Spring 2014 Wrap Up

The time has come.
It is the last week I am physically present in Copenhagen.

In retrospect, I have lived several lives here.
By this I mean I feel as if I was here for many, many years…
It has only been a mere six months!

Knowing my drive to maximize every opportunity that come my way, I set specific goals for myself:
1) Navigate New Systems
2) Research Positive Psychology and Subjective Well-Being
3) Build Media Skills
4) Global Network

When things did not work out with my initial stages of research, I began to find other ways to make my experience abroad more fruitful and positively life-changing. I did not want to waste my time. It was a tough journey to make it here, and I wanted to make the best of being here as an exchange student. Not only did I want to change, learn and grow, but I also wanted to be an influence for others as well. I wanted to be a part of change.

In January, I was mind-blown and so, so grateful to be abroad. It was filled with walking around Copenhagen with no sense of direction, or certainty. It was also when I first learned Danish, such a beautiful, difficult language. Written and spoken Danish are so different.. -_-;;
This is also the month that I couldn’t stop smiling and jumping + clapping with joy when I met others. I experienced my first snow fall, and I even made a video about it.. it was my first time being abroad by myself, and I think my mind and body couldn’t register that I was in a different country. I was full of energy, excitement, curiosity, drive and openness. The biggest thing I learned this month is the importance of being open-minded. I am quick to make judgments, and I realized my assumptions are merely assumptions. My friend from Berkeley visited, so we got to visit museums and explore Nyhavn… it was an odd feeling to have her with me abroad. 🙂 I also got the opportunity to live in Tietgen Kollegium for a whole month. This month = new excitement, new emotions, new friendships, gratitude, confusion and gratitude.

In February, I began to shift my focus on culture immersion. On Monday evenings, I biked to the Tietgen Kollegiet (roughly around 15 mins) to collaborate with a Danish acapella group called Umlaut.  Not only were the practices all in Danish, but they communicated with me as if I knew Danish… it was difficult at first to understand what was going on, but I slowly learned to collaborate with them. On Monday through Friday, I took a 30 min bike ride to the city center for my lectures. On the evenings, I spent a large sum of my time inviting others from class and other exchange students to my home so we can cook and bake together. It was interesting because I got to learn so much by just trying to cook with them. Everyone is so, so different. February is also the month that I had a lot of quiet time by myself… I did a lot of self reflection of my life and my purpose of being in Denmark. I began to post my mental thoughts onto the walls of my room. I was lost, and I longed to feel in control. 

In March, I began to dive into volunteerism and networking. I was driven to make things happen instead of socializing for the present moment. I wanted to be a part of the community in Copenhagen. I learned to define, express and present who I am to others.
(the introduction stage was difficult for me throughout my exchange abroad, I never had to verbally express where I was from, and who I am to others. It really, really made me re-think the way I understand who I am in relation to where I reside)
Sleepless nights were more frequent, and black coffee became my favorite drink. I browsed online about opportunities I have as an exchange student. I was determined to make my stay abroad a fruitful one. This phase involved several projects… I produced, directed, filmed and edited a short video to apply for a RedBull competition… (I’ll write about that in another blog post)
And, through more impulsive searches on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, I found a grand opportunity to learn more about entrepreneurship! Their mission statement spoke to my hungry mind and soul, so I applied within two days of the deadline. To my surprise, they accepted me for the program. This is the month I also began to work on my video projects that I set for myself. I was on fiya!!

In April, I decided to take advantage of being in Europe and travelled to Paris and Amsterdam with one the exchange students I met here. It was altogether a two week trip, and it was… breath-taking. There were several difficulties along the way, but I don’t want to talk about that here. April is also the month I found out that I get to serve as a Press Team volunteer for Eurovision this year! Training began in the last week of April, and we continued to work throughout May. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to experience such a global event!!

In May, I found more consistency in my days, I was going on a volunteer shift for Studenterhuset, then lectures, then Eurovision shifts, then organizing my thoughts for papers, video projects, business ideas and the future. It was a very, very busy and lively month. 🙂

In June, I flew back to the states for 4 days to attend graduation, and I am so  glad I made that decision. I had the unique experience to appreciate Denmark again. I came back to Denmark with the impression that it was a second chance I can experience Denmark. It felt… different. If I ever felt too tired or too bogged down on work to network and enjoy outdoors, then I immediately wanted to make that extra effort to go out more. I wanted to use every second of my time here in Copenhagen… being a part of it, and not just in my room. June is also the month I experienced hardcore deadlines, papers were due, ideas had to be carefully thought out for the final pitch, I had to meet everyone that impacted my time here in DK– so much to do and experience.

okay, I’ve spent the past hour writing, I should finish packing so that I don’t feel as overwhelmed.

I’ll update more later!

Signing off,

Jennifer Won

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