A few mornings ago, I was checking the weather as I ate breakfast and saw Saturday, January 13, the day I land in Copenhagen for my semester abroad, finally appear in the extended forecast. Although I have known I was studying abroad since October, the nerves and excitement that had gradually been building have manifested themselves in earnest since then. To ease some of my nerves, in typical Bailey fashion, I have spent hours reading the Wikipedia pages of the Danish royal family, political parties, reading Denmark guide books, and browsing the city on Google Maps. I have tried to get a headstart on my Danish by using an app called Duolingo, which has taught me to say some useful basic phrases such as jeg taler dansk og engelsk (I speak Danish and English) alongside some less useful ones like bjørnen læser en avis (the bear reads a newspaper). Duolingo might keep you on track, but it clearly doesn’t always teach the most relevant things, so I checked out a Danish book from my local library that has filled in some important blanks. My pronunciation is rough and some high school French keeps slipping through, but I’m certian I’ll improve quite a bit once I’m actually in Denmark.
Before I dive too far into the details of my preparation, let me introduce myself: I’m Bailey Bradford, 20 years old and a junior at Georgetown University in Washington DC majoring in Sociology and Government. I’m originally from Denver, Colorado (before you ask, I’m too clumsy to ski or snowboard) and currently live in Phoenix, Arizona while I’m not in DC (and yes, it’s hot but I’m not complaining about the 65° winter weather).
Spot me in a tan sweatshirt on the left :06 in!
I’m spending the spring 2018 semester abroad as a part of the DIS program in Copenhagen, Denmark, where I’m taking classes with other American students in the DIS program, going on a week long study tour to Vienna and Budapest with my Urban Studies class, and living with a Danish host family. Studying abroad is largely a reality for me thanks to the Benjamin A Gilman Scholarship Program, a US Department of State program that awards grants to students who receive Pell Grants that are studying abroad, as well as the support in scholarships from DIS and Georgetown. It was very tough for me to make the decision to leave Georgetown for a semester, as it’s a school I love with people I love in a city I love, but every day closer is making me more excited for this new adventure and a semester of personal growth and lifelong memories.
I’m a ball of all different emotions as the days until I leave are counting down, and I’m continuously reminding myself that I will have to adapt and learn despite my need to feel entirely prepared. Leaving the US for the first time is definitely making me anxious, but it’s matched by my excitement as I get a clearer picture of what the day to day of my semester will look like. Even though my focus in the remaining time home getting prepared in all senses for this upcoming semester, I am also taking some time to soak in some comforts of home and getting in my last doses of Chipotle and In-N-Out for quite a while. I can’t wait to begin this adventure—my goal in writing is to both reflect on my experience, share my experience with family and friends, and to empower those who may be considering studying abroad but believe that it isn’t accessible to them as I once believed it to be.