International Connections


Olivia Astarita

Major: Elementary Education



Year: Sophomore
Hometown, State: Iowa

Type of experience: Faculty-Led Program
Experience: Happiness and Hygge in Denmark
Experience website: http://isuabroad.iastate.edu/?go=CHSDenmark
Destination: Denmark

Overall experience..
Overall experience you may ask? The first word that comes into my head is: fun. The more I think about it, the more I want to add to my first initial thought. It was not only extremely fun, but it was also an experience and a feeling that you couldn't just force; rather simply just let it happen. There was also an incredible amount of amazing emotions such as: joy, excitement, wonder, and simply pure happiness.

I learned...
I learned about this through my sister. She had signed up for a two week Italy study abroad that involved cooking and just experiencing the beautiful land of Italy, and she told me that there were other summer study abroad trips too!

An impact to my life...
There were so many people on the way that really reiterated the importance of SLOWING IT DOWN which was a huge part of the experience that impacted me. We do not need to always be in a rush as fast as Dash from the Incredibles 2. Rather, it is good to incorporate some of Mr. Freeze's way of life and just "chill" and take it slow with loved ones and other awesome people. It is important to have that laying back and relaxing times in life to take in all the beauty the world has to offer. This whole experience will apply to my professional life too. As a future educator, I want to make sure that we are having that balance of expanding our minds together with new knowledge as a class and a school, yet also I believe it is just as important to have and learn about the importance of connections and social ties with each other at school and the beauty of kindness towards others. When I think of happiness, I instantly have it connected to the people who bring me joy in life. So, I believe that this in an extremely important factor of school too: the social connection part and the strong relationships students can build upon each and every day.

My most valuable learning experience...
One time we were on a train and I was putting my suitcase above one of the seats. I was taking my sweet time because I thought nobody was behind me. However, there was a lovely Dane behind me. I said "Ahh. I am so so sorry!!" Then he simply stated, "Don't be. Be happy." He then vanished off into the night (I am totally kidding about the vanishing off into the night; he just went a couple rows back). Anyway this was a valuable lesson and reminder to me about when life gets chaotic or rushed, don't worry about it. Just simply be happy! Also another thing I learned was it is quite hard to bike on cobblestone paths. But like that guy on the train said, "Be Happy!" even when life gets bumpy.

Advice for others...
I know people have said this over and over, but I most definitely agree with other "study abroaders" when they say definitely try out a study abroad program! You get to not only meet AMAZING fellow Iowa Staters who become remarkable friends, but also locals and other spectacular people along the way whether you are in the big city of Copenhagen or the small, small yellow-housed streets of Skagen. Or hey, if you do not feel ready to go out and do it but want to still know about other countries and cultures, I say there is still so many opportunities such as watching the glorious Rick Steves videos. What a guy! Literally he travels everywhere and tells of his awesome experience. I truly hope everyone out there gets some type of experience like this whether it be abroad or wherever they may be! Go follow that adventure and just as the ISU motto says with a slight tweak, "Enjoy your adventure at Iowa State and beyond!!"

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