Hej fra Danmark! My name is Ryan Hammock and I am currently a junior majoring in Environmental Science and studying in Denmark this summer through DIS Copenhagen.
So far, I have been studying in Copenhagen for over a month, where I have been able to see what life is like as a Dane and enjoy company with great people, places and things in Denmark. Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries to live in the world and has also been regarded as a model for sustainability and environmental consciousness, so making the decision to study in Denmark was an easy one. Prior to coming to Copenhagen, I wasn’t sure what daily life would look like or how to adjust to a Scandinavian lifestyle. Since arriving, I have tried to keep an open mind and embrace new experiences by making the most of my time, meeting new people, exploring the city, and drawing connections between my studies of Environmental Science and Danish culture.
Exploring the city and drawing these connections became relatively easy once I started my classes and exploring new parts of Copenhagen. In the first class I took, we explored methods of sustainability that have been implemented across Denmark. We visited climate adaptation projects, one of which had recreational areas that could be converted into flood water retention ponds during future extreme flood events and another where flood waters were integrated into suburban garden landscapes. Additionally, we visited a waste-to-energy plant where trash was diverted from landfills to be incinerated in order to produce electricity and district heating. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of being here is taking advantage of the extensive city bike infrastructure that over 60% of Copenhageners use to commute to and from work or school. In fact, on average around 1.4 million kilometers are biked on the streets of Copenhagen every weekday. Generally, it is faster to bike around the city than it is to drive or walk, which makes the commute to class extremely pleasant during the summer. When learning about the different methods Denmark and other Scandinavian countries have implemented in order to become more sustainable, it was interesting to see how these approaches could be implemented or expanded in different parts of the United States.
So far, my time in Denmark has been met with many new sights and ideas that have helped me shape a different outlook on the world. Being able to talk, network, and learn from experts in a given field abroad can be such an invaluable experience because it allows you to gain new perspectives and approaches to many of the problems our world is currently facing.
Copenhagen is a unique, colorful, and vibrant city with so much to offer and enjoy. Every corner you turn, you can experience new sights, sounds, and something unique. Getting lost in the city, seeing the small things, and enjoying the ambiance of Copenhagen helps encapsulate the Danish mood of “hygge” (a Scandinavian concept of a warm mood). Whether alone riding your bike, enjoying the harbor with friends, or admiring the modern Scandinavian architecture, Copenhagen has a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. As the famous Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson once said, “to travel is to live.” Since being here, I feel like I am living to the fullest every day.
This post was contributed by Ryan Hammock, a 2018 Global Ambassador.
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