It’s officially Friday and after my Cold War spies class this afternoon, I will have finished my first full week of classes here in Copenhagen! Studying abroad definitely still involves studying, but all my classes are fascinating so I don’t mind the readings. Work Forest never dies.
On Mondays and Thursdays I have my core course, Terrorism & Counter-Terrorism from a European Perspective. We’ve already had group presentations (yes, we’ve had class three times) and have started diving deeper into the history of terrorism, which is long and complicated and not at all a linear path. In all of my classes we’ve been challenged to think deeply about definitions, and I now understand why my parents used to get so annoyed when I would respond to every statement with “but why?”. There is no one definition of terrorism—it’s inherently nuanced and complex. I’m really enjoying the class and the people in it so far and I can’t wait to leave for our first study tour to Hamburg in just a few weeks!
After my terrorism class I have my Danish Language & Culture class. I’m like…pretty bad at Danish. We’ve worked mostly on pronunciation (those vowels, though) and learning in which words you pronounce all of the consonants (spoiler alert: it’s basically none of them). However, after three classes I can now almost confidently say my name, where I’m from, and where in Copenhagen I live—it’s a win in my book! We also spend half the class time each day discussing culture and I’ve found it so interesting. What is culture? What does it mean? How are language and culture related? What is the dynamic between culture and power?
On Tuesdays and Friday mornings I head into DIS bright and early for my political rhetoric class called Words that Work. My professors are young, hip, and infinitely cooler than I will ever be. Discussing the relationship between politics and communication fully realizes the depths of both of my majors, which is something I’ve never been able to do before! Framing as a concept is not something I knew by name before this class, but it’s instinctually something we all do in our day-to-day lives. This Wednesday, we had our first field studies of the semester, and my Words that Work class went to the Parliament to speak with a member of Parliament and a press officer for one of the parties. Field studies are amazing—we can learn an infinite amount about political framing in the classroom, but then to go to the actual Danish parliament and speak to an actual MP and actual press officer who actually use these concepts in actually meaningful ways on a daily basis makes the concepts seem that much more real and important.
Later in the morning on Tuesdays and Fridays I head to my class on Cold War spies: “The Enemy Within: Spies and Espionage in the Cold War.” Yes, it is 200% my ideal class/the coolest class I’ve ever taken/the reason I applied to DIS in the first place (no, really). Even just looking at the syllabus makes me giddy—it’s not that I don’t love Wake and the classes I take there. I would not have stayed up until 1:30 in the morning last night watching the Wake Forest football home opener if I did not love Wake. But can I take a class on Cold War spies taught by two incredible historians (who have told us that they are both not spies but isn’t that why a spy would say?) and go on field studies to Cold War bunkers at Wake?
On Tuesday evenings, I have my Leadership Across Cultures class. It’s definitely a business-focused class, which I enjoy because I’m not in the business school at Wake so I don’t normally get the opportunity to take classes with a corporate lens. I’ve taken leadership classes before and studied its concepts and premises quite a bit, but never from this angle, so I’m excited to see what I’ll learn!
Also part of my weekly routine here in Copenhagen are Thursday night LLC meetings. Part of living in the Outdoor LLC means that every week we engage in some kind of activity that gets us, well, outdoors. Last night we went on our first adventure: a bike ride around Amager, the island we live on. The island is pronounced “Ama”—see what I said above about consonants in words? 18 miles and one flat tire (not mine) later, we made it back to our apartment. We biked along the ocean at sunset and I was ridiculously, blissfully happy. I was also only 60% sure I would catapult both myself and my bike into the ocean at any given moment. My body also took the opportunity to remind me that I have tendonitis in my knee so I went a lot slower than everyone else but really, I was just ~*savoring the view*~ and when this is what it looked like, how could you not?
In summary, my classes are the coolest ever, I still study a lot, I live in an amazing place with amazing people, and if this week was an indication of what’s to come, this is about to be a pretty incredible semester.
Farvel for nu! / Bye for now!