Retreating Home

Wandering in Denmark

Retrospect: A Semester Abroad is Fast, But Not Lifeless

It’s April; in a little over a month, I am back on American soil. Just a day ago, I was panicking because I thought that I had not seen everything that I should have seen in my 4 months abroad. As I reflect on my experiences while in Denmark and Europe, I realize that is impossible to do everything. But that doesn’t make my experience any less valuable.

A common sentiment shared by fellow study abroad students is that “time flies.” A semester at your home university might feel perpetual because it has become a routine after a few years. Going abroad means everything is new and foreign to you. Upon your arrival, you yet to have found your favorite lunch spot, an efficient commute to campus, and the best times to explore other parts of the region. Through trial and error, you will quickly begin to understand what you are capable of doing/not doing.

Everyone’s abroad story unique to themselves. At DIS, lifestyles vary vastly due to different class schedules, living situations, family committment, majors, etc. Maybe you can’t take that trip to Santorini that everyone keeps posting and raving about. That’s fine. The trip that you forego is replaced by something else you do. If that means staying in at home and experiencing a Danish spring weekend with the host family, that is just as valuable as a trip to Santorini. I wouldn’t mind spending a weekend consisting of BBQ, lounging on the patio, and absorbing the long awaited Danish sun.

So do not panic! Reflect on what you have done instead of always longing for what you could have done. Enjoy the 4 months abroad and relish every little thing that you do!
Should you need pointers or other help, you can always comment or e-mail me directly at!

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin, Germany

Reflection: Long Study Tour (Berlin & Prague)

On a particular Thursday night, I found myself feeling over exhausted. At 1AM, I had officially been awake for bout 20 hours. My day was intensely packed with completing any outstanding tasks I needed taken care of ahead of my trip. The next morning, I woke up in a nauseous state, but went to Copenhagen for classes anyways. That would be a decision I would regret… As the clock ticked towards the end of my 8:30AM class, I couldn’t keep it down any longer. I ran to the bathroom and what little was in my stomach came back up. With that, I made myway back home, only to fall into a deep slumber through daylight. I had hoped that long naps and hot tea would bring an end to the illness before it go any worse. After all, our core course was departing Copenhagen for our long study tour to Berlin and Prague on Sunday.

In case you’ve missed it, I’ve made a post that reflects on my core course week experience. It was a trip I took with my core course, European Business Strategies (Section A). Two weeks forward, we were departing for Berlin and Prague. The only thing different this time was that our class was more familiar with each other. In that regards, I am appreciative of how DIS scheduled our semester.

Descending onto the tarmac in Berlin, I was pretty excited for the week ahead. I nearly forgot of my mild illness at this point. We enjoyed a nice view and a 4 course lunch on top of the German parliament building. Definitely a high point (ha! get it?) during our time in Berlin. Just as our last study tour, this trip was primarily focused on getting a scope of the everyday tasks and hurdles that companies face who partake in the European Single Market. We got presentations and a tour (if applicable) of the companies’ facilties to better understand their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis). Visiting companies such as BMW Motorcycles and Deutsche Bahn, then smaller group tours of multiple companies (I visited Messe Berlin; they are an event host for trade fairs with hundreds of thousands of square footage of floor space).

EBS (A) poses in front of the Lennon wall in Prague, CZ

Similarly, the concept of the tour in Prague was more or less the same as that we experienced in Berlin. We visited various companies including Saxo Bank, Skoda, and Skanska. However, Prague is not the same as Berlin. We took the climb up to the royal castles and got breathtaking views up there of the city. Prague is more classic and elegant where as Berlin is newer and more structured. In each of the tour, we would get a taste of the culture via their landmarks, staple meals, and bar scene.

All of this was done in the good company of amazing people. The tours were excellent, but the experience itself was mainly due to our awesome staff leaders, AC and Niels, and incredibly fun classmates.

Nowhere else could you get such an all-encompassing trip like the European Business Strategy (Case Group A, of course) long study tour. Now I gotta get started on our sponsor project with Carlsberg. More on that on another post…

Reflection: A Homestay was Right for Me

I’m sitting on the couch, the window behind me ajar. The slight breeze adds a calming element in the midst of silence. Flanked by my friends, I am staring at the clock on the wall. My eyes glance over to the coffee table, where an IU mug rests next to my roommate’s car keys.

But then…

“Keveeen?” creaked in a sheepish voice. My head snapped left to look over my shoulder. Upon making eye contact with Mia, my 5-year old host sister, she continues, “Color?” I respond with a smile and a quick nod as I stood up from my chair… Continue reading “Reflection: A Homestay was Right for Me”

Reflection: Core Course Week – International Business A

The concept of “Core Courses” is unique to the DIS study abroad experience. The organizers have hit the mark in giving your academic experience an identity. They know that you are studying abroad to capture the life and culture of the country and the surrounding area. Instead of asking of you to wander around alone, they integrate travelling, exploring, and case studies into the repetoire. You will tour around different parts of Denmark and Europe within your core course. As I am enrolled in the International Business (Section A) core course, my reflection will be pertinent to said course… Continue reading “Reflection: Core Course Week – International Business A”

Tips: Traveling MUST Haves

Packing can be just as, if not more stressful than planning for a trip.

I am not your typical guy who can just throw in a few pants, shirts, underwear, toiletries and call it a day. I would dare even to go as far as to say I pack more than girls who also require more layers, make up, etc. I was accompanied by my two 50lb luggages AND my rather large backpack on my flight to Copenhagen. Some things I brought with me include gifts for my host family, clothes, toiletries, 5 pairs of shoes, a suit, business wear, laptop, iPad, and chargers…needless to say, my philosophy is “better safe than sorry.”

Your packing needs can be very similar or very different from mine. Irregardless of who you are, the following are a few ESSENTIAL items to bring with you when traveling to Copenhagen + Europe: Continue reading “Tips: Traveling MUST Haves”

Tips: Seeking a Niche at DIS

As social beings, it is natural for us to seek a sense of belonging. I can easily say that I have the best network of friends, family, and location that I could possibly ever ask for…back at home. The concept of going abroad is alluring, but once you get there, it’s really up to you to make it a good experience. You are not going to let your hard work leading up to your study abroad experience go to waste by not materializing anything out of your trip. Thankfully, DIS provides the resources to hopefully make your transition less about stressing out and more about having one of the best 4 months of your life. Continue reading “Tips: Seeking a Niche at DIS”

Jet Lagged (the arrival Part 2)

It was 9A.M. and I woke up to the radiating smell of coffee and bacon. I picked up my heavy head and slumped my way over to the kitchen. As I entered the kitchen, my host family greeted me with a friendly smile. They were surprised I was able to get up so “early”, given my rough day earlier. The familiarity of the breakfast contrasted my new kitchen and new backyard (for the next 4 months). Pancake, Bacon, Eggs, and Coffee. Continue reading “Jet Lagged (the arrival Part 2)”

And so it Began (the arrival Part 1)

“Due to inclement weather, we will be circling above the Munich airport until we are given the all-clear to land. Thank you for your patience” said a husky, German accented voice. I was glad that they gave an American translation of the previous sentence announced in what I presume was German.  Continue reading “And so it Began (the arrival Part 1)”

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