My first week in Copenhagen was hectic, due to a lot of reasons including my tire getting flat two hours before my flight depart, experiencing racism in a different country, and battling with on-going depression and anxiety. Also, I have been dealing with homesickness because I am so used to being around my family, but I have learned some important things about culture, well-being, and experiencing life in a whole other country. I arrived in Copenhagen three days late due to missing my flight, so unfortunately, I missed the first three days of classes.
On Sunday, we had to get on an airplane because we were departing to Edinburgh Scotland for a five -day study tour in which we explored numerous activities such as how open access youth clubs support health and well-being and explored the connection between nature and well-being with a hike to Arthur’s Seat.
One of my favorite parts about the study tour was that we were able to go on a hike to Arthur’s Seat and explore how Scottish people keep their mental health in check. I was having a rough morning before the trip due to the obstacles I face with my mental health, but after the hike and meditating I felt a lot better mentally and physically. Later in the evening, we participated in a walking tour through the streets of Edinburgh in which we had a tour guide teach us about the city history while tasting numerous local cuisines. Places we visit included Hotel du Vin, Makar Rest on the Mound and Ghillie Dhu. The objective of these activities was to discover our connection and relation to nature and its impact on well-being as well as apply positive psychology techniques while discovering a new city by savoring long-established foods and drinks, appreciating the beauty and excellence of Scottish tradition.
On Tuesday, our class visited Pilton Youth & Children’s Project (PYCP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to enabling each young person ages 5-24 that face inequalities in areas such as education, health, and income to realize their full potential and to take a positive role in society. What I liked most about PYCP is that it still catered to young people in their early and mid- twenties and did not push them out the program after they turned 18. In America, a lot of organizations catered to at-risk youth don’t really pay attention to young adults as they should. I believe the hardest stages of life is between the ages of 18-25 because those are the years that individuals are discovering their full potential and realizing that what they do now will have an enormous impact on their future.
My first week in Europe has been awesome, sad, lonely, and a different experience that even though its hurts to battle my mental illness, I hope that looking back on this journey I realize that if I can come to a whole different county alone, then I can do anything I set my mind and heart to. Exploring PYCP really open my eyes to that fact that we need these types of programs for at-risk youth in urban and rural areas because as research has proven education is key to decreasing poverty and crime rates in low-income areas.