Unfortunately, it’s finally time to say goodbye to Denmark. I can’t believe it’s already come to this point, time really does fly by! While it is a bittersweet experience, I can walk away from Copenhagen feeling fulfilled and complete. Not only was I able to hit every tourist spot and try all the new foods I could imagine, I can confidently say I have grown from this journey. My number one goal for my study abroad experience was to strengthen my ability to keep an open mind. After having so many conversations with individuals who are exposed to a different lifestyle than my own, I feel like I have been able to learn from others’ experiences in a variety of ways. I have noticed my perception of what a conversation itself should look like has changed. Previously, I used to view discussions as an opportunity to share my own knowledge, and to share my perspective and opinions with others to convey a message. Now, I find more value in listening to the ideas and stories others have to share. I now better understand the value and beauty in the human experience, and the best way to capture that is through meaningful exchanges from others. There’s so much to be learned from others’ stories, perceptions, and experiences. Rather than thinking of what I can teach another, I now prioritize what I can learn from another. I feel like this has aided me in becoming more open minded, because I listen with much more intention now, and ask meaningful questions to not only challenge myself to truly understand what they’re sharing, but also challenge them to delve deeper into the message they are trying to share. I find conversations more enriching since studying abroad, an aspect I think will benefit me not only in my return to everyday life in the United States, but also in my career as a clinical psychologist.
While I am immensely grateful for the lessons I’ve learned in Copenhagen, I know this is just the beginning of the growth and transformation I will experience while abroad. I still have three more weeks in Stockholm, Sweden, and couldn’t be more excited to see what awaits me in the new country. Already I have been able to notice slight differences in the cultures of the respective countries. For example, Sweden is the most forested country in Europe, and it is evident in every street I have walked on thus far. I even hike through the hills in the forest just to get to the metro everyday, a very different experience than biking on the flat roads of Copenhagen! I’m particularly looking forward to talking to the locals and seeing what I can learn from them about their country. I’m also excited to hear what they know about America. It was very interesting to hear how educated the Danes were about the U.S., so I’m curious to see if the Swedes are just as educated on our politics and government!