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A Concordian abroad: ‘5 things I learned in Aarhus’

Undergraduate Meagan Boisse bids farewell to her home away from home
June 9, 2016
By Meagan Boisse

Photo by Paul Downey (Flickr Creative Commons)

Meagan Boisse is an undergraduate student in the Department of Journalism, and a member of the Institute for Co-operative Education. For her last work term, she was employed as a roving reporter at

Now, through Concordia International, Boisse is spending the winter 2016 term studying at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark.

It’s hard to describe the feeling that passed over me yesterday as I walked out of the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX) for the last time. I suppose if I had to give it a word it would be bittersweet.

For six months now I’ve called Denmark my home, and nearly every morning for half a year I’ve been greeted by the faces of my friends in my small international TV class.

I remember the first time I encountered my classmates, a motley crew of aspiring journalists hailing from all corners of the globe. Most of us were shy at the beginning; for many it was our first time living so far away from home. Now that little class is like a second family to me.

To commemorate the end of the semester, my roommate Casey and I hosted a farewell potluck dinner. Most of us will be jetting off over the next few days and there was no shortage of tears as the night drew to a close and we realized this would probably be our last night all together.

Despite the waterworks, it was a happy farewell. My time in Denmark will always be a chapter in my life that I’ll look fondly back on. This will be my last Concordian Abroad dispatch, so let me share with you some of what I’ve learned over the course of my exchange.


1.     Coming back is harder than leaving

It is a jarring social experiment to transplant yourself into an unfamiliar place where you have no connections. Constructing a network from scratch can be intense.

However, it can be even more jarring to then have to leave behind what you built, especially at a point in time when things are beginning to feel routine and familiar. While home will always be there, there is a certain melancholy in leaving an exchange.


2.     Nothing brings people together like food

No matter where you’re from, everyone shares a connection to food. Naturally communal dining is an integral and celebrated aspect of the student exchange experience.

From taco Tuesdays, to pancake Sundays, to flødeboller and flæskesteg, my exchange has been punctuated with group dinners, which have been a wonderful element of my time here.

What I’ve come to realize is that when you make food for others, you’re sharing more than a meal but a little bit of who you are and where you’re from.

3.     You’re going to have unexpected adventures

There was a point this week when I was sitting in a decked-out massage chair, which resembled something out of a sci-fi film, in the eclectic cube shaped house of Ingvar Cronhammer, (a contemporary Danish artist who looks like a bad-ass version of Santa Claus) thinking to myself how life can be stranger than fiction.

I had just gotten a personal tour of Cronhammer’s work, “Elia” in Herning, a towering dome structure that shoots fire and attracts lightning.

I even got to go inside the goliath sculpture and hear my voice echo about. Cronhammer is the uncle of one of my classmates. Part of the beauty of an exchange is that it opens you up to experiences you would never have imagined.


4.     It will change you

The travel bug is contagious and incurable. Living in a foreign country for any length of time will change you. One of the challenges of an exchange is returning to the life you left back home.

It’s an adjustment to go back to business as usual when you’re different inside. However, this is a good thing.  After this exchange, so many of the internationals (including me) have a newfound drive to chase further adventures, and to see new places. Getting out into the world makes you realize how big it is and how much there is yet to see.


5.     The semester is over, but the experience isn’t

While it’s improbable you will stay in contact with everyone you met during your stay, chances are some of the friendships you forged during your time abroad will last for years to come.

Now that the semester is over I have many plans to travel the world and stay with some of the wonderful people I met during my time in Denmark. From Lebanon to New Zealand to California, there’s a bed waiting for me.

I’ll miss you Aarhus, till we meet again.

Start your application for exchange today!


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