Upon my acceptance into DIS, I was expecting a unique and immersive experience of Danish culture. Within my three months of attending DIS, my expectations have been surpassed. To describe DIS as “immersive” understates their intense efforts. Before coming to Copenhagen, I was only expecting my core course, Medical Practice and Policy, to be a hands-on experience. I have been proven wrong so many times. Every single one of my classes has an immersive cultural or educational component. In fact, every Wednesday, there are no formal DIS classes. Instead, we attend field studies, where the city of Copenhagen turns into our classrooms. We visit sights, attractions, and activities that are related to our classroom studies. Since my course schedule is a variety of all subjects, I have had the opportunity to experience a plethora of adventures alongside my professors and classmates. For example, I have visited unique bars, museums, movies, hospitals, and drug treatment centers that have supplemented my understanding of the classroom lessons. Even on other weekdays, I have had the opportunity to listen to guest speakers in each of my classes. I have heard great lectures from ex-prisoners, high school teachers, police officers, general practitioners, social entrepreneurs, and many more.
In particular, my core course receives a bit of extra attention. My professors are local medical doctors. We have visited their hospital to practice clinical skills. We have also visited areas of Western Denmark to learn about Danish healthcare systems while exposing ourselves to the Danish culture, history, and socio-economic climate of the different cities. My favorite part of the core course study tours was visiting Vienna and Budapest to compare their healthcare systems to the Danish healthcare system as part of a group project.
These immersive hands-on experiences have made me fall in love with Copenhagen as my classroom. DIS has done a wonderful job redefining education by engaging students in and out of the classroom. These past few months have been a different educational experience than what I would have received at my home university. I don’t have to listen to the same professor every single day. I don’t even have to sit in the classroom every single day. I have had the chance to learn from many different professions, in many different settings, and also within other European countries! I would have never been able to experience such culture and history sitting in a large lecture hall at my home university. This engaging learning process has challenged me to become a better student, by actively participating and challenging my ideas and assumptions. By exposing me to so many different opinions, I have improved my critical thinking skills while learning to understand controversial issues. These experiences have stimulated my curiosity, encouraging me to ask intimate questions. As a result, I have also become a more confident student, confident enough to share my opinions and my questions, and confident enough to challenge others to do so as well. This is an experience I do not take for granted at all and would recommend many times over.