Surprise! I finally made it to Copenhagen, Denmark! I arrived last Saturday and have been quarantining for the past four days at the hotel right next to the airport. But, I got tested today and once my results come back, I can break my quarantine! Unfortunately, I arrived during the last week of the semester so I’ve now finished all of my classes online. But, I have also chosen to stay for the first summer session that DIS has offered to us for no additional cost to make up for the lost time during the spring semester. That means I will be here for another month or so and will finally be able to explore everything that I have learned in my online classes. To wrap up my spring semester with a study abroad program online, I thought I would share some reflections on my experience.
As we all may know, having all your classes online can super draining and it’s easy to feel disengaged and unmotivated. For me, this was especially true due to the 9-hour time difference from my home in the west coast to Copenhagen time. The DIS faculty did their best to accommodate the different time zones that students were in, but for me that still meant having class at 05:30 or 07:00 everyday. At the same time, I had to be mindful of due dates and other meetings outside of class. It was so exhausting to be unable to live and work according to my own timezone. Despite these struggles, I felt I was able to somehow pull through with the support of the friends I had made in some of my classes. It was new experience for me to get to know my professors and make friends through Zoom classes, but it was one of the only ways to feel connected despite being virtual. I am so grateful to those I was able to connect with and I am so excited to meet up with them for the first time in the next couple of days!
In regards to my classes themselves, I felt that I learned a lot from my child development and education class and children with special needs class. Both of these classes are directly related to what I hope to pursue as a future career in psychology and education and taking them gave me some reassurance in choosing this career path. At the same time, as course in a study abroad program, I gained rich insights into educational practices and different perspectives regarding child development and children in general found in Denmark. As evident in my past blog posts, there are several cultural differences regarding social services provided to families, pedagogical practices, and each society and culture’s value systems. Recognizing these differences and engaging in critical analyses of each has allowed me to see the advantages and disadvantages of certain aspects within both U.S and Danish contexts. There are definitely many elements of Danish pedagogical practice that I think the U.S would benefit from implementing in ways that will fit our context and needs, including providing children with more opportunities to learn through play and first-hand experiences. I hope I will be able to take what I have learned in my classes, and soon from my own experiences in Denmark, and apply them to my work at Colby and in future career!