DIS - Study Abroad

DIS – Study Abroad in Scandinavia

About

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.

Founded
1959
Headquarters

Vestergade 7
1456 Copenhagen
Denmark

Reviews

Default avatar
Eli
10/10
Program:
DIS Copenhagen

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!

How can this program be improved?
They do a fantastic job. It's hard to think of whay specifically could be improved.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Marla
10/10
Program:
DIS Copenhagen

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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Sophia
9/10
Program:
DIS 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.

How can this program be improved?
The coursework could be made more engaging and go beyond a few theories discussed.
Yes, I recommend this program
Ian
10/10
Program:
DIS Copenhagen

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: http://celastrek.blogspot.com/

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Matthew
10/10
Program:
DIS Copenhagen

It wasn't until 3 am on the night before the last day that I actually processed the past three weeks of my incredible Denmark and DIS experience. At that point in time, I was on a paddleboat in the middle of one of Copenhagen's beautiful man-made canals with 6 of my new best friends, coming back to reality from a state of flow. I realized how completely absorbed I had been in the past three weeks from dancing the nights away in the local bars, studying happiness and positive psych, taking a study-tour to Scotland, flipping a kayak in the North Sea and starting our own flash mob. It truly shattered expectations and sparked my interest for international education and travel.

How can this program be improved?
DIS covered all of their bases. One improvement I would make would be to create more of a cultural experience in connecting directly with the Danish. Having a host family for a couple nights, going to a weekly dinner or traveling with the Danish on the weekend would, I believe, enhance and outstanding program.
Yes, I recommend this program

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