Mikaela Gerry ’13, an Environmental Science major, admits to not knowing exactly what she was getting herself into when she started formulating her study abroad plans. She did, however, end up in Copenhagen, Denmark (DIS) during the spring semester of 2012. She was apparently not alone in making decision to jump into the unknown:
“I wish I could tell you what made me decide to study in Copenhagen, but it was such an impulsive decision that I really didn’t have time to process it. All I know is that I’m glad I did it. Studying abroad is one of those decisions that you can’t overthink or plan for because you really don’t know what to expect. When I attended the OCS send-off all the students going to Denmark gathered in one room, and we played a game – go around the room and name one fact you know about Denmark without repeating anything. We were not even able to make it past 2 or 3 people without getting stuck.”
It turned out to be one of the best experiences for her, in terms of academics. It also allowed her to better understand what she loves about her major.
“Studying abroad in Copenhagen is probably one of the best academic choices I have made in my past three years at Gettysburg. As an Environmental Studies major it was exciting to study in Denmark where the government and the citizens strongly believe in implementing political tools to improve environmental quality. I got the chance to be exposed to a completely different political system, different culture, and different lifestyle. I had the chance to take an environmental policy class with a professor that was a member of the European Parliament, which included a private tour around the Danish Parliament! My core class, which was Sustainability in Europe, took a week long study tour to Amsterdam and Rotterdam. This trip really opened my eyes to the different possibilities that exist for an Environmental Studies major, and I think what was most exciting to realize was that the possibilities are endless; it’s just a matter of deciding what you’re passionate about!”
Finally, recounting her a collection of her favorite memories, she had some pieces of advice for future students in Denmark:
“Everyday that I spent abroad was an adventure. Between getting lost on the trains (multiple times), having my six year old host sister explain games to me in Danish, or randomly stumbling upon Denmark’s National Handball team’s celebration - I never really knew what I would experience on any given day. The only advice I would want to pass on to students considering to study abroad in Copenhagen, or anywhere, is to take the risk, be impulsive, and look for a program outside of your comfort zone. Studying abroad is all about experiencing something new and broadening your horizons. You won’t get many chances to spend four months in the happiest place in the world, so don’t pass on this opportunity!”
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