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Get started – a journey into the unknown

I’m currently chipping away at my first-ever blog post on the sun-bleached, bright blue open rooftop of my grandparent’s bungalow in India. But I leave tomorrow, where my journey back to America and home (near Philly) begins – just one short week before I am scheduled to make my second jump across the pond in as many months. This time, my final destination is Copenhagen – the city of canals, bicycles (perhaps bicycles in the canals?) and Denmark – a place I’ve never been to before, but I am beside myself with excitement to explore.

As you may be able to tell, the past few weeks have been packed – but I’m so incredibly grateful to be able to experience as many places as I have in such a short amount of time. (My itinerary took me from an 8-hour minitrip to Doha, Qatar on the way to India, and tomorrow, a run through Singapore on the way back home to Philadelphia). Often, I hear that a rushed tour of a place is never a great way to truly experience it. But, I disagree. I think there’s a certain value in forcing yourself to take in as much as you can as soon as you can – it helps you remember the quick, fleeting impressions you get as you lay eyes on something for the first time, and that feeling of butterflies as you experience something new and your brain doesn’t have a schema ready-made to process it. It’s why I find myself seeking a new video game after sinking just a few hours into one – the feeling of being on your toes and having to adapt to things as you face them is an exciting prospect like no other. And nothing better exemplifies that feeling than traveling somewhere new, where you’ve never been before, and just being.

But, with that being said, I respect and understand the value of traveling somewhere new and completely immersing yourself there for the long term. I’ve spent my college life being constantly reminded of the personal growth value of new perspectives and experiences, and I find there is no better way to truly grow from something than by spending time with it and getting to know it as completely as possible – whether it is a person, a language, or in my case, the city of Copenhagen.

So why Copenhagen?

Honestly? No real reason. At least, at first. Through my study abroad preparation and DIS’s consistent information supply, I’ve found more than enough reasons to be excited to call this place home for the next few months, but at first, I never saw myself going abroad to Copenhagen. I’ve always loved the warm weather of California, I took Spanish up through college, and my first language – Telugu – is often called the “Italian of the East.” So Spain, or perhaps Italy, was a logical choice. But then I reminded myself that I am supposed to be studying abroad, and so I couldn’t forget about my academics as well. As a student on the premedical track, DIS Copenhagen provides an amazing place for me to continue to explore the biomedical field through the Medical Biotechnology and Drug Development Core Course, and understanding the dynamics of healthcare in a country known for the Nordic universal healthcare model through this course and my Medical Ethics elective will impart a new perspective that I hope to bring back to the US as a prospective physician. I quickly fell in love with Copenhagen because of its academic prospects, but also because it provided such a novel area for me to explore. The nexus of the familiarity of being in school, the cultural immersion of a residential community with other like-minded students, and the independence of being a 20-year-old left to my own devices provide such a unique situation where I can engage with Danish culture on multiple levels.

Why is this post called

If you grew up in Gen Z like I did, you’ve probably heard of – or played –, or one of its spin-offs like It’s a game where you’re a blob placed in the center of the map, and you are poised to swallow other players around you to get bigger and bigger – and the game never ends. It’s a constant turmoil where you’re faced with new enemies and are forced to come up with creative ways to subsume them.

I’ve always found the biggest growth I’ve had in life is when I’ve been dropped in the middle of nowhere, with no recourse and minimal help, and been forced to figure it all out on my own. From my first time camping as a Boy Scout on a weeklong retreat at an island in the middle of a lake, to my freshman year of college at the height of the pandemic, I believe strongly in the power of self-sufficiency in being able to learn how to deal with new situations on your own. It teaches you how to build your own support networks, to be constantly in touch with yourself and your needs, and to adapt to situations by learning from others and your environment. provides a visual depiction of these skillsets – you are forced to figure out situations on your own and navigate them around other people using your creativity, you’re provided with increasing visibility of the map (aka the world around you) and other players as you get bigger, and you grow larger (and more culturally competent) as you make contact with more players (albeit in real life, there is hopefully no subsuming other people in order to learn more about the world).

DIS Copenhagen has given me the chance to study in a place that is wildly different from anything I’ve ever experienced. Studying medicine – a subject I am incredibly passionate about – in a different cultural and socioeconomic context will provide me the chance to expand my interests into new fields. In addition, learning Danish through cultural immersion and being vegetarian in a society that historically has a lot of meat-based dishes will be another chance to navigate new challenges, to explore new cuisines, and to grow as a person (and foodie). And finally, my experiences being brought up in an ultra-competitive atmosphere and as part of a demographic that puts career success first will be diametrically opposed to the Danish hygge, or taking time to enjoy life’s pleasures amongst the chaos and turmoil that life throws at us every day. And all this while being almost 4,000 miles away from the friends and family whose support I have grown to rely on? I’m not gonna lie, I’m a bit scared.

Luckily, I’m not actually alone. With the strong support of the DIS team throughout orientation and their information these past few months, I feel more ready than ever, and I am excited to be immersed in a new world, whether it is with other DIS students looking to explore in a Residential Community, or a Danish family in a Homestay. The small seed of nervousness that still sits deep inside will be fuel to keep myself moving and growing, to make new connections and friends, and to explore new perspectives.

T-2 weeks until I arrive. I’m SO looking forward to it, so tune in after the New Year for my thoughts after I arrive in Copenhagen!

– Adi