Hej, velkommen til København! My name is Kyle, writing to you from the heart of Scandinavia. Copenhagen is a wonderful place to study abroad for a semester (except for the freezing, freezing cold). I'll be honest -- a big reason why I chose it was the Danes' ability to speak English, but there's so much more that the city has to offer. From the huge biking culture to the extensive food variety and warm Danish atmosphere, Copenhagen is a great city and a ton of fun to be in.
But First...Let's Talk About the Food
If you are gluten-free, I have some bad news for you; one of the most famous dishes here is smørrebrød, which consists of a buttered rye bread, and topped with a variety of foods ranging from meats and fish to cheese and other spreads.
What I love so much about it is that the possibilities are endless with this type of dish; hard-boiled egg and shrimp, or cream cheese and herring, or even chicken salad and bacon. Literally any topping can work with smørrebrød!
And yes, Copenhagen has their own version of restaurant week as well. My roommate and I went to Restaurant Viva (a restaurant on a boat) in February, where we had some of the finest Scandinavian seafood. The highlight was the main course, cod sprinkled with spinach and varnished with a creamy lobster sauce - by far one of my favorite dishes here. The sour apple sorbet, with a crispy cookie bottom, was a great dessert to finish off too.
The Danes love their burgers too! One of my favorite places to eat is Banana Joe's, a small shack located in Copenhagen's hipster Nørrebro district. The special burger, which includes the meat, a fried egg, and a special sauce (which reminds me a lot of a yogurt curry mixture) is unusual, but definitely one of the best burgers I've ever had.
Of course, since eating out can get quite expensive in Cope, I've learned a great deal about how to cook for myself, though the trips to the supermarket never get any easier (æ, ø and å always get me confused when translating the different foods into English)
Life in Denmark
One big perk is that Copenhagen itself isn't a huge city, which makes everything super convenient to get to. That's why biking is such a fixture in Danish society - over half the total population are regular cyclists! You'll find many streets that only allow cyclists and pedestrians, a sharp contrast to the driver-friendly ways back in the States. The architecture is marvelous as well; from the color houses of the port at Nyhavn, to the historical Rosenborg Castle located at the center of this bustling city, I find myself constantly at awe with the amazing blend that makes up Copenhagen's unique atmosphere. How it is able to combine some of the oldest buildings with its modern architecture (and interesting graffiti) is a wonderful sight, and I always enjoy being a part of the windy, walkable streets that snake throughout the city.
The courses here at the DIS program have been awesome too. The hands-on learning experience is definitely a big focus in many of my classes; we've visited companies like Holm Communication, which helps companies like Playstation write press releases, and Arla Foods, the largest producer of dairy products in Scandinavia. Being able to tour and speak with key members of these Danish companies has really given me exposure to how Danes do business here in Denmark. Learning Danish has also been fun (and hard!), and I've really enjoyed how much focus is placed on learning about Danish culture. For example, we've learned about the concept of hygge, meaning "cozy" in English. Many Danes seek this type of feeling in a cozy, warm atmosphere, and you see this reflected in society. Comfy coffee shops and intimate bars are dispersed throughout the city, and Copenhagen includes many public spaces and seating arrangements for people to socialize during the warmer months. Though Danes are quite reserved, when getting to know them better I've found that they are some of the nicest people around! It's not a surprise to me that they are named one of the happiest countries in the world.
But probably my favorite place has been outside Copenhagen and is located on the western part of Denmark, the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum. Home to some of the coolest modern art, this museum greatly plays to the viewer's visual appeal; the rainbow panorama was like nothing I've seen before, and I would totally recommend visitors to check it out.
Traveling in Europe Is Lit Too
But of course, it's been such a great opportunity to be in Europe as well, where traveling is super easy. Gelato in Florence, Cubano burgers in Barcelona, caffè mocha in Dublin, and venison in Edinburgh are just a small sample of some of the great foods I've been able to try during my travels abroad. Being able to experience the different foods and cultures in both Denmark and Europe has been awesome, and would 10/10 do it again.
Taste The Culture
Welcome to Fork Tales – The GU Eating Society's blog. Read all about our members' cultural food experiences, right here.