- Name: Gretel O’Donnell
- Hometown: Chicago, IL
- Graduation year: 2019
- Major: Environmental Justice and Citizenship
- Program: DIS Sustainability in Northern Europe
I was able to spend a nice Saturday afternoon in Christianshavn, Copenhagen before the sun started setting early. Here I am at the top of Vor Frelsers Kirke, a church with the best view of Copenhagen's city centre.
My time studying abroad in Copenhagen has given me so many experiences I could have never imagined. My new memories range from missing the last train in a London train station at midnight to hiking in one of the most beautifully preserved landscapes in Norway. I have learned a lot in the classrooms, but even more outside of them. Through study tours organized by the school, I was able to see sustainable development in action, and through my independent travel I was able to get to know cities that were previously foreign to me.
I was also able to have this amazing view from the hostel my class stayed at on top of Rjukan, Norway valley. During this trip we were able to study sustainability in Oslo, as well as a Rjukan. Rjukan holds it place in a deep valley about three hours west of Oslo.
My classes here have shown me possible career paths I may want to follow. My professors come from abroad and teach from career experiences they have. In my renewable energy systems class, I had the chance to climb to the top of a wind turbine that was over 300 feet high. In my sustainable development in Northern Europe course, we took a trip to the remote Danish island of Ærø. We were guided through an ecological farm where we learned so much from the nitrogen levels of the soil to mythological gods that were once worshiped on the land.
This photograph was taken at Hardangervidda National Park Center. This national park is home to one of the largest reindeer populations in the world. I had such a nice time absorbing Norway's amazing landscapes and going on hikes with my classmates.
Almost every day brought something new. I was also so lucky to have the chance to live with my amazing host family in the suburbs of Copenhagen. I was able to have nightly conversations about our families, friends, and cultures. This has expanded my understanding of living abroad and how it could be a possibility in the future.