5 Things I Learned

Renée Franzini '24

Welcome to our 5 Things I Learned blog series, where UNH students from all colleges and majors share the UNH experience that changed everything for them and what they learned from it. From studying abroad and summer internships, to research and leadership in student organizations, follow along to see what you can learn by stepping out of your comfort zone and saying "yes" to that new opportunity on our campus.

What skills can you gain while studying abroad? Learn more about what studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark taught Renée '24, from managing money to planning schoolwork and day trips.

Renée Franzini, study abroad student
Renée Franzini '24, study abroad student
Communication: business applications major

I did a three-week summer program  through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS)where I took one class in Copenhagen. I’ve always been interested in history, and the Viking Mythology class was the perfect blend of information I didn’t already know, field trips that could only be taken there and a genuinely interesting subject. Along with all the information about Scandinavian myths and legends, I additionally learned five skills I’ll take with me long after I forget whether Loki was the brother of Thor or Odin (spoiler: contrary to popular movies, it’s Odin!). 

Overall, I really valued this experience, not just because I got to see and learn amazing things, but because it taught me how to be independent. I recommend studying abroad to anyone who wants to experience a new culture, new way of life and new way of thinking.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark 

1. Meal Prepping

 At home and on the UNH campus, I could either have meals with my family or just go to the dining hall, so I never really needed to make my own meals, except for breakfast or just heating up leftovers. DIS Copenhagen has no cafeteria, and students are expected to buy their own groceries and make food in their own apartments. After a few days of getting expensive takeout or going to a restaurant, I found the least time-consuming and inexpensive way was to prepare food ahead of time. In the mornings I could easily make a sandwich for lunch to bring with me to class, and if I didn’t feel like cooking an entirely new dinner, I had something already prepared.

Sightseeing in Copenhagen

Sightseeing in Copenhagen

2. Managing My Money

Budgeting for food by buying in bulk and preparing food ahead of time was one way I learned to manage my money. I also learned how to budget for sightseeing and attractions. I started out my trip by defining how much money I was likely to spend on things like these, and throughout the trip I learned how to budget it day by day. By the end of the trip, I was spending less than $20 a day on food, entertainment and transportation, which was considerably less than when the trip first started!

3. Time Management

In order to get class assignments and reading done, make it to class on time and generally make my trip worthwhile, I had to also budget my time and do a lot of preparation before going places. Would I have enough time to go to a museum before it closed? Would I still be able to have time to make dinner and do homework if I did go? How would I get there and get back, and what were the things I would need? These are all questions I learned to ask myself before deciding on how to utilize my time

My apartment

My apartment

4. Making Time for Cleaning

In my tiny dorm on campus, not much cleaning is needed beyond laundry and taking out my tiny desk trash. At home, my mom does a lot of the general house cleaning. On my own however, I needed to take out the bathroom and kitchen trash, clean counters, empty and fill the dishwasher, do my laundry before others grabbed the dryer and more. This was another thing a surprising amount of time had to be allotted formore than I realized before this experience.

Taking a long walk in Copenhagen

Taking a long walk in Copenhagen

5. Keeping Myself Safe

There were several situations where things could have been unsafe for me: if I had stayed at a certain bar longer than I did, if I hadn’t gotten off a bus I felt unsafe on, if I didn’t try my best to only go to far away places with groups. Being in a different country and on my own, I had to remain aware of my surroundings and where I was going, and when to leave if it did become possibly unsafe. Luckily, Denmark is in general a very safe country, and nothing bad happened to me the entire trip (save a long walk back when I boarded the wrong bus).


read more "5 things I learned blog posts"

learn more about study abroad at UNH

enroll today



What Are the Benefits of Studying Abroad?

While it initially seemed scary to live and study in a new country, Jordan is walking away from the experience with the beginnings of an art minor at UNH and lots of lessons about trying new experiences and reaching outside her comfort zone. read more about jordan