Study Away


Semester at DIS in Denmark

By Aaron Greiner
In short, studying abroad at DIS in Copenhagen completely changed the way I look at the world. Even though it was quite dark and cold when I arrived, I immediately fell in love with Danish culture. My bike became my primary mode of transportation, and I found my favorite places to stay cozy in the city with my friends. On top of getting to travel most weekends, I got to explore the city and before long I felt like a local. Denmark does it right. There is a reason why Danes are considered some of the happiest people in the world, and there is no way to describe it other than to experience it.


DIS offers many living situations with differing levels of interaction with Danes. Since DIS is entirely a study abroad program, all the classes are made up of mostly American college students. This can be a draw-back, as it can make easy to limit yourself from interacting with Danish people. However, your living situation is a great place to do this. While abroad, I lived in a Kollegium (Danish student housing) with a mix of Danes and Americans. Because we had a shared kitchen, I was able to interact with many Danes and they even held events during Danish holidays. This I found to be a great way to immerse myself in the culture while I was there.


While I was expecting to enjoy living in Denmark, what I didn’t expect is that what I studied would be so transformative. DIS has many excellent programs, but I think where they really shine is in their Architecture and Design program. Studying abroad should be a time to explore new subjects in a new learning environment, and at DIS you will not be dissapointed. I studied Urban Design and Urban Livability, and from the first class, I was hooked. As an Design major, I have taken many design classes and learned a lot about the design process, but I had never studied (or really even heard of) Urban Design. Urban Design built upon what I had been learning, but it was so much more. I was exposed to a completely new form of design that pulled together all my interests into one.


The classes at DIS tend to be interactive, which means Olin students will feel right at home. In the Architecture/Design department, classes are studio-based meaning you will be doing hands-on projects. In my Urban Design course, we had two projects over the course of the semester. Not only did I learn a lot doing them, they were really fun! My other classes that were not studio-based were still very interactive. Every Wednesday, instead of classes, you travel with one of your courses somewhere in the city to look at what you have been studying in the real world. I always enjoyed these days because it took what I had been learning and brought it out of the classroom. In addition, there are two study tours that you do with your core course that take you to different places around Europe and really allow you to learn in the real world.


DIS offers a unique opportunity for Olin students to build off their education and learn something completely new. I found that their Design and Sustainability programs were particularly strong and really enhanced my learning. In addition, Copenhagen is an amazing place to live, and it’s pretty much guaranteed you will not want to leave!


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