Tag Archives: Denmark

Denmark – Traveling to the ‘Happiest’ Country in the World – by Michaela Campbell. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Denmark – Traveling to the ‘Happiest’ Country in the World – by Michaela Campbell. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[The ‘Little Mermaid’, Copenhagen (København), Denmark]

When I told people that I would be studying the ‘Science of Happiness’ abroad in Europe I was the recipient of either intrigued expressions, or a fit of laughter. Our trip focused on the area of positive psychology, which is a relatively new field in the area of psychology. Our main purpose for traveling abroad to Europe was to visit a few main areas, with Denmark being the sole focus, since it had recently been rated as the happiest country in the world. The country currently usually moves down a spot or two, and then goes back up to the number one spot every couple of years. So twenty other classmates, two professors, their young sons, and myself boarded a flight one evening in mid-May to discover what may be some potential causes for these findings.

Our first hands-on exposure to the ‘happy’ Danish lifestyle came when we had the opportunity to travel to different area high schools in and around Copenhagen to talk with local students about our differing cultures. The high school that I had the pleasure of visiting included three other classmates and myself having a Q&A with fifty Danish students. The students often asked about our public policy programs, American politics, and Minnesota weather. But as the questions became more in-depth, we asked the Danes why they believed that they were among the happiest people in the world, and the responses were intriguing.

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[Nyhaven, Denmark]

One Danish students’ response was, “We’re happy because the only thing we have to worry about is what the weather will be like tomorrow”. When you live in a country like Denmark that has free healthcare and free post-secondary education, it makes sense that your main concern would be the weather, among other menial things. Another key factor as to why the Danes believe they are among the happiest of nations is that they trust their government and the system that runs it. In the US, stories of corrupt politicians and corporations headline the news every day. This is why my classmates and myself when asked by the Danes if “we trusted our current government”, we were a little ashamed to truthfully say, “No”. A third factor that makes the Danes appear as a ‘happy’ nation is the emphasis on time with friends and family. According to the students we talked with, the average work-week for a Dane is 37 hours per week. As soon as the work-day is done, the Danes leave work at the office, and put more of an emphasis on enjoying life with loved ones. This is very different from the American work style, where we often can be found putting work in front of friends and family.

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[In Copenhagen (København), Denmark, on a bike tour through the Royal Palace (Amalienborg)]

Strong social policies, trust for a country’s government, and emphasis enjoying leisure are what create lack of stress within the Danish lifestyle. Lack of stress is what I believe leads the Danish people to lead a ‘happy’ life and be one of the happiest nations in the world every year. Here in the US, we pay outrageous amounts of money for healthcare, especially if not covered by an employer, and the US college tuition rise is a whole other problem in of itself. These issues put enormous amounts of stress on the American people, and this could explain why the US ranked twelve spots below Denmark on the happiness rankings.

Michaela serves as an editor for The NSR. This essay is based on Michaela’s participation in St. Scholastica’s Denmark and Happiness Study Abroad Trip supervised by Professor Karen Petersen.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under Michaela Campbell, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Denmark – Expectations of Traveling Abroad – by Michaela Campbell. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Denmark – Expectations of Traveling Abroad – by Michaela Campbell. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[The Seventeenth Century Canal Ring, in Amsterdam, North Holland]

Once I began telling friends and family that I had been accepted to attend a study abroad program in Europe to learn about the ‘Science of Happiness’, I was bombarded with congratulatory remarks, questions about the study program, and a few looks of concern. The looks of concern were fleeting, and only appeared on my father’s face the day I told him I would traveling abroad in mid-May. He was grateful for the opportunity I had been given, but like any concerned father, gave me a quick, useful lecture on being cautious wherever I traveled. My mother on the other hand, was concerned with the lighter tasks such as shopping for necessities, changing my phone plan, etc.

Both of my parents gave me different expectations as to what my encounters would be like in Europe. Due to my father’s lectures, I expected that I would be uptight while walking around in the big cities that we were scheduled to live in and visit (i.e. Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Oslo). I also expected that the locals in these neighboring countries would have a somewhat negative and even annoyed attitude toward a group of college students from the US visiting their countries. However, my mother’s preparedness for the trip made me comfortable and relaxed for the nine-hour flight that was ahead of me, and excited for the new memories I was about to create.

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[In Nyhavn, Copenhagen (København), Denmark]

After landing in Amsterdam, and gaining a good night’s sleep, we took on the city, and I found myself more calm within the city than I have been at times in my home-city of Duluth. The constant stream of bicyclists and small, European cars gave off a friendly, yet busy vibe. The expectations that had been infringed upon me by my father had been completely demolished within three hours of walking about the city. By the end of our three-night stay in Amsterdam, I didn’t want to leave for the next city. My fellow classmates and I even joked about taking time off to live in the city for year or two.

Our next city, Copenhagen, left my classmates and myself with feelings of joy as we finally had the chance to chat and meet with local Danish students to discuss a variety of topics. We conversed about the upcoming American presidential election, Donald Trump, free education and health care, among many other topics. In these moments I found that these students did not see us in a negative light, and were not annoyed by our presence either. This was another moment where I was glad that my expectations set by my father had been wrong. These students were excited to learn and discuss why our countries run the way they do, and how change can be brought to either side. Even people that we would meet on the street throughout the city always seemed to be smiling as soon as our American accents started flowing. This is what made me excited about traveling to other places; knowing that in every city, there is someone that appreciates you trying to broaden your horizons.

Overall, traveling to Europe far exceeded my expectations. I did not expect to relate with people of another country, but I did. I did not expect to become so happy in a place that was thousands of miles from home, but I did. Lastly, I did not expect to become as attached to a country that prior to this trip I’d only seen on a map, but I did.

[This essay is based on Michaela’s participation in St. Scholastica’s Denmark and Happiness Study Abroad Trip supervised by Professor Karen Petersen.]

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under Michaela Campbell, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang