By Sindy Ortiz
Special to the Denisonian
GREETINGS FROM KØBENHAVN! Hej, from the far-off land of Denmark, surprisingly, is having better weather than Ohio at the moment. It is actually not such a far-off land, depending on the flight you chose.
For those of you who are considering going abroad at any point during your college career, let me begin by saying ‘go for it!’ There are plenty of reasons why you might choose not to do it, but there are many more pros than cons to experiencing another culture, which I can’t possibly sum up here.
What I did want to speak about are the differences and similarities I have noticed so far between Denmark and the US. Denmark is a welfare state, which means a multitude of different things, but most importantly that students do not have to pay for their education up to a masters degree and there is free healthcare (minus dentistry).
This in itself is a colossal difference from struggles American students face in the US higher education system. Imagine being able to attend college for free: would it affect what courses you took, the career you chose, how important grades are? Would it be a different society, or would it still be a society strongly based on meritocracy? These were the questions that I began to ask myself upon hearing this news.
Furthermore, students are given a check from the government to offset some costs that they might have (housing, food, TV, etc.), and it is still given if the student works. Some might say, “pft-I get refund checks,” (extra money from overpaying your balance) but this is on a consistent basis. I am not sure about you, but this seems like a place that actually values the individual’s quest for a future of economic stability.
Of course, there are a host of problems with the welfare system in general, and no place is perfect, but it does seem like a system worth looking into, at least for those of us not fortunate enough to not have any loans.
On another note, the social aspect was not that different from any city setting, in the sense that people pretty much keep to themselves. However, if you ever need help, people do not hesitate to stop and show you some kindness! Also, it is true, in the middle of January things look sad and dark, the “hygge” feeling/atmosphere definitely brings the warmth you need to get through the days.
There is so much to explore, even just on Denison’s campus. Try something new, enjoy the fact that you have the freedom to try something new, why wait to look back and wish you had? I have had the opportunity to go as far as Sweden, Czech Republic, Italy and Spain, and don’t know when I will be back again, but I will be!