SEPT 7-14


DIS students are all enrolled in what is known as a “core course”. Our choice of a core course determines the DIS program we will be enrolled in and it may often align with our majors. We will be traveling with our core course throughout the semester to visit different destinations and participate in workshops and activities that pertain to the class. My core course is titled Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness, and this past week, we went on a short study tour to Aarhus and Alborg in Western Denmark to examine different aspects of consciousness.

We crossed two bridges to get to the mainland. Copenhagen is located on an island just east, right next to Sweden (I actually did not know Copenhagen was on an island until arriving here). Our final destination, Alborg is located at the very northern tip of Denmark.

I enjoy long car rides. The 4 hour journey was really just a time for me to catch up on my hobbies. I love taking long, unpredictable naps to wake me up to a completely new scenery. I love listening to good tunes while staring at the blur of colors outside – I saw a lot of swaying greens, gray sky, and misty rain cascade down like waterfall when they hit the windows. I love taking the time to jot down random thoughts and scribble satisfactory chicken scratch that reflect the bumps on the road. And then to do all of this at once is perhaps the best way to pass time.

9/10 beer tasting ! You can probably tell that the last one was my least favorite.

We stayed for a total of three days and two nights. We visited a schizophrenia workshop, drifted to sleep in music therapy, embarked on a blindfolded tour, demolished french fries and popcorn served on the side at beer tasting more than the beers, watched Baby Driver, booked tickets to Athens, then celebrated with Mcdonald’s milkshake and french fries at almost midnight, stopped at a small exhibition that I found extremely disturbing, and made it home safely on Wednesday.

9/10 blindfolded activity with the lab crew !!! (yes I took this photo blind aha !)

Despite traveling hundreds of miles to participate in these activities, I was most captivated by a movie we saw on Thursday at the DIS library. We watched Temple Grandin (2010), a true story about a woman with autism and her academic journey.

There is a theory that consciousness is based on verbal report. However, Temple’s experience says otherwise – her understanding of the world is digested and produced visually. The world’s perception of her verbal insufficiency often leads to a hasty judgment on her intelligence and capacity to understand. Therefore, Temple finds herself to resonate with the cattle on her aunt’s farm. Perhaps it’s because they, too, lack verbal report. When she is a teenager, she invents a “squeeze machine”, inspired by a containing system used to pacify cattle, that serve to reduce her anxiety and function like a “hug”. The movie shares Temple’s perspective in understanding the world: different, but never less. I won’t spoil the ending, so I highly suggest you watch the movie yourself.


DIS students have the option to sign up for a visiting host family if they are not living with a host family. My visiting host family consists of 4 members: Morten, Sisse, Emma (14), and Hannah (12). They are absolutely lovely people and have made my study abroad experience a lot more comfortable. Yesterday, they invited me to their house for dinner. Morten picked me up at the train station and dropped me and Hannah off at the beach just 5 minutes away.

Hannah is a soccer fanatic and a big environmentalist. She enjoys picking trash at the beach during her downtime, and I got to join her this time. She had pink gloves for me and red gloves for herself. She is not the most fluent English speaker, but still very impressive for a twelve year old. With my very sad Danish vocabulary and her proficient English, we talked about our favorite foods, the differences between America and Denmark, and the people at school. She said she didn’t have any crushes because the boys at her school are bleh. I told her it’s honestly pretty much the same wherever you go.

Hannah feels like an old soul at a very young age. We glided in the sand against the wind and admired the swaying grass on our right, the waves gently crashing on our left. She told me she loves the sound of water and we walked on a bridge to admire the water glisten under the sunlight. I pointed out the patterns the waves leave behind on sand and we sighed in contentment as we picked up half burnt cigarettes and straws on the shore. She picked up smooth rocks and discarded the previous one if she came across a smoother one. I followed and we compared the texture and the color of our rocks. Then we sat on a bench in front of a lake and listened to the sound of tall, ornamental grass swaying and dancing while looking at the clouds high above us. I didn’t want this time to end.

9/14 Hannah and our trash bag

My host family lives in a house that basically jumped out of a fairytale. It looks like a little cottage from the outside, but inside is just BAM DANISH DESIGN ! They have been remodeling the house for a while now because they are planning to sell the house and move to the city near where I live. They have a garden with 2 apple trees, a plum tree, and flowers that greet the entrance. While we waited for the pork to finish, we sat outside to bask in the sun and drink lavender mint tea I brought from home. They thankfully enjoyed the tea! After a nice dinner of pork, potatoes, carrots, topped with a spinach cream sauce, we had apple crumble that Hannah made for dessert, and played cards. We played the American equivalent of spoons except we would stick our tongues out instead of grabbing items when we got 4 of the same cards. Emma showed me her confirmation and baby photos. We spent a long time trying to figure out the chocolate bar magic where you cut off a piece of chocolate, but it doesn’t shrink. It was a long, but laughter filled Saturday – definitely a great way to end my long week (Sunday doesn’t count because I just stayed home to hygge. I really needed this!).

Before driving me home, Sisse handed me a mason jar filled with homemade apple butter using apples from their garden. They said, “if you need anything else, let us know.”

9/15 Homemade apple butter makes breakfast more hyggeligt!

I feel so incredibly fortunate to have them by my side. I guess things like this keep my happy badum! going. I am not ready to go back to classes after my study tour. My academic rhythm feels off because it is always interrupted every other week or so. Also, the weather is getting colder, so I really don’t want to leave my fifth floor hole. All good though, just 3 more weeks until Italy!

Until next time,


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