Something that sets the DIS program apart from other study abroad programs is the unique scheduling.
Classes are set up so that they only meet twice a week (either Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday) with some options for once a week classes, which leaves Wednesdays free every week. This is done to allow for field studies which are basically class field trips to different exhibitions or museums in Copenhagen having to do with the topics of the course. This is completely unique and something I found extremely enjoyable because it broke up my week and gave me a bit of a break to incorporate a different type of learning through visible and interactive methods. One of the other great things about having a day for field studies is that there is not going to be one every week! It was really great having a free Wednesday sometimes to catch up on work or get ahead on assignments yet to come.
One of the other great things about DIS classes is that when you sign up for classes you pick a core course. The core course is basically the major topic you are interested in studying, so in my case, being a Psychology major I chose to study Positive Psychology for my core course. There are two traveling opportunities with the core course throughout the semester. The first is during core course week at the beginning of the semester. This involves going to areas of Western Denmark and having group activities, lectures and visits to various museums or exhibitions having to do with your course. I really enjoyed this week because we spent the first few days in Copenhagen learning from locals about different organizations that are shaping people’s everyday lives and helping them achieve a better quality of life. I also enjoyed our travels to Western Denmark because it gave us a chance to learn about Denmark outside of it’s bustling capital. It was an overall great opportunity to experience Denmark as a whole, and widen our gaze outside of just where we had been living.
The second traveling opportunity is during one of the two week long travel breaks. There are two breaks during the semester (for spring semester there is a week at the beginning of March and a week at the end of April), one of which serves as a spring break and the other serves as a core course travel week. I had the first week of March free to travel where I wanted and then the end of April for my core course travel. Every core course travels to a different place, my class in particular had the chance to go to Budapest for a week to learn about the well-being of Hungarians.
During our week in Budapest we had the chance to visit major tourist spots some on our own and some with the class, as well as talk to locals and learn from them about how different things affect their levels of happiness. We also were able to hear some amazing lectures and talks about initiatives being started in Budapest to help the citizens become happier and feel safer. I absolutely loved my core course trip. It was informative and really opened my eyes to the situations going on politically and in the health care system in a different country. I most enjoyed learning about this by actually talking to the locals and hearing their perspectives.
The way that classes are scheduled in the DIS Copenhagen program is one of the major factors that influenced my decision to come here because there is a great opportunity to focus your academic efforts on a core class that aligns with your area of study. I love that I was able to travel several times to learn about Positive Psychology from different sources, different people and even in a different country. It is an amazing experience and I really encourage prospective students who are considering Copenhagen to factor these opportunities into their decision.
It was a bittersweet trip to Budapest because I loved everything we did so much but it also marks the nearing end of the semester and my time abroad!