Students will take a core course, a first-year seminar, Danish Language and Culture, and one elective.

Castle with orange flowers in the foreground.

Core Course

Core Course: The core course is a signature of the DIS: Study Abroad in Scandinavia academic experience. This course includes two course-integrated study tours. Early in your semester, an entire week is dedicated to your core course and includes a three-day short study tour in Denmark or nearby countries. Later in the semester you travel again with your core course on a weeklong study tour in Europe. The travel components are led by course faculty.

Core Course: Cultural Diversity and Integration: This course explores whether a multicultural Europe is sustainable given the current migrant crisis and Europe’s major culture clash. Focusing on Denmark and other European countries, we investigate the social, cultural, and political mechanisms lying at the heart of cultural conflicts and integration issues. This course analyzes theoretical concepts such as integration, assimilation, multiculturalism, recognition, cultural norms, identity, nationalism, and tolerance.

First-Year Seminar

Taught by the faculty resident directors, your first-year seminar is a small discussion-based course designed to serve as an entry point to a liberal arts education. First-year seminars familiarize recent high school graduates with the standards of college-level thinking, speaking, writing, and contributing to an academic community. First-year seminars offered in Copenhagen:

First-Year Seminar: The Climate Crisis and Photography of Place: Copenhagen (Timothy Case)
Copenhagen, one of the world’s most livable cities, is not immune from the impact of global forces. We will examine the city’s response to three issues associated with the climate crisis: microbursts, migrants, and burning fossil fuels. In this course, we will follow a systematic process to create a deeper, more meaningful, and lasting personal connection with Copenhagen as a place. We will study the climate crisis, geographic theories of place and space, and the literature on “mindful photography.” We will conduct photo shoots at locations identified with our three issues and discuss and write about theory, process, and the subsequent connections we make to places in Copenhagen. The course will culminate in an exhibition of photos and oral presentations.

First-Year Seminar: The Cultural Psychology of Happiness (Barbara Hofer)
Why are Danish citizens among the happiest people in the world? What is happiness, and what are the conditions for human flourishing? How are psychology and culture related? In this first-year seminar we will explore research from both cultural and positive psychology in a Danish context. We will read and discuss psychological perspectives on the topic, conduct interviews, take field trips, connect ideas and research to our own lives, and write and present what we are learning. The goal of this course is to develop a broader understanding of the role of culture in psychological processes and how societies can support or restrain human satisfaction, as well as to address implications for ourselves and for a global, multicultural society.

Danish Language and Culture

Enhance your experience abroad, learn how to navigate cultural contexts, and gain the tools to better understand Denmark’s people, history, and traditions.


You will rank your choices of electives and will enroll in one of the following:

Gender and Sexuality in Scandinavia: Scandinavia is known for its liberal views on gender and sexuality and this course explores current Scandinavian debates on gender equality, the role of men and masculinity, family structures, homosexuality, sex education, the rights of transsexuals, and prostitution. How do concepts of gender, body, race, and sexuality intersect with concepts of normality, and what are some of the new ethical dilemmas, gender roles, and ideals in a changing Scandinavia?

Urban Ecology: Demographic trends reveal that the proportion of people living in cities is increasing worldwide. The urban environment, the habitat on Earth with the densest population of humans, has catalyzed ecological and evolutionary changes in recent times. Explore which physical and biological factors drive the ecology of urban areas. Journey through the city landscape and examine the effect of human impact and a highly fragmented habitat for most of these organisms. Copenhagen is in many ways a city not like other cities. One of the special features is the recreative use of the many parks and the harbor with a range of sustainable initiatives. Also, a deliberate policy aiming for clean sea water has resulted in a change of biota. In this course, we will explore the many green and blue spaces in Copenhagen. We will examine both conceptual underpinnings and the application of theory to practice to improve human welfare and environmental quality, and do several case studies on-site.

Conspiracy Theories and Historical Controversies: Examine case studies and contested historical issues, including anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Europe and the Middle East, the Holocaust and genocide denial, the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the controversies surrounding 9/11. We also examine the differences between critical thinking and conspiracy thinking, and the nature of “historical truth.”

Academic Calendar

Students will depart from the United States on August 18 and will travel as a group to Copenhagen, accompanied by staff from Middlebury and DIS: Study Abroad in Scandinavia. Upon arrival they will be met by DIS staff and transported to their housing. The arrival workshop takes place August 20–23, and classes begin August 24. The semester ends December 14, and students are expected to travel home on December 15

Study Abroad
Sunderland Language Center, First Floor
356 College Street
Middlebury, VT 05753