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Scandinavia ECS | From Colorado Springs to Copenhagen

March 09, 2017

We are sending this first blog post from our hotel in Copenhagen! While we may be slightly jet-lagged, we are all ecstatic to further explore this beautiful city and see what the next two weeks in Scandinavia have to offer!

The Life in Scandinavia ECS started its first day with a bang! We split into five small groups and played quiz question games with Dr. Young in order to have a better feel for some general Swedish and Danish facts. Although all sixteen of us have done some kind of research prior to the start of ECS, we were still surprised to learn that more than 90% of the properties in Sweden are privately owned, and Denmark and Sweden are only 7.5 miles apart by the Oresund Strait. Later in the morning, Dr. Young gave a lecture and taught us how to create our personalized index to measure the level of development in different countries. By learning about the existing indexes such as the Human Development Index (HDI), we understood how different indices measure different categories and how they can be biased. With these indices, we compared the U.S. with Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Denmark, and Sweden and learned about their similarities and differences. For lunch, we enjoyed a Scandinavian potluck together. Students brought a variety of homemade Scandinavian dishes such as the Scandinavian meatballs, dumplings, sandwiches, pickled herring, and Glogg — which is a traditional Swedish hot drink. In the afternoon, we learned some basic Swedish with the Duolingo app on our computers and phones, and we also worked on our presentations, so they would be ready for the next day.

For the second day of our ECS, and the last day at school before we left for Europe, we spent the morning in two groups, one of which discussed an article and the other of which partook in a brief Swedish speaking lesson. The language lesson, lead by native Swedish speaker Catherine, gave us basic insight on simple but necessary phrases. “Hej” (hello), “tack” (thank you), and “Jag heter…” (my name is…) were among the most important words. In the alternate group, after reading an intriguing article focusing on a comparison between the Nordic and American systems of government, we had an interesting debate about why the Nordic tactics seem to be more consistent and compatible with the citizens, and whether or not the United States can achieve a system as successful. For the rest of the afternoon, we had our group presentations. Ranging from Scandinavian mythology and guaranteed basic income to Copenhagen’s plan to be completely carbon neutral by 2025, these presentations not only helped us learn more as traveling scholars, but gave us a lot to think about and look forward to while in country. Hearing more about Scandinavian culture made us even more ready to be there.

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