While being at home during winter break, I have had a chance to reflect upon how thankful I am for my family, friends, AND SO MUCH MORE.  The holiday season is about gratefulness, and that’s exactly how I have felt, grateful.  In one week, I have the opportunity to embark on a journey across the world, solo.  Just me, myself, and I . . . and a few bags of luggage!  If you know me at all, you will know that my dreams fulfill the definition of wanderlust; a strong desire to travel.  As a 20-year-old college student, I have been blessed with so many opportunities to travel; from the United States to Europe.  Since my high school class trip across Europe, my heart has been filled with wanderlust.  Being exposed to new cultures, surroundings, and environments is what I desire most.  While travel is inevitably fun to explore new places, the most rewarding aspect is learning.  With being in a new atmosphere, you are able to learn through all your actions, whether it’s about the culture of the people, the history of the city, or the strengths/weaknesses of yourself.  It’s the best of both worlds because you learn about others and most importantly, yourself!

With my study abroad program, I will be able to learn all of that and MORE!  For the duration of the Spring 2018 semester, I will be studying in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS).  This program is a wonderful opportunity, especially for someone with a pre-med interest such as myself, because I will be enrolled in a core course focused on Medical Practice & Policy.  With the professors and other students in this course, I will have the opportunity to visit local university hospitals to gain first-hand experience that I would not be able to gain through a class here at UW-Madison.  So many other aspects of DIS are truly incredible, such as the various housing options they offer, the week-long study tour with your core course, the variety of courses to choose from, etc.  Although, the main reason I fell in love with DIS is because of their major focus on providing you with “Scandinavia as your home, Europe as your classroom.”  I am eager to learn not only in the classroom but through my everyday experiences in this unfamiliar country.

Denmark wasn’t on my mind as a country I had a deep desire to travel to, but it has slowly become one.  Since making the decision to study in Denmark, I have committed to learning the language and culture by taking a class this past Fall semester and at DIS this Spring.  Danes have a similar yet very different way of living compared to Americans.  After recently learning that I have been placed in a homestay, I am eager to meet my host family; a father and mother and their two daughters who are 11 and 13 years old.  I am hopeful that we will all benefit from this wonderful opportunity in front of us and learn from one another throughout our time together.

Excited doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings towards me being able to experience all that I mentioned about Denmark and DIS in person in exactly ONE WEEK!  As the days pass by, I can’t help but be grateful for my family who has always supported my dreams and decisions.  I wouldn’t be able to chase my dreams with such confidence, if I didn’t have them as my support system.

Today and all days, I give thanks with a grateful heart.