Haverford College

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Dylan Lazovik '12


Dylan is a junior Growth & Structure of Cities major with a minor in History of Art. He spent the fall 2010 semester studying at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, and living with a host family in Kongens Lyngby, Denmark.

Dylan also did a lot of traveling. He visited Sweden and Finland, spent a long weekend with his host family at their Norwegian mountain cabin, and traveled to Berlin, London, Dublin, and Barcelona, where he visited Haverford classmates who were studying abroad in those places.

Why did you choose Denmark? I chose Copenhagen specifically because I knew it was a center for contemporary architectural design and sustainability, topics highly relevant to my academic and personal interests. I also wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to explore Scandinavia.

What did you learn outside the classroom? Through cross-cultural exchanges with my host family and other Danes, I learned a lot about Danish culture and values. For example, in contrast to the highly individualist and more capitalistic economic model we know in America, there is a strong collectivist attitude in Denmark. Danes regard the country's incredibly high tax rates and the subsequent distribution of wealth as necessary and beneficial to all, a fundamental principle of “Danish-ness.” In discussions of politics, I spent a fair amount of time trying to assure many Danes that not all Americans were the gun-toting, Tea Party activists they often see in the media. Aside from these more hot-button issues, I simply learned and came to embrace the Danish lifestyle, which rejects cars in favor of bicycles and public transportation, and values long, “cozy” evenings with family and friends.

What is the most surprising thing that happened to you there? I was surprised at how much I fell in love with Copenhagen. I had heard great things prior to my experience abroad, but I wasn’t prepared for how amazing the city would actually be. From the fantastic public transportation and numerous pedestrian streets to the beautiful architecture and countless things to do, even the short eight hours of winter daylight couldn't tarnish my perception of Copenhagen, which I now regard as my favorite European city.

What did you bring back? My time abroad helped me confirm that I wanted to further pursue architecture and design. I intend to continue my architectural studies and am now considering design at the graduate level. I also brought back a really special connection to my host family; I now feel as if I have another family back in Denmark whom I plan on keeping in touch with and visiting for many years to come.

Originally posted at: http://www.haverford.edu/news/stories/49951/301