Oberlin Blogs

Studying Abroad Senior Year

October 22, 2022

Aishwarya Krishnaswamy ’23

Senior year…Senior year….Senior…what? I can’t believe it’s senior year already. It’s my final year at Oberlin, and I feel like a freshman all over again. I’m not in Oberlin for the longest time in three years. I am currently studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark (a northern European country). Beginning of my senior year, I felt like I was back to being a freshman. Everything was new, and once again, I was tripping into unknown hallways, getting lost, and making friends from scratch, and learning to live in a new country and adapt to a new culture all at the same time. 

I’m halfway into the semester, and I feel much more grounded and peaceful. But the first few weeks in Copenhagen, I definitely found myself feeling homesick. No, I wasn’t missing my home in Mumbai, I was missing my newfound home, Oberlin!! I was missing the warmth and support of the Oberlin community that has uplifted me all these years. A couple of my friends from larger universities in the city were quite curious to know why I missed Oberlin, which to them was this tiny little liberal arts school in the middle of nowhere. Well, for starters, Oberlin sits in the middle of my heart, and there is so much intentionality that this quaint little town holds that can be quite difficult to find in bigger cities with throngs of people and oozing convenience. 

I might write another blog describing the things I miss about Oberlin, but for now, I am doing the DIS for North American students program affiliated with Oberlin. There are about 1300 students from different schools across North America, and for the first time, I saw the breadth of different kinds of college students within the States. In the midst of navigating social dynamics and making new friends, I truly recognized how special the Oberlin community is. This place is very unique and attracts its tribe of humans into it. Some of my cultural shocks were related to Greek life, which we barely get a whiff of in Obieland, where there aren’t any fraternities or sororities, only Co-ops ;) !!! 

I am studying Positive Psychology here in Denmark, which has ranked #1 as the happiest country in the world for a long time. I am also trying to learn the Danish language and culture, which has been very interesting, to say the least. Danish can be a very hard language to learn, especially with all the unique sounds and silent letters. Applied Psychotherapy might be my favorite class here because the content is super interesting, and finally I am taking ‘The Future is Feminine’ class which is a very innovative class that combines theoretical knowledge and practicing yoga. I love the education I am getting here! My teachers truly take critical thinking seriously and challenge us with constructive discussions in class. 

Through volunteering activities at Studenterhuset (student house, where I work as a barista) and mind and movement classes, I am slowly finding the community and people where I feel seen and belong. I’ve noticed I’m often drawn to places that remind me of Oberlin and resemble the kind of community Oberlin fosters. Sometimes, getting some distance gives perspective on things that truly matter. I am truly grateful for this mind-bending and character-building study abroad experience. Once again, learning to survive and live in another country only reminds me that there is more than one ‘right’ way of doing things. It also gives me a taste of what going to college in the middle of a city feels like. I am slowly coming to appreciate this land and all that it has to offer me :-) 

 

P.S. I’ve missed writing and keeping ya’all updated SO much! Looking forward to writing more about my experiences here. Hope you are doing well, sending much love! 

~ Aishwarya 

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