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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.




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. 


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!


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. 


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.


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!




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!

Denmark Three!

This is the third 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 Kyle.

Hello fellow readers! I am sorry for the lack of updates, but the class has started to pick up. I will try to recap as best I can, but the days have been zooming by so fast.

Nancy left off at our day to the castle…..

We woke up bright and early to head to the LEGO house in Billund. A quick 45-minute bus ride and boom, we were there. I instantly jumped off the bus and ran toward the giant yellow staircase that descends from the second story of the building. (I, later, found out that the area was closed… oops!) We received a wonderful tour from a LEGO representative and learned about all the fantastic things you could do there. The entire house is constructed around the idea of learning through play. Therefore, each of the different sections of the house targeted vital skills that the LEGO family wants children to develop when they go to the LEGO house.  

The red room was all about creativity; there were boxes and boxes of Legos that you could build whatever you wanted with. The blue room is concerned with problem-solving. You could create a race car and see how fast you could make it go. Or play an interactive game where you moved buildings around to satisfy digital Lego figures. And there was another section where you could make a fish out of legos and have a program digitize your fish and put it in an aquarium. The yellow room dealt with emotions; you could make a flower (which was actually super tricky, and I could imagine getting very frustrated) or a bug that would “come to life.” Finally, the green room was about social interaction. In this room, you could create mini figures with a billion different combinations of heads, hats, accessories, bodies, and hairstyles. You could make a motion stop film with your figurines. You could also spend hours observing the world that professional LEGO builders made that told hundreds of different stories.  All in all… it was an experience never to forget.

On Friday, we debriefed about some of the things we had learned so far and connected what we were observing and experiencing with the literature we had been reading during the trip. A theme that came up a few times was how many of the different institutions we looked at had a similar approach to how children learn and play. There has been an emphasis thus far toward giving children the tools to build and create without a template, without the expectations of a particular something they should be learning or building. This can be seen clearly from our trip to the culture house where there was a workshop full of tools and recyclable materials where children could imagine and create. A similar space was the Lego design studio, in which children are given a general task to create a mechanism that. For example, noise, except there are hundreds of different ways to meet that criteria and not a single “correct answer.”

Monday, we visited a refugee and deportation center called Sjaelsmark Deportation Center. Many students had different experiences and reactions to being here, so I do not wish to speak on behalf of the class because my emotions and experience could have differed widely from another student’s. When we came back to the classroom Deewa, a guest speaker, told us about her experience of being a refugee and contextualize some of the things we saw at Sjaelsmark. She emphasized how the media shapes our views regarding refugees and one of the main takeaways from Deewa’s story is to not see refugees as being hopeless or weak (like the media portrays) and seeing refugees as strong and just people who want to live.  

That’s all from me, folks. Look forward to Nancy’s blog post, where she is featuring each student about something they learned in Denmark.

Denmark Two!

This is the second 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.

I haven’t done too many bold things in life but writing (or typing for specificity sake) this blog post while on a moving charter bus is really something. This is me defying my motion sickness tendencies to deliver the content you are hopefully here for.

After already being in Denmark for an entire week we have *mostly* settled in. A few people are currently sleeping on the charter bus and I want to say it is due to the three-hour trip we are making to a town called Kolding (pronounced “cawl-din”) in central Denmark as opposed to jet lag. For the next three days, we will be meeting some Danish people such as Anna, a current high school student, and visiting several locations like a design kindergarten (still don’t know what this means) and the LEGO House! Kyle is super stoked for the latter location…

Not free water.

The first week at Denmark has been quite an interesting experience to say the least. For instance, I’ve learned that public transportation is so much more reliable than it is in America, particularly in Los Angeles. Last summer, I had an intern friend joke that nobody walked in Los Angeles out of choice and I can’t say she was completely wrong. Danes get around in a manner that significantly differs from the way Americans do. It’s a fair portion of walking and using public transportation— bus, metro, and the S Tog (train)— but an astounding amount is biking. I wonder if people ever forget where they parked their bike or if there is a speed limit for how fast one can cycle down the road. One of my biggest pet peeves are slow walkers so I’ve found myself frustrated a few times within this past week with fellow pedestrians. There really is no in between in Denmark, people either walk slow or bike as if they were competing in the cycling marathon that happens every so often in Walla Walla. It surely doesn’t help that the streets are extremely narrow; granted, the bikes parked on the sidewalk are ridiculously space-consuming.

Too. Many. Bikes!

An overabundance of bikes is made possible given the type of road infrastructure. Picture a standard street in America, sidewalk for pedestrians and a lane for normal vehicles. Now add another street-like path to this visual. That path, typically wider than the actual sidewalk, is around the entire city; people like myself could forget about this feature, though. Funny story, on Saturday my roommate Kaima and I were in route to meet up with fellow classmates at the Church of Our Saviour in Christianshavn to make a trek to the top of the tower. I had hopped off the bus and waited for Kaima to also follow suit. However, she didn’t budge from her seat so I tapped on the glass window (very antithetical to the Danish logic of not calling attention to oneself) yet that was a futile attempt because everybody but her turned my way. Mind you, the entire time I had been standing in the bike lane, a sure way to ask for a deadly sentence. I’m still here typing so I’m obviously not dead; I simply learned that standing there for a second or two minutes too long prompts to getting scolded in Danish by cyclists. I used my non-existent language skills to brush off the comments (or insults). Swerving skills were on point!

We climbed the top of the church tower for 40DKK.

Front view of the church building featuring unbothered Danes.

The trek up to the tower delivered a spectacular view.

When Kaima (’22) and I aren’t stuck together in the room, we take a breather at a bus stop hopefully headed in the right direction.

I’ve been eating a ton of bread and cheese… and ice cream. This is definitely not a complaint, quite the contrary. I’ve never enjoyed bread and cheese this much; super glad that I’m neither lactose or gluten intolerant in times like these! My parents don’t need to know that I’ll have to recuperate my bank account’s balance this summer due to the ice cream I’ve been consuming since being here. On a completely different note, if you ever happen to be in Denmark and need to go work out don’t go to the “gymnasium”, that’s actually not a gym by American standards but an educational facility. Tina, my host mom, looked very befuddled when I inquired whether she attended her dance class at the gymnasium located a few minutes from the house. In retrospect, I can now chuckle at that conversation.

Indulge in all the lactose if you’re not intolerant. Left to right: Kyle (’20), Nancy (’21), Rajul (’20)

Hydrate or die-drate. Here’s a dilemma: you can only choose one free service, is it water or is it health care?

Denmark One!

This is the first 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 Kyle.

Wow, am I tired! Depending on where people started, many of us began our days at 3 am. We flew out of Walla Walla at 5 am. 

Over 24 hours of travel, and we are finally in Denmark! The students were immediately picked up by their host families. Funny story… I looked up my host dad on LinkedIn and thought I had found the correct man, but when my host dad came to pick me up, I realized I had looked up the wrong person. I think he could tell I was shocked, which made things a bit awkward in the car. But he is a great man and makes some funny jokes which eased the tension.

After a much-needed shower and collapsing onto our beds, we were expected at the Circus at 8:30 am sharp! (No rest for the weary travelers).  The Circus is a beautiful building that had actually been a circus in the 19th century but is now used for events such as DIS orientation or music awards etc.

We were treated to a performance by an up and coming musician named Drew, and also received anecdotal stories about past students getting lost in the city. Once that had concluded, Professor Janning gave a walking tour around DIS. We saw our classroom, that famous street with all the colored buildings (Nørrebro) and the walking street.   Then we were given three hours for lunch. 

After we were sent on our way home. I had a difficult time navigating the public transportation system, but after a good hour, I had finally made it home only to find that the key access to the house was having some difficulties. But I managed to get in, and then I was lucky enough to see my host sister’s soccer game! Her team won two to zero, which was quite the upset against the other team. It is funny and reassuring to know that Denmark parents act just the same as American parents when their children are in sports.

At dinner, my host sister asked me the dreaded question of if I could say “Rødgrød med Fløde” which is a Danish tongue twister because it has a lot of difficult sounds for non-Danish speakers to pronounce. Here is a video of people pronouncing it. Give it a try! Kyle is signing off and going to bed, good night!