIS program as well. 

A Bit About DIS

DIS – Study Abroad in Scandinavia is a company based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Stockholm, Sweden. Founded in 1959, DIS hosts both semester-long, academic year, and summer programs, offering “high-impact learning experiences for upper-division undergraduate students from distinguished North American colleges and universities.” DIS’s motto is “Scandinavia as your home, Europe as your classroom.” Here, we will attest to the fantastic experience DIS advertises, and what it is like to have the whole of Denmark as your college campus. 

What made you decide to study abroad in the first place?

Madison (M): I decided to study abroad because I didn’t have any big plans for the summer and didn’t have any serious work commitments lined up either. I was looking through my degree requirements and still needed some general education requirements to complete and thought studying abroad would be a really fun opportunity. Luckily, DIS offered a three week, three credit program. I also love traveling and had never been to Denmark before, so I thought this would be a great way to use my time while gaining credit too!

Jordan (J): Studying abroad was a no-brainer to me. One, like many college students, I have caught the travel bug. Studying abroad was the perfect opportunity to not only visit and learn in another country, but to live there–be there–even just for a few weeks. Additionally, as an educator-in-training, school is something that I’m passionate about, and I wanted to experience learning in another country and culture. 

Why did you choose DIS? 

M: I chose DIS because it seemed like a very well renowned program, as it had been running for many decades. Everything seemed well organized and I liked how there was a lot of information available. It also was one of the only programs that offered short courses and in May, which was the only time that summer I would really be able to go abroad. 

J: I chose DIS because it was one of the only programs that offered classes that are relevant to my elementary education major. There are a couple of education classes offered through other programs, but none of them focused on teaching children. I also chose DIS because I admired its deep connection to Scandinavian cultures. Although DIS only services students from American universities and colleges, it is a Danish company. The inspiration and influence of Scandinavia is crystal clear in DIS’s values, ideologies, and more.

What was your favorite part of being abroad? Your favorite part about Denmark?

M: My favorite part of being abroad was being able to experience a new culture individually. I had traveled to Europe with my family, but I had never had a solely individual experience abroad. I loved that I was able to explore the city on my own and learn what it was like to be an international student. I had to figure things out on my own as well as adapting to a brand new culture. It truly helped me get out of my comfort zone and learn more about myself!

However, my favorite part of Denmark was the positivity. You could truly feel the good energy and everyone seemed happy to be in Copenhagen. Sure, there were families with crying toddlers, or businesspeople who looked annoyed, but that’s in every city. There were good vibes everywhere and I just felt so accepted over there. Another thing that I loved about Denmark were the buildings; the architecture is absolutely incredible because it is a perfect blend of modern buildings as well as beautiful historic structures as well. I’m an architecture and art history geek, so I was gawking at every building I passed. Even when I got into my own routine, I still thought it was so incredibly special to be surrounded by so much history!

J: For me, my favorite part of Denmark was also the positivity. It was incredibly refreshing to live in the second happiest country in the world. It was also so, so neat to live in a city that was surrounded by water. Having lived in Colorado my whole life, I’ve seen a lot more drought than water. But living in Copenhagen, the ocean’s presence permeates everything: in public transportation (which they have on boats!), in the huge seafood industry in the city, in the smell of the air as you get closer to the bay. Every direction boasts a view of the dark, teal water of the Baltic Sea. Swimming is also a huge part of the culture, but watch out for the jellyfish!    

My favorite part of being abroad in general was hands-down the friends and memories that I made. I know, super cheesy. But there is no other experience quite like connecting with someone who lives across the country from you at home, but across the hallway from you in a foreign country. I treasure the connections that I made while abroad, both personal, professional, and even with those people that I just passed in the street or stood behind in line to buy a cardamom bun. Of every incredible thing that I experienced while abroad, it is the people that I met which made the experience for me. 

What class(es) did you take, and why?

M: I took a class called Food and Identity, which was all about how cuisine/food was viewed through a social, political, and anthropological lens. We also talked about Scandinavian and Danish cuisine and how that was so important to their culture. It was a seminar class, so we had discussions almost every day. We even had a class where my professor put us into groups and let us out class early so we could do a small market research project at a local supermarket! I really liked my professor because she had a good way of asking questions to continue the discussion for further information and insight. She also genuinely wanted to know our thoughts, which was really nice since it was a small class. The reason I took this class was because it satisfied a general education requirement for me, and besides, who doesn’t like learning about food?

J: I took Children in a Multicultural Context, which focused on child care and educational practices in Scandinavia—Denmark in particular. We talked a lot about how the basic school structure and system is different from that of the U.S.A. and other parts of the world. For the Danes, raising a child and putting them through education is all about independence, with their biggest goals to promote individuality and self-reliance. I took this class because it was pertinent to my major (even if it didn’t fulfill any requirements) and I wanted a fresh perspective on all things “children.” I can say with confidence that the ideas and pedagogies that I learned in this class are ones that I directly apply in my own classroom as a student teacher, and that is pretty neat. 

Overview of field studies trips

M: Since I was in the first session, my field studies were formatted a little differently. Rather than traveling to a different country, all of my field trips were local or just outside of Copenhagen. During the first week, we went to a small coastal town called Dragør where we learned about foraging from a well-known chef. We took a small hike along the beach as well as in the neighboring forest where we learned about which plants were edible and how they’re used in Danish cuisine. The second week, we took the train to a residential neighborhood where we learned how to make smørrebrød (an open-faced sandwich famous in Denmark). During our final week, we went to an urban farm where we learned about sustainable farming efforts, and had a class dinner to conclude our three weeks together.

J: My field studies trip was for five days to London, England. My class learned a lot about the history of London through a multicultural perspective, focusing on those who were brought to London through enslavement and people who emigrated, many of which did so to escape various forms of persecution. We also did observations at a primary (elementary) school and at a nursery/daycare, where we got to see how England’s education system works firsthand. Luckily for us, school was still in session as their summer break didn’t start until late July, so we got to talk to and observe many students. 

Favorite memory?

M: My favorite memory would have to be the final dinner with my classmates. It was our last field study and it concluded with a beautiful dinner at an urban farm called Øens Have. We sat at these long wooden tables and the food we were served came from the gardens. You could truly tell how proud the chefs were of their food and it was absolutely delicious. The environment created such a warm and familial atmosphere because I was so close with my classmates. I saw them every day for three weeks and we got so comfortable being around each other. Not to mention that food brings everyone together, and the purpose of my class was to recognize this. It was so special  everyone had this realization as we came together for the last time.

J: My favorite memory from Denmark was when a friend and I decided to go “green kayaking”; which is a Scandinavian program that allows you to rent out a kayak completely for free, provided that you pick up any trash you see in the water and along the banks as you do so. My friend and I set out in our two-person kayak determined to pick up every piece of trash we saw and excited to get out on the water. It took us about twenty minutes to paddle across the reservoir, but as soon as we reached the border and turned around, the wind started blowing–hard. What had been an easy and fun journey there turned into, quite frankly, a harrowing experience. The wind was blowing against us, so everytime we tried to paddle forward we just went sideways. I was terrified that we were going to get stranded in the middle of the water, blowing around helplessly. 

It took us at least an hour to get back to our launch point, and honestly the only reason we made it back was teamwork, a little elbow grease, and a spontaneous decision to acapella sing every Taylor Swift song we could think of. As we got back onto land, I realized I was running late for a dinner reservation I had with a friend and her mom who was visiting, so I hopped in a cab only to realize my clothes were soaked. I left a wet imprint on the cab’s seat when I got out at the restaurant, and I was freezing throughout dinner, but it was 100% worth it.

Favorite place visited?

M: I’m going to list my top two favorite places in Denmark because it’s too hard to pick just one. Tivoli Gardens was one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. It’s the local amusement park in Copenhagen and it has this timeless blend of vintage architecture and intricate design. Not only does the park have roller coasters and rides, but it also has beautiful gardens, carnival games, and an attached food hall. My other favorite place would have to be the Design Museum Denmark. It was hands down one of the coolest museums I had ever visited. I absolutely love art and design, and learning about how the two can cooperate to work hand in hand. The museum had so many niche exhibits, such as an entire room dedicated to the history of patterns, as well as an exhibit on furniture throughout history. I used to be an Environmental Design major, so it was so exciting to see what I learned in a classroom reflected in a museum! 

J: My favorite place I got to go to in Denmark was the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, located about 35 minutes by train outside of the city. I absolutely love museums, but this one has NO competition in my mind. Every exhibit was stunningly curated, and the museum’s interactive elements and learning opportunities led to a more personalized experience which I will forever cherish. Other than the Louisiana Museum, my favorite place has got to be The Little Mermaid. 

Hans Christain Andersen, author of “The Little Mermaid” and many other classic folktales (including “Thumbelina”, “The Ugly Duckling”, and “The Emperor’s New Clothes”) was born in Odense, Denmark on April 2, 1805. In 1913, this statue of the Little Mermaid was unveiled to the public, and she has been a Copenhagen landmark ever since. Visiting this statue—her expression full of yearning, as she stares off to the side, not quite at the shore, not quite at the sea—is a truly magical experience, and I do mean that in the literal way. You can feel this energy there, despite the frequent crowds of tourists and the occasional bout of vandalism. She is also, quite frequently, used as a canvas for political messages and threats, most recently in the form of a painting of the Russian flag on the rock she sits upon, which was interpreted by many as a “…sign of support for Moscow in the war in [with] Ukraine.” I didn’t know about the Mermaid’s history with vandalism when I visited her, but knowing that now honestly makes the experience even more special. The Little Mermaid is a symbol, and one that has persisted for over two centuries. She has survived multiple amputation/decapitation attempts (seriously), and even an attempt to blow her to pieces with dynamite. And yet, she’s still there, sitting on her rock, and that is pretty awesome. 

Nightlife review

M: During my time in Copenhagen, I went out to a total of three nightclubs: Arch, Vega, and Chateaux Motel. My least favorite was Arch, just because the people weren’t very nice and the music they played wasn’t great either, but the last two clubs were SO FUN. I went to Vega because a friend of mine really wanted to see a DJ that was performing at that club. When we got inside, it almost seemed like an empty theater. There was a huge dance floor and a second level that seemed to be closed off. I loved this nightclub because it didn’t get overly crowded or too hot, which is often an issue when clubbing. However, Chateau Motel, the other club I went to, was so crowded and hot. Despite this, it was my favorite club I went to during my time in Copenhagen. The DJ played hits from the 2000s and 2010s as well as remixing many of the songs to keep the vibe going. Fun Fact: My friend and I ended up on top of the DJ booth for the majority of the night. It was so much fun and I hope to go back there someday. Overall, I would rate the nightlife in Copenhagen a solid 8/10. It’s definitely prevalent, but just not as popular as in other European cities, such as Berlin or Barcelona. 

J: I mostly went to bars, and honestly the only club that I can remember the name of is Rumors. Rumors boasts an awesome dance floor, with a huge, glittering disco ball suspended above it, super cool neon lighting and effects, and awesome energy if you are looking for the more upbeat club experience. Pro tip, though: Do not wear Birkenstocks to the club. You will regret it.

Go-to restaurants/bars

M: I would 100% recommend Reffen Street Food. It’s basically a bunch of permanent food trucks which sell food from around the world; there were vendors that sold Greek food (which was absolutely delicious by the way), as well as an entire booth dedicated to cheese. There were multiple bars throughout, and a huge seating area that overlooked the river. I went there on my last night in Copenhagen and it was such a bittersweet moment. Not only was the food absolutely incredible, but the atmosphere was laid back and just enchanting. 

To be honest, I didn’t go out to eat a lot because I had my own kitchen in my apartment. My roommate and I went to the grocery store often and it was such a cool experience to see the different kinds of products. However, I did go to a lot of cafes. Down the street from my classroom building, there was a cafe called Emmery’s. They had THE BEST chai I’ve ever had in my life and they sold Kanelsnelge, which was a sort of cinnamon bun. I went there multiple times a week and it became a routine after class to head over to Emmery’s with my classmates. Also, I can’t leave this topic without telling you about The Cakery. This shop is dedicated especially to eclairs, and it was one of the most beautiful cafes I’ve ever been in. Their eclairs were INCREDIBLE, and I’m not ashamed to say I bought three.

J: Easily my favorite restaurants are Frankie’s Pizza (the one right next to Copenhagen University), Reffen (which is actually an open-air collection of vendors, all of which serve the most delicious food), and this one samosa place in Freetown Christiania. I don’t remember what it was called, it was just a tiny little cart that they’d set up in the square, but they were THE best samosas I have ever had in my life. I traveled all the way across town just for those samosas, like four or five times. The best bar is easily Proud Mary’s—but they only let 20+ in. Do your research before you go out to a bar or club, because some of them only take 20+ year-olds despite the legal drinking age being 18.  

Overall, would you recommend DIS Copenhagen? 

M: Oh my gosh, absolutely: this experience was one of the highlights of my life and I can’t recommend it enough. I learned so much as well as gaining insight about myself, and it makes me excited to study abroad for an entire semester. If you’re unsure about whether to do DIS Copenhagen, I would say just go for it. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be so scary, but it’s such a rewarding experience.

J: 100%, yes. This experience changed my life. There are people, places, and things that I will never, ever forget, and that’s because of DIS. If even the smallest part of you has ever considered going abroad, should you have the means, take the jump. You will absolutely not regret it. 

Jordan Chamberlain is a fourth year student at the University of Colorado Boulder and an editorial assistant for CU’s chapter of Her Campus. In her editorial position, Jordan reads and edits many of her fellow authors’ articles, providing feedback on spelling, grammar, AP formatting rules, and cohesion and flow. Jordan herself enjoys writing about traveling, education, her home state of Colorado, and the general messiness of life in your early twenties. Outside of Her Campus, Jordan can be found working on her Elementary Education degree at CU Boulder. She is very excited to graduate in May of 2024, and hopes to transition directly into the teaching profession. She hopes to teach upper elementary, and is currently a student teacher for fifth grade. In her free time, Jordan enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, listening to music, and disappearing into fictional worlds through reading, creative writing, and watching an unhealthy amount of T.V. shows and movies. You can find her scouring Boulder for the best coffee shops, collecting funky postcards, and listening to a chaotic collection of music.
Madison Moss

CU Boulder '26

Madison Moss is a member of the Her Campus chapter at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She is also on the executive board as a member of the social media team. She not only writes articles, but she also creates new content for the Her Campus CU Boulder Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, as well as collaborating with the other members of the social media team to optimize each of these pages. Beyond Her Campus, Madison is a sophomore at CU Boulder majoring in Strategic Communications with an emphasis in Media Design. She also is minoring in French and wants to earn a certificate in International Media. She hopes to go into luxury branding, specifically in the fashion or travel industry. In high school, she was in upper level English classes and won English Student of the Year her sophomore year. Her Campus CU Boulder is Madison’s first official writing organization that she has been a part of. In her free time, Madison enjoys reading books, spending time with her friends, and watching movies and tv shows, preferably romantic comedies and Disney. She also is an avid traveler and has been all over the world. Some of her favorite places she’s been to are the Czech Republic, Austria, Hawaii, Peru, and Denmark. Madison also enjoys spending time with her family. They go to Denver often to see musicals, ballets, and plays. They also enjoy going to different restaurants and trying new foods together.