Tak, Denmark!

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts from Whitties studying on Whitman’s Crossroads: Denmark program this summer with Professor Michelle Janning. This blog post is by Nancy — with the help of her fellow peers.

The course ended just a little over two weeks ago and now we are all roaming around the states (or abroad) doing all sorts of stuff this summer. At some point, when we’re back on campus, you can ask us what we did after Denmark since you’ll have already met us via this blog post. Thanks to everyone for sending their statements to me; I nagged some more than others but it’s summer and procrastination is at it’s peak for some of us. Fair game.

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Left to right: Sal + Ellery

Name: Salvatore Goldblatt

Major and year: English, 2020

A statement regarding your time in Denmark

My favorite part of the program was the independence we had. I’m brand new to the field of sociology, so the ability to be self-reliant while still having my colleagues for assistance was really beneficial for my learning. Our host mother had a special needs son, so spending time with him really confirmed my aspirations to be a special education teacher. We also drove out to the beach on our last weekend in Denmark. There was a dock out in the ocean with diving boards and picnic tables, and it was one of the most interesting environments i’ve ever been in. While the water might have been freezing, I’ll never forget the feeling of standing on a platform 15 feet in the air in the middle of the ocean.

Name: Ellery Shore Nelson

Major and year: Psychology, 2020

A statement regarding your time in Denmark:

My favorite part of the Denmark Crossroads program was getting to observe and experience Scandinavian childhood & parenthood firsthand while spending time with my host family. Getting the opportunity to stay with a host family in another country is something that I wish everyone had the chance to do! I will cherish the ~hygge~ I shared with my host family for a very long time!

 

Left to right: Mariah, Linnea, Susanna

Name: Mariah Howell

Major and year: Sociology, 2020

A statement regarding your time in Denmark:

It was fun to view this experience through an educational lens. Every interaction I made with Danish culture was rather objective; I accepted their society and its complexities for what it was. I think by the end of the trip, I was satisfied with how much I generally learned to appreciate cultures, societies, and individuals who are different than my own.

Name: Linnea Coleman

Major and year: Geology, 2021

A statement regarding your time in Denmark:

This was truly an incredible experience. I learned so much through immersion into Danish culture and lifestyle especially within my homestay. Before this course I hadn’t done much social science, so I was nervous about my lack of prior experience. I was able to draw connections between my major, Geology, and the work we were doing in Denmark, especially when it came to taking field notes. My geology background gave me a different perspective which was interesting to share and compare with my classmates. I was impressed by how much emphasis political campaigns put on childhood and schooling. I appreciate how children in Scandinavia are actually treated like individuals experiencing an important stage in life, rather than just little adults-in-training. I could write so much more, but I don’t want to drone on and on. I am so thankful to have been able to be part of this unique class and hope to see other Whitman students get to take it in the future!

Name: Susanna Williams

Major and year: Sociology, 2020

A statement regarding your time in Denmark

My favorite part of being a part of this program was having an opportunity to do a more experiential type of learning that is unparalleled in the classroom. Living in homestays, talking with locals from a variety of backgrounds, and being able to observe on the streets, are the type of things that come to mind. This type of learning, combined with more traditional forms of learning, allowed us to complicate not only our understanding of those more traditional forms themselves, but also the information in them. An example that comes to mind is reading about the “good childhoods” in Scandinavia, and juxtaposing that with the actual experience of childhood from both our perspectives as observers and the perspectives of those living those childhoods. This experience and skill is something will stick with me forever as a life-long learner. 

Grace

Name: Grace Hammarlund

Major and Year: Psychology (Undeclared), 2022

A statement regarding your time in Denmark:

This invaluable Crossroads course gave me opportunities one rarely gets in college: 

  • Everyday experiential learning in a foreign country – no classroom experience can match that.
  • An opportunity to practice my skills in observing human behavior in the field – this is a technique of sociology that differs from the more controlled environment of psychology experiments.
  • An opportunity to explore Copenhagen (such a gorgeous, cosmopolitan, and polite city) and environs and totally immerse myself in Danish culture for three intensive weeks.
  • The pleasure of living with a host family, which also gave me practice in diplomacy as I had to establish and negotiate some expectations and norms in order to improve my stay. 
  • I enjoyed being exposed to Denmark’s remarkably strong social, educational, and welfare programs that support its population from cradle to grave.
  • I had the pleasure of introducing a local high school teacher, Nina Monrad, to Professor Janning. Nina spoke to our cohort about Denmark’s educational system and I suspect that she’ll be part of the Denmark Crossroad curriculum in the future!

Left to right: Chloe + Sarah

Name: Chloe Holaso

Major and Year: Sociology, 2020

A statement regarding your time in Denmark

Spent it annoying nancy 

Name: Sarah Cohn

Major and Year: Sociology- Environmental Studies, 2021

A statement regarding your time in Denmark

I enjoyed learning through exploration and experience both during class time and personal time!

Jessica

Name: Jessica Robinson

Major and Year: Mathematics, 2021

A statement regarding your time in Denmark:

I enjoyed the opportunities we had to learn through immersion and to explore the city independently.

Left to right: Nancy + Kaima

Name: Nancy Delgado

Major and year: Film & Media Studies, Sociology, 2021

A statement regarding your time in Denmark:

This course served as an avenue for meeting fellow Whitties either for the first time or on a more personal level, cultural immersion and coming to the realization that sociology is actually a super inter-disciplinary study. If given the chance, I’d definitely do this again — exclusively with the same group. I can’t imagine spending nearly three weeks with a different individuals; being *slightly* lost, people watching, thrift shopping, ice-cream and Shawarma eating, train and bus trips, or airport layovers would definitely not have been as enjoyable.

Name: Kaima Weiss-Penzias

Major and year: Undeclared, 2022

A statement regarding your time in Denmark:

I enjoyed getting to know my host family while studying childhood and parenting. Experiencing both at the same time allowed me to make connections and understand events on a deeper level. I also got to hold many cute things thanks to my host family including a four day old baby and some very cute baby bunnies. 

Photograph by Kaima, provided by Raj.

Name: Rajul Chikkalingaiah

Major and year: Psychology, 2020

A statement regarding your time in Denmark

Made friends, played with children, got lost, had a fun and immersive experience. 

Kyle

Name: Kyle Levin

Major and year: Sociology, 2020

A statement regarding your time in Denmark:

I think it was an incredible experience to read the literature about Denmark and then see it in action. We talk a lot at Whitman about the theoretical, but to be able to see what we have learned about, is an invaluable experience.

Left to right: Indira + Anissia

Name: Indira Dahlstrom

Major and year: Sociology, 2021

A statement regarding your time in Denmark: 

There were abundant opportunities to use the sociological imagination, noting the importance of context and positionality in our studies. Outside of the course, my favorite memory with my host family was going for bike rides along the water and getting ice cream! 

Name: Anissia Hughes

Major and year: Psychology, 2020 

A statement regarding your time in Denmark:

I loved being able to live with a host family and hear about Danish culture from Danish people as opposed to just reading about it. I also loved eating churros every single day.

Andrea

Name: Andrea Gu

Major and year: Sociology, 2020

A statement regarding your time in Denmark

Even though we were there for only 3 weeks, living with a host family and the immersion into Danish culture that we experienced really allowed me to better understand how much family life matters in the context of every society and how seemingly mundane things that happen in everyday life can end up contributing to the bigger picture. This was truly an amazing experience that was made even more special by the tight-knit connections we formed as a group as well as with the people we met in Denmark!

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A tremendous thanks to Whitman OCS for all the tedious work executed on our behalf as well as to our lovely professors, Michelle Janning and our Danish-American professor, Jennifer “Jen” Duncan-Bendix.

Hej hej!

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