My STEP signature project was a study abroad trip to Copenhagen, Denmark and taking a class through DIS. The course I took was called Human Health and Disease: A Clinical Approach. I partook in lecture and in medical stimulations at various Danish hospitals.
While in Denmark, I learned a lot about myself and about the many cultural differences. I learned that I am a lot more independent than I give myself credit for and that I can easily adapt to different environments. I was able to apply my prior knowledge to the course I took more than I expected. The course I was a part of taught a lecture that was discussing the similarities and differences between the Danish culture and health care system versus the American culture and health care system. My understanding of the Danish culture and hearing world views from a different culture’s perspective was eye opening. I was interesting to see how they viewed different world issues and how they operate day by day.
I met many Danes and loved hearing their day to day routine compared to the average American’s. They take life at a slower pace and seem to appreciate the small things more than Americans do, in my opinion. By taking this trip, my worldly views changed and I was able to take some of their values and implement them in my life.
Some of the events that transformed my views were talking to Danes, exploring the city, and learning about their culture in my class and tours I took around the city. By simply walking around the city and observing people, I was able to learn a lot. Everyone seems to not be in a rush and are very friendly to tourists. Whenever I needed help navigating the city, I could openly go up to a Dane and expect them to treat me respectfully and nicely. I was able to observe their social norms and compare them to the American norms.
My TA for the course I took taught me a lot by just talking to him and his friends. Hearing about what they do in a typical school day and weekend was very interesting to hear and to compare what my life is like to theirs. My TA, Magnus, told me about his experiences when living in America and hearing his thoughts on my home country was insightful.
I had a lecture about the Danish health care system and I learned the most about the Danish government in that. I learned that their healthcare is free to everyone there but they are assigned a specific physician based off where they live in Denmark. This is very different than the US considering we all must pay for healthcare but get to pick the physician we go to.
Another experience that led to my transformation was taking a six-hour bike tour around Copenhagen. The tour guide had us stop at particular spots and told us the history behind them and about their significance in the present. I learned so much about Denmark’s history and about the Danes culture through this bike tour. The biggest difference that stood out to me was that all their government buildings have no fences or security outside. Since the US has so much security and surveillance, I had just assumed all countries were similar. This is just another experience that proved how much more laid back this country is than the US.
Having the experiences I had on my STEP study abroad trip has given me the ability to think about life in a different way and from a different perspective. Living in Denmark and being immersed in the culture led me to realize that I stress way too much over the little things and that I can relax and still get everything accomplished that I need to. I learned a lot about myself and have took many of the Danish values back to the United States to better myself. I did not expect my study abroad experience to change my views so greatly, but am very glad that it did. All in all, I could not have had a better experience in the DIS program and in Copenhagen.