I’m just over a month into my semester here in Denmark, and I have certainly been keeping busy!
A few weeks ago, we had core course week, where we spent the week studying, traveling and bonding with our core course classes at DIS. My core class is titled Prostitution and the Sex Trade in Europe, and we spend our time learning about all aspects of sex work, gender identity and norms, and the stereotypes surrounding it all. To kick things off, we travelled about four hours by bus to Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, and all took a pole dancing class together. We talked about all of the stereotypes surrounding pole dancing, if it is a gendered activity, and if it is considered a form of sex work in society. Basically, the point of the activity was that it’s really just a good work out for anyone! We had a lot of fun learning the basics, and it was certainly a full body work out. I could hardly move the next day.
Next, we headed to our hostel and got ready for the food tour we were being taken on that evening.
This food tour consisted of five stops: an appetizer of veggie bread, cream cheese, egg and other garnish; a wine and cheese tasting; berries and cream that we made ourselves in a park; ceviche at a nice restaurant on the canal in Aarhus, and gelato. Although it wasn’t my favorite meal I’ve ever had, it was still fun to be able to sample so many different things!
The next day, we got to explore the gender museum in Aarhus. This museum used to just be a women’s museum, but the name and content was later changed in an attempt to be more inclusive. Many women were upset about this, saying they worked so hard to get to where they are today, and deserved to have their achievements showcased, while others were pleased with the change. Personally, I thought the museum was incredibly intriguing and don’t know how I feel about the issue. In the museum were different exhibits on different achievements of women throughout history, how gender has changed, gender norms, and the effects gendered activities and clothing have on children. It was fascinating!
We were allowed to choose what we wanted to do for lunch, so many of my classmates and I went to an outdoor food market in Aarhus. I didn’t take any photos, but the tacos I had were one of the best meals I’ve had in Copenhagen.
Next, we attended a lecture on sugar dating and all of the dangers, benefits, and things we still have to learn about the issue. We discussed the different ways a certain ‘type’ of woman is likely to be affected by sugar dating, and if it should be considered a form of sex work.
The rest of the day included another amazing meal, and a whole lot of sleep.
The following day, we visited an organization called The Nest. This is a place that has many locations throughout Europe that sex workers are allowed to come and get food, a shower, counseling, or just a safe place to relax during the day. We learned about the ways sex work has modernized lately, and how specifically in Aarhus, it is mostly happening online instead of on the streets. There are high amounts of people from Greenland who are also sex workers in Denmark, and these people end up being looked down on in society. This was the first opportunity we had as a class to see real experiences of sex work, so it was very interesting.
After this, we got on a ferry and headed home.
Møns Klint is a beautiful area in Southern Denmark that features white cliffs, clear blue water, incredible hikes, and amazing views. A girl in my core course asked if I was interested in renting a car and making the drive down here this past weekend, and I was overjoyed to be able to go! It’s about a two hour drive from Copenhagen, but takes over four hours by public transportation, so I didn’t think I was ever going to actually see the beauty myself.
Renting a car was super easy! Since I was the oldest of the group, I made a reservation online, picked up the car at the airport, and drove us all the way down to the park. Even the drive itself was beautiful- we drove through stunning Danish villages, saw gorgeous fields filled with animals and vibrant colors, and had a great time getting to know each other on the way.
Upon arrival to Møns Klint, we found there were many different trails to take you along the cliffs, or down to the shore. We began to walk along the cliffs, stopping to take photos at a small opening in the trees, and just could not stop our jaws from dropping every time we got a glimpse of the view. It was stunning.
There was a very long set of stairs to get down to the shore that was just as difficult going down as it was going up, but it was absolutely worth it.
Everyone agreed that it was nice to even just get out of the hustle and bustle of the city for a day, and spending that time in nature was more than necessary.
I slept like a baby that night.
I’ve been doing so much more typical Copenhagener stuff too. Visiting restaurants, new thrift shops, going on 20 mile bike rides to see the wooden giants that almost kill me (thanks, Freddie), and connecting with new people who are just as eager to see the city as I am has been keeping me so busy in the best way these past few weeks. Here’s a few random photos!
It feels like time is moving so quickly, but there’s still so much to experience! I’ll make sure to keep you updated on the rest of my journey here in Europe, starting with a weekend trip to Paris in a few days, my week-long trip to Spain for travel week in a few weeks, and my study tour to Amsterdam with my core course a few weeks after that!