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Summertime Celebrations

June 26th, 2019


I’m nearing the end of my incredible month and a half in Denmark, and have had some unforgettable experiences here in Copenhagen. One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had took place this past Sunday, June 23rd. It was the Sankt Hans Aften, otherwise known as the Summer Solstice. It celebrates the night of the 23rd as the shortest night of the entire year, meaning that Sunday I enjoyed almost 19 hours of sunlight! I’ve gotten used to the sun shining through my window and waking me up at 4:30 in the morning, and Sunday was no different. The Summer Solstice here in Denmark is heavily celebrated, so as students in Copenhagen, we decided to participate as well!

Our day started early when we decided to take a boat on the beautiful canals of Copenhagen. Denmark is incredibly trusting of its residents, so after we paid for the boat, the dock workers simply told us to enjoy our sailing and be back when we felt like it! To say the least, it’s definitely a culture that I could get used to.

Pictured below is a view from our boat. The canals here in Copenhagen are an incredible tourist attraction, but we were proud to feel like locals as we casually cruised down the water of inner Copenhagen. We brought snacks on board and played our favorite music for what seemed like hours. It was during this experience that realized how much I’ll really miss this beautiful city after I leave in just one short week. 

After our lovely sail through Copenhagen, I spent the day relaxing and working on homework from my classes. As the last week quickly approaches, I have a few final papers due, but our excursion into the canals was just the motivation I needed to get things done!

I mentioned before that the Summer Solstice is celebrated far and wide across Copenhagen, and this occurs as a city wide gathering to officially mark the end of the longest day of the year. On Sunday night, my Danish flatmates and I all walked to Frederiksberg Garden, a large park area just outside of Copenhagen’s center. To be honest, I expected a celebration a bit like our Fourth of July parties…but boy was I wrong! There was music, dancing, and food for what seemed like miles. I had never seen so many people in one place, each wearing a huge smile. Below is an image I shot from where I was camped out on the grass, and you can see just a glimpse of how many people were there to celebrate the solstice.

My favorite part about this experience, and the memory of it that I’ll hold with me long after I leave, is how it allowed me to feel a part of this community. Denmark has such a rich and interesting history, full of unique traditions like this one. At this gathering for the Summer Solstice, I didn’t feel like a tourist or a foreigner. Sitting there talking, laughing, and singing with local Danes as well as other American students made me feel a sense of belonging. I was incredibly worried at the beginning of this study abroad experience that I wouldn’t find a place where I fit in. It’s a scary feeling, especially in a new country, but I can proudly say that I haven’t felt it while I’ve been in Denmark. It’s definitely felt like home, which will make it that much harder to leave.

-Jacob


Jacob Furry is a sophomore Trustee’s Scholar at the University of Missouri- Kansas City majoring in music education along with a psychology minor. Jacob will spend the summer abroad as a Gilman Scholar in Copenhagen, Denmark with the DIS Copenhagen program studying multicultural and special education.

Disclaimer:  Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Home and What It Means

Me and my friend Sam Morse at breakfast at Chez Elle in Kansas City, MO, June 15, 2017. Morning before departure.

Street names – they’re an integral part of life. We use them to get home, to pick up friends, to get to breakfast dates. As I drive the roads of Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Lee’s Summit, and Kansas City for the last time for two months, I know that these roads feel like home. Poets often write about how our own hearts are roadmaps; with love being the ultimate destination: the final home.

But really, what is home?

As I have prepared to leave home for two months, I’ve done a lot of thinking on it. Home is relative. Home is many different things, all at once. It’s a physical house, it’s a metro, it’s a city, it’s a person, it’s a family, it’s a state of mind. Some people spend their entire lives searching for home and never find it.

I am leaving behind all of these things for what promises to be one of the best times of my life. For the next two months, my homes will be hotel rooms, hostel beds, train cars, airplanes, my cousin’s apartment, my dorm in Edinburgh, and Airbnbs in Germany. Home will also be the people I am with: my cousin in Nice, my friend in Paris, his family in Normandy, my classmates in Scotland, and my friends and family I keep in touch with here in Kansas City.

I’m sitting here with Sam outside Chez Elle, listening to the birds, chatter, and the whirring of fire sirens. This feels like home. Life is moving forward, and my life is taking me in a direction that, at this moment, I cannot even fathom. I don’t know what to expect when I get to France, when I get to Scotland, or when I get to Germany – everyone I encounter tells me, “You’re going to have the time of your life. It’s going to be amazing.” And I smile and nod, absolutely terrified. I am approximately 2 parts excitement, and 1 part, “what have I gotten myself into?”

I’m ready. Until August, Kansas City.


Victoria Davidson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in History and Foreign Languages and Literature with a German emphasis. Victoria is spending July abroad with the faculty-led UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.