DIS – Study Abroad in Scandinavia


DIS is a non-profit study abroad institution with locations in Copenhagen and Stockholm, offering semester, academic year, and summer programs taught in English. Established in 1959, DIS offers students enrolled in North American universities engaging and challenging coursework enriched by faculty who teach what they do, field studies, hands-on learning opportunities, and study tours across Europe. Cultural engagement opportunities integrate students into the local culture and students gain academic knowledge and intercultural skills to prepare for a globalized world. DIS students are usually undergraduate juniors or seniors from highly selective North American universities.


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No, I don't recommend this program

TERRIBLE do not go i messed 3 classes was dismissed!!!

TERRIBLE do not go i messed 3 classes was dismissed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Response from DIS – Study Abroad in Scandinavia

Hi Michael,
We regret that your summer abroad did not go as planned. All DIS students sign a code of conduct and understand that violations include sanctions up to and including dismissal. DIS, like U.S. institutions, take the code very seriously as an education tool and rarely dismiss a student from the program. Dismissal only occurs after repeated or very serious violations. More information can be found here:
Best regards,

DIS – Study Abroad in Scandinavia

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Yes, I recommend this program

Great program!

I had an amazing experience studying in Copenhagen! The program is designed to facilitate interesting classroom learning and well as actual cultural engagement and exploration. I got to be friends with a bunch of young Danes through my living arrangement (kollegium) and had ample time to explore the city and Europe. I also made some great American friends during my time at DIS that I continue to be close with. Highly recommend!

What would you improve about this program?
They do a fantastic job. It's hard to think of whay specifically could be improved.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I found myself here

DIS is described by many as "the Lamborghini of study abroad" because it is pretty dang expensive. That being said, my semester in Copenhagen was worth every penny. My classes and professors challenged me intellectually but didn't weigh me down with busy work like my American professors do, and I made incredible friends throughout the semester. The unique way that DIS structures their courses, which all include field trips (short field studies and longer study tours) around Copenhagen and Europe was a huge plus for me- I got to study genocides with an expert who's spent his whole life learning about them and then see a concentration camp with him, which I'll never forget. The program handles everything for you- your phone plan, transportation costs for around the city, resources and tips for how to adjust to the culture, and everything to do with your housing. None of my other friends who have studied abroad received that kind of support. I went abroad to learn about myself and about sustainability in Denmark, and I flew home with my expectations blown away. I wish I could do it over again and again.

What would you improve about this program?
By increasing diversity- the overwhelming majority of students are rich and white. Of course there there were people of color and I met many LGBT+ students, and (as a white, cis, straight, able-bodied person) I didn't hear from any of my friends that they felt discriminated against by DIS or by the students in our program. That being said, I don't think DIS has enough programs in place to provide support specifically to people of color, which could be problematic if students were dealing even with small issues like home sickness for a place that looks more like them.
Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

Studying Abroad in Copenhagen

I loved studying abroad in Copenhagen. I didn't know much going to Denmark, but ended up finding so much to learn from in the country and in my travels, both about myself and the areas that I traveled to. My homestay experience was the best. I got to gain an outside perspective of the US, as well as become more integrated into Danish society through learning about Danish norms, culture, customs, history, and welfare state. It was so interesting and my host family was so open to discussing varying topics. The lack of PC culture was refreshing. Also, getting to travel and experience those country's cultures first-hand and learn how history shapes the culture and current perspectives of locals.

What would you improve about this program?
The coursework could be made more engaging and go beyond a few theories discussed.
Yes, I recommend this program

Definitely worth it

I studied with DIS in Spring of 2014.

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect. I was scrambling for study abroad choices the previous summer and by word of mouth I heard about this one. I applied because of its focus on environmental studies, and I am so glad I did.

While I was in Copenhagen, I stayed with a host family in Greve (suburb town SW of the city near Ishoj) and I commuted to the city every day via train and bike. I was intimidated by the thought of living with a host family, but DIS matched me well and my family and neighbors were very welcoming to me. I loved the whole living situation and, for someone who doesn't party much, it was perfect. Sure it may have been easier to have been in a kollegium near the city center, but I thoroughly enjoyed everything about my housing, including the commute.

For the semester I was enrolled in the Sustainability in Europe module with a core course of European Sustainable Development (that might have changed by now). What I liked most about DIS academics was that even though my classes weren't taught at Kobenhavns Universitet I was still taught by university professors. The topics were engaging, the professors' teaching methods were stimulating, and I was able to get a specific look into European environmental culture and management such as I hadn't been able to get at Berkeley.

Another reason I really enjoyed DIS was the field trips that were incorporated into the core courses (and some others). With my core course I was able to travel to Sweden and Germany, which I probably wouldn't have been able to do on my own just due to money. During the Easter break, I took part in "Czech Trek," where a group of us toured the "Bohemian Paradise" NE of Prague for a fun-filled couple of days. On my own time I traveled to Norway for half a week with friends from my classes and to Italy to see a relative.

Some advice:
Copenhagen really is a great diving board for the rest of Europe, if your main goal is traveling. Trains leaving from Copenhagen Central Station will take you just about anywhere in Europe. For air travel, RyanAir is your quintessential budget airline, but Norwegian is also a reliable airline and pretty cheap if you check far enough in advance.

I recognize I was pretty lucky to have some money set aside for doing outside travel like I did to Norway, Italy, and the DIS-sponsored Czech Trek. All three of these experiences were a big part of my overall enjoyment of the program, but I know it may have been a bit harder to explore more places if I didn't have the money. Some of my friends were going places like Amsterdam or Tallinn every weekend, but I couldn't do that cost.

The facilities of DIS are really nice, and I absolutely loved being in a city like Copenhagen to study.

If you're coming to Copenhagen for language study, fair warning on that. Most people in Copenhagen and Denmark know how to speak English, and they will gladly show you their skills even if you may want to converse in Danish. Since Danish doesn't have too many dialects (unlike English), it's much harder for them to understand your unperfected pronunciation of the words than it is for you to understand their pretty-good pronunciation of English. Also, when you sign up for a Danish class, DIS automatically places you in one of the basic Danish courses. Personally I'm good with languages, and I realized during the first class or so that it was going to be a slow semester with learning the language. I heard in passing there was a more advanced class generally only for year-long students. I pursued the matter, spoke with the teacher and DIS administration, and I was able to get into the course having no prior Danish experience. By doing that and practicing with my host family I was able to learn a lot more Danish than I would have done with the normal course.

I can't think of other stuff right now, but like everyone else I have tons of stories. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

If you want to read directly about some of my experiences, just check out this link and go back to Jan-May of 2014:

What would you improve about this program?
I think it would have been nice to have had more social activities with my kommune. We had one in the beginning when we were just settling in, but aside from that there wasn't much. I remembered hearing stories from other kommunes about the get-togethers they had, and I tried to recreate that by visiting other students, but we did not have more officiated events. I recognize part of this is due to the kind of students who were in the kommunes, but perhaps there might be a way for DIS to make this more widespread. Perhaps they have already.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Marla Manes


Why did you choose this program?

DIS was one of the few programs I found with courses geared towards sustainability, which is something that was important to me. While so many other programs offered sessions in Spain, Italy, or France, the idea of going to Copenhagen thrilled me like nothing else.
DIS also is unique in their approach to field trips, and it was really important to me that field studies around Denmark and the rest of Europe were included; I got to see a concentration camp in Germany as part of my Holocaust and Genocide class, which gave me a totally unique experience that could never be replicated in the states.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

DIS took care of pretty much everything. My phone plan, my visa, my transportation needs around Copenhagen and my housing were all done through the program. They even got me my CPR card, which is like Danish social security, so I could get free healthcare. They handle all of the paperwork, so all you have to do when you arrive is pick it up when they tell you to.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

There are so many factors that you should be thinking about, but a lot of people forget to think about the weather. Coming from Florida, I had never experienced a real winter, so moving to Copenhagen was a pretty big shock for me. I went in the spring so the days got warmer and longer, but had I gone for a fall semester, I would've found my days getting shorter and colder. Think about what will be most comfortable for you, keeping in mind that seasonal depression is a real thing.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You sign up for Monday/Thursday and Tuesday/Friday classes, with all Wednesdays reserved for field studies. On a Wednesday, you may find yourself visiting a Danish art museum or a refugee center depending on what kind of class you take- almost every class you sign up for will have 2 field studies throughout the semester.

There are 5 crazy points during the semester- core course week, travel weeks 1 and 2, study break, and finals week. Your core course will also have a week-long field trip later in the semester, during either travel break 1 or 2. Whichever one you don't have, you can relax and explore Copenhagen or hop on a plane with a friend, and the same applies during the study break you get.

Finals week can be a bit of a madhouse, but then again, we're probably used to that anyways.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was not based in Copenhagen, but back at home. I was scared of missing my friends and boyfriend, scared I would feel left out of my sorority and my campus's social scene, and terrified that so much time apart would ruin my relationships. In reality, distance made me feel stronger and more secure in these fears.

The campus will still be there when you get back. Enjoy the time off from your extracurricular responsibilities. You and your friends can Facetime every few weeks, or just catch up when you get home! I realized that nothing back home would be worth missing out on the incredible experiences I had in Europe.

What's the biggest difference between DIS and your home university?

The professors blew away my expectations. Besides being hilarious and kind people, which all of them were, I'm so glad that I got to experience a taste of international education. I had so much more control over my education abroad than I ever have at home, from designing my own midterm to having the ability to write my analytical paper on literally any topic. American education is all about rubrics and instructions and control and stress, and it was absolutely wonderful to have a semester where things were a little different.