About a year ago, I got on a plane and flew to England. I spent my semester in a beautiful city called Bath, on a study abroad program called Advanced Studies in England. (NOTE: ASE is, objectively, the best abroad program ever – no exaggeration). I had the time of my life across the pond. It was not all tea and crumpets though, like the time I went to Denmark.
Now, do not get me wrong – I loved Denmark. I stayed in Copenhagen, which was absolutely beautiful. From the trampolines in the street, to the cat cafe that was so purrfect it made me cry tears of joy; to the vibrant and artsy neighborhood of Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen was full of delights. But we have to remember that this is me we are talking about, and I have a certain knack for being a mess. (At least now I can blame it on being a second-semester senior, right?)
Anyway, it was a Saturday night in April. I was out with my friend, whom I was also staying with at her host family’s house. It was getting pretty late, so we decided to head back to the metro station and catch our ride home. We were in a part of the city my friend hadn’t been to yet, though, so we ended up getting a little confused of our surroundings. Finally, we made it to the station. I looked around for a moment, checking out the architecture. When I turned back to my friend, she was gone. . .and then I spotted her, running at full speed toward a train, which she got on, turning back to shout to me. At this point, I was racing to catch up with her. My heart sank as the doors closed and the train pulled away. There I was, alone in a city I was not familiar with at all. The only Danish words I knew were “hello,” “goodbye,” and “thank you.”
Luckily, there were other college students from America at the station. They told me which train I should take, and hope that my friend was waiting at the first stop. To my relief, she was. While I was jumping for joy to be reunited, my friend wasn’t as happy. Turns out, the train she got on was the last one of the night that headed back to her host family’s house. And I had missed it. I still do not think this is my fault, because she ran off without telling me. It did not matter who was wrong at that point, though. We had bigger issues at hand, like how the hell were we supposed to get back?!
Without any public transport to assist us, my friend and I relied on the map app on her phone to tell us the direction to walk in. We headed off into the night, freaking out at each other about the situation. The map had led us onto the back roads of Copenhagen, which I bet are marvelous, but at the time seemed downright scary. We had no idea where we were. Despite the fact that Copenhagen’s crime rate is wicked low, I would panic for my safety every time a vehicle drove by. After what felt like hours of walking in the dark, we finally reached a neighborhood my friend recognized. We ran through it to get to her host family’s house, with me very narrowly missing stepping into a pile of dog crap. Finally, we were back inside. I slept for a few hours, then was up again to catch my flight back to Bath.
Ridiculous, whirlwind adventures like that pretty much sum up my study abroad experience. While it was hectic at times, I would do anything to relive that semester – even race through the pitch black, eerie back streets of a foreign city.