I’m not going to lie; Copenhagen is pretty amazing. It has everything I need, and there are certainly enough sites and activities to fill an entire semester abroad. But don’t knock Western Denmark until you try it.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel with my core class to Western Denmark for a short study tour, and it was pretty incredible. If you’re looking for a break from the capital or just wondering what to expect during your short study tour, here are some highlights of my weekend:
Old Town Aarhus:
Admittedly we didn’t get much time to explore here, but downtown Aarhus is too cute to miss. As the second largest city in Denmark (behind Copenhagen, of course), there was plenty of social activity but with more of a small-town feel. My classmates and I enjoyed strolling through the streets and wandering into cozy bars and restaurants. We even found an “American-style” burger house and boy, oh, boy were those burgers delicious. A little taste of home was all the fuel I needed for a weekend of group travel.
Something I didn’t know prior to my core course week: DIS plans wicked awesome trips. In addition to a host of engaging academic visits, core course week was packed with excursions exclusively for our enjoyment (#doitforthememz). Somehow, this is how I ended up strapped to the side of one of the oldest bridges in Denmark, overlooking impending doom (aka the water separating Jutland and Fyn, two islands of Denmark).
Some of you may be wondering: how exactly does one scale the top of a bridge? Good question; I wondered the same. First, my classmates and I were fitted with some stylish jumpsuits and waist harnesses. Our guide directed us up a tall flight of stairs about 60 meters above the water. At this point, we connected our harnesses to a small guideline along the side of the bridge, and we were ready to scale the remaining 20 meters above the road.
The view was absolutely breathtaking, and we also learned quite a bit about the history of the bridge and the surrounding area–a win-win situation! Even though I have a slight fear of heights, I felt incredibly secure throughout the tour. Although the experience was admittedly unnerving at first, my body quickly adjusted and I was able to enjoy the remainder of the two-hour tour. I’d definitely recommend for thrill-seekers, families, tourists and the like.
Step aside, Louisiana Museum, the ARoS modern art museum in Aarhus takes the cake (in my opinion) for modern art in Denmark. Again, because we were traveling in a group, I didn’t have much time for exploration. However, what I saw of the museum was fascinating and beautiful. I could have easily spent the day exploring.
Skanderborg Cabin Hostel:
This was hands-down the highlight of core course week. On Friday night as our short weekend together was winding down, my classmates and I had the opportunity to stay in lakeside cabins in Skanderborg. There we enjoyed group canoeing and a bonfire complete with Danish snobrød (a type of braided bread that you cook over a fire) and a lesson in s’mores-making for our instructors Trine and Julie (who had never made a s’more before). Making memories and sharing stories around the fire was the perfect way to help our class bond for our semester ahead (and our week-long trip to Kosovo in just a few weeks)!
A Few More Highlights of Core Course Week:
A trip to Egeskvo Slot, one of Denmark’s many beautiful castles…
A beer-tasting and cultural conversation at Midfyns Bryghus…
And last, but certainly not least, an academic visit with the Danish Defense Ministry. We all totally acted casual when an F-16 flew over the building (if acting casual involves physically throwing your whole body under the nearest desk) (yes I really did that).
I could talk for days about this trip, but, in summary, it was the best. I love my class. I love DIS.