My name is Nick Williams and I am a junior at Indiana University studying Marketing. I am currently spending my spring semester in Copenhagen (January 10 through May 9). I am thankful to have the opportunity to study abroad, especially with a program as caring as DIS, and a city as beautiful as Copenhagen, all while sharing my experiences on this blog page. Below, you can experience my many narratives, beginning with the most recent. Your time is greatly appreciated!
A First Week to Remember (1/17/20)
I have now spent nearly an entire week in Copenhagen and it feels… Satisfying. My sleep rhythm is getting back on track and I’m getting in the groove of things.
It all started on January 11th when I landed in Copenhagen around 10 AM. It wasn’t until around 4 PM until I arrived at my new home: a Residential Community on Skindergrade. I have had a wonderful time getting to know some of my floor mates, but it has been indeed less of a communal experience than I expected. I have a few connections on my floor, including my roommate Evan, but mostly everyone is either in cliques or hanging out with their friends from home. The silver lining is I am extra motivated to leave the house and meet people on my own.
On the next morning, January 12th, my roommate and I decided it is only right to begin our stay with a breakfast at a cafe. We filtered the Google search results to 2 $’s or less, meaning only average or below prices (meals are very expensive in Copenhagen). We locked our eyes on a spot called “Next Door Cafe” and we were on our way. Of course, it was raining outside. We got to the cafe and I immediately admired the coziness and laid back atmosphere that the cafe offered. The waiter was so kind and patient, a great first impression of customer service in Copenhagen. The food was average, but that is what I would expect from a lower priced spot.
That night, a little past midnight, I was already exploring the town, beginning with a 10 minute [rental] scooter ride to Christianshavn, which is home to the famous Christiania. I ended my rental to only realize that the ride was $8… yet I shook it off and walked my way into Freetown Christiania, a once military base turned into a friendly commune of folks that are very free and loving. Although the neighborhoods around my RC were quiet all Sunday, I could hear music bumping from inside gratified, old looking buildings in Christiania. That is when I knew that this would be a regular spot for me.
I was minding my business looking through the window of a smoke bar when I was approached by a rather rugged looking man that was most definitely not American. He needed a light, so I thought why not and kindly gave him one. He then called me a noble man many times, before completely switching over to a different language, while repeatedly calling me something that I have yet to translate. That is when I knew I had to leave, as I can only take one bite at a time. I refused to take a Lime home because I am not made of money, so I simply took the hit and walked 30 minutes at about 1 AM. I quickly realized that I did not feel comfortable, as the streets were completely empty. Thankfully, I made it home, taking with me the lesson that you should not walk through the streets of Copenhagen on a Sunday night after midnight.
The next morning, January 13th, held our first DIS event: Orientation. Fortunately, I went with my roommate, so it was all a bit more comfortable. We met two kind women, two women that my memory will restrict me from remember their names. Yet, it felt very nice to meet fellow DIS students. The event was very well done, from the fantastic speakers to the musical artist Drew. It was a great kickoff for the long semester that is studying abroad.
Not to be mistaken, I was completely and utterly jet lagged through all of these events. The kind of jet lag where one thing I’m looking at my phone at 3 PM, when all of a sudden my eyes open and it’s dark out… oh it’s 7 PM. Oops.
On January 14th I knew what I had to do: get a bike. Besides, the bike culture in Copenhagen was one of the main reasons I chose the city. I rented my bike from a well run organization named Swapfiets. I highly recommend this organization, as it was the cheapest option for renting a bike for a semester.
When my butt first hit the seat, I could feel the freedom that I now have. Immediately, I biked around town, getting used to the rules of the road. I gained an immense appreciation for Copenhagen’s biking infrastructure, as on most streets, there is a street for cars, then a curb, then the bike path, then a curb, then the pedestrian side walk. In addition, there are many pedestrian bridges, in which vehicles are restricted from entering. I have been told this is because in the 70’s, Copenhagen had the highest biking related casualties. Since then, the government has taken serious steps in ensuring bikers’ safety on the streets.
I then decided I need to visit a tourist site, so I biked to Nyhavn, a beautiful canal with brightly colored buildings. When you search Copenhagen on Google Images, you will see many pictures of Nyhavn. I was stunned by the atmosphere surrounding the area; there were street performers, happy tourists, and stunning restaurants located on both sides of the river. Additionally, I visited during sunset, so the sun was casting a soft pink glow on the structures, only enhancing the beautiful scene I was experiencing. I would highly recommend visiting this area if you want to see colorful buildings and eat an upscale [and expensive] meal!
January 15th was a day filled with visiting stores and boutiques near our RC. My goal of purchasing a piece of clothing was left unfulfilled, as most things I liked were out of my price range. Yet, is was enjoyable to absorb the many clothing styles that Copenhagen has to offer. My personal favorite is the wide range of streetwear clothing, including brands that were created Copenhagen, like Wood Wood and Han Kjøbenhavn. My favorite store thus far is named Samsøe & Samsøe, which is, fortunately, a 4 minute walk from my home. It is my favorite store because of the broad range of designer brands, with the walls lined with 60% off sales racks.
January 16th was an important day: my first day of class. Fortunately, I only had my Core Course, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. A core course is the headline of my semester, as it includes a week-long study tour to Berlin in early February. I love it! Although the course was 2 hours and 55 minutes, I had a great time getting to know both my professor and classmates. In class, we chose our groups, by picking the problem that we want to work on throughout the semester. After it was all said and done, I was placed in a group with 4 other students, solving the problem of entering university without knowing what you truly want to pursue in the future. This is very exciting to me, as I wish I could have had help with this before I started my time at Indiana University. I’m eager to work with my group throughout the semester to find a feasible solution to this issue!
I had to wake very early on Friday, January 17th because I had Business and Financial ethics at 8:30 AM. Unsurprisingly, I was running out the door at 8:15 AM, as I wanted to get coffee and a croissant before class. Thankfully, I acquired both items, which were crucial to me survival until the end of my last class at 1 PM. More importantly, the view on the way to class was astonishing, as the sun was just rising.
My classroom was located on the highest floor of our building, which had a window on every side of the room, enabling a glimpse of beautiful Copenhagen at sunrise.
My next two classes, Strategic management and international advertising, were located in the same classroom with the same professor. Thankfully, the professor has an exciting story, as he’s been a fashion worker, law student, strategic planner, filmmaker, author, and more.
One thing that was easy to realize was the quality of my professors. All 4 of them have had wide ranging experiences in the real world, offering the opportunity for relevant career and life advice for our futures. They even call themselves practitioners, which is an extreme contrast to my professors back at the Kelley Business School, which havn’t had a real world job in over 20 years. I will later explain my courses in further depth, after I’ve attended more classes.
After arriving back home, through my window, I could see the sun shining brightly on The Round Tower, located only a block from my RC.
I thought it was only right to climb my way to the top and see my first birds-eye view of the city. After the short walk, I entered the structure, following a $3 purchase of a ticket. The walk up was absolutely stunning, as the interior was so authentic yet beautifully designed. I have been told that there are not stairs because a once king wanted access to the top of the tower by chariot.
Once arriving to the top, I couldn’t help but to smile at the view I was experiencing. It was the perfect time-just at sunset. The pictures speak for themselves. I hung out at the top for about 30 minutes before walking my way back down.
All in all, my first several days here have been filled with new experiences and beautiful adventures. I’m excited to continue documenting my unique experiences here on this ongoing page. Thank you for checking in!
24 Hours Untill Liftoff (1/9/20)
It feels surreal… After all of the planning over the past few months… It’s finally this close. Tomorrow night I’ll be in Copenhagen.
Per usual, I have waited to do the majority of my packing until the day before I leave. This was a poor decision because now I have to both say my goodbyes/spending time with loved ones while also ensuring that I am bringing everything I need for the next four months. Either way, I know I’ll be ready by morning, even if it means getting few hours of sleep… I’ll be discombobulated with jet lag either way.
I feel ready to submerge myself within a new culture and place. Purely new, as I genuinely don’t know anyone coming/located in Copenhagen. I’m excited to be pushed to build connections within my residential community and courses, as I’ll quickly need some friends to travel beside.
I have little knowledge of what to expect once I land, but that’s a beautiful thing. Novelty is a wonder of life, as new things always find a way to allow me to learn more about myself. I am excited to record my experiences on this page throughout my journey, every step of the way! Next stop, Copenhagen!
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