Junior Laura Van Drie will be studying abraod in Copenhagen this fall. She will be writing regularly for The Pendulum about her experiences abroad and news developments in Denmark. 

Part of the reason I came to Elon University was because of the study abroad opportunities. But before I went on my Winter Term trip to India and Dubai this past January, I wasn't sure if I actually wanted to spend a whole semester abroad - the thought of leaving Elon for a whole four months was a little nerve-wracking.

After a few days in Dubai and three weeks in India, I knew I absolutely wanted to explore other countries. I won’t lie and say I loved every second of being abroad. There were times when I got frustrated with the lack of clean tap water, the beggars and vendors that constantly shoved needless trinkets in my face and the cows and goats who wandered freely through the streets. But these frustrations melted away when I was riding an elephant or darting between cars on a rickshaw in a busy city or sampling authentic Indian butter chicken at a fancy restaurant. It sounds corny, but learning about a new culture honestly changed my outlook on life.

I learned more during those three weeks than I can pack into a short article. When I came back to Elon at the end of January, I immediately applied to spend the fall semester at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) in Copenhagen. I knew almost nothing about Denmark, but the program offered a good selection of classes in my major, strategic communications, and my minor, sociology.

My "core" class, European Trends in Communication, includes a week-long study tour to London where we will visit media outlets like newspapers and public relations agencies. It sounds like it'll be similar to my freshman year trip to Atlanta with other Communications Fellows, but it will be interesting to see what's different about the media two years later and on a different continent. I'll also get to take my first advertising class, International Advertising in a European Context.

I'll be taking two sociology electives, Sociology of the Family and Sexuality and Gender in Scandinavia. As part of my Sexuality and Gender class, I will take a trip to Amsterdam with other students studying human rights, human trafficking, sex and gender. The field trip will include a tour of the Red Light District (yes, I'll be earning academic credit for that) and we'll explore other parts of Amsterdam, too.

I'm enjoying my last few weeks in America since I know I'm about to be overwhelmed by culture shock and an abundance of new languages, food, places and people. I'm going to miss my friends and the comforts of home, but I'm also so excited to start a new adventure.

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