Blog 2

Hi all, the third week is complete, and I am about to start my last week in Copenhagen. This week was probably the most fun and educational week of my time here. Everyone in my group has gotten so close and we have shared so many bonding experiences this week. In terms of me adjusting to the Nordic culture: I am personally a big fan of the food, because I love seafood, but I know some of my classmates are starting to get tired of it. Luckily, there are many different cuisine options for them to choose from all around the city. I am not missing home quite yet, but sometimes the language barrier can be hard. Everyone here speaks English, but once you speak it, they automatically know you are a tourist and this can sometimes be a bad thing. Scandinavians tend to be super sweet though, so this has not been an issue yet!

In terms of activities, we had a couple interesting school tours which included a Viking tour and a tour of the medical museum. We learned all about the Viking culture and how they made their ships and sails. At the end of the museum we went outside to see all of the ships and take a ride, but it came as a complete surprise that the guide told us that we were going to row ourselves.  I was not expecting to do a workout for this field trip but it ended up being a very memorable experience. When the guide put up the heavy sail I was in perfect positioning to get whacked in the face, and have a picture of me almost falling over. We also went to the medical museum which used to be an old medical school where they would perform surgery on cadavers for learning purposes. The museum had rooms showing us old practices of medicine in Denmark as well as a COVID exhibit and babies in jars. Yes, baby in jars. These babies had multiple birth defects in the 1600s and they were terminated– because of their interesting birth defects, they were put in jars to study. 

We learned a lot about birth defects and maternal mortality rates in class. Here in Denmark, pregnant women receive four weeks of paid maternity leave before birth and a minimum of 14 weeks of paid maternity leave after childbirth, although this can extend up to 52 weeks. In the US, there is federally no paid maternity leave. Maternity mortality rates in Denmark are significantly less than in the US, because they promote a healthy lifestyle for soon-to-be mothers. Having a midwife throughout the pregnancy journey and to help deliver the baby is also very common in Denmark. Because they have a free public healthcare system, each person is assigned a general physician (GP) at birth which is their primary doctor and their first entry point into health coverage. We actually had a GP come into class to speak about her career! It is interesting that they are the highest paid doctors in Denmark, while general physicians in the States are usually one of the lowest paid doctors. GPs in Denmark also have to go through the most schooling, as they are the “gatekeepers” for secondary care. I loved this class session because this is the field of study I want to go into in the future!

As I said in the beginning, my classmates and I are bonding really well with each other which has helped so much here! We have done movie nights in our shared common room in which all 11 of us huddle up and watch a cheesy Rom-Com or Disney movie on a 13-inch laptop. We have also continued to explore around Copenhagen. We took a “Go-Boat”, which is a rentable boat, that we went around the canal in for a couple of hours. We brought food and drinks and took so many Instagram worthy pictures. There is definitely a learning curve to steering the boat as there is no wheel and when you steer left the boat goes right, but after 30 minutes we were fine. 

In terms of my personal journey, I have honestly been having the time of my life here in Europe. My trip to Italy was absolutely amazing and this last weekend my friend and I went up to Norway to Stavanger to climb Pulpit Rock. It was a 9-hour total journey, but so worth it. We took a boat ride through all of the stunning mountains and our hike up Pulpit Rock took about 4 hours up and back. We were supposed to get rained on the entire trip, but luckily it was only cloudy, which made the hike up so much easier! In Copenhagen I have been taking some nightly walks by myself which has proven so good for my mental health. I have sadly electrocuted myself twice now, so I would say when you travel to Europe, make sure you get a reliable converter. I am honestly so sad to leave this beautiful country and my new friends, but I am going to make the most of this last week. Will update you guys later!