What an amazing semester it has been at the Danish School of Media and Journalism, or Danmarks Journalisthøjskole, in Århus, Denmark. I cannot believe it has come to an end, but then again, all good things must.
These last six months have been a crash course in independence and surviving for me. I cannot believe how much I have grown since I have been here, both as a photojournalist and as an individual.
I never thought that after leaving here, I would've produced stories where I couldn't even speak to my subjects, traveled by my lonesome to a foreign country without speaking the language, and learn how to read a map. Unheard of!
I never thought I would face my photographic style and ethics like I did here. I didn't ever expect to develop the skills that I did here or come face-to-face with how I am as a photographer as shaped by my background. I believe my style and ethics have changed a lot while I have been here and it will be interesting to come home to see how it will change back in America. And I'm excited for that.
I did expect to meet amazing people, though — and boy, did I ever. My professors, photo 1 classmates, the Danish students and other international students have had such an impact on me. I have learned to communicate cross-culturally and I think that is one of my biggest lessons that I am taking away from this place. I will never forget the people I met here.
I feel like such a new and improved person today after all my experiences in Denmark. I was so insecure upon coming here and was going through a lot of things at home. I was depending much too much on my loved ones and couldn't stand as an individual — but this crash course in cultures and traveling definitely cured that. I have an insane renewed confidence and am ready to conquer any challenge put in front of me, journalistically or otherwise.
Now I just feel like I can stand on my own and do anything. I'm going off to Long Island in a week and normally, this would have freaked me out. But after everything I've been through in the last six months, I am more than excited to embrace the challenge.
I don't feel like I can fully express how much this experience has done for me. I have finally developed a style as a photographer, have increased my self-confidence and just grown as a person. So, please bear with me for the next few weeks as I talk at length about Denmark and how cool Scandinavia is and blah blah blah. But seriously, it's a super cool place.
It's good to be back in the U.S., but I will never forget the experiences or the people who made my exchange in Denmark as fantastic as it was. I know I will see all these people again someday — it's unavoidable! — and I cannot wait until that day.
In the meantime, follow my next adventure as I travel to Long Island next week for an 8-week internship at Newsday. I'll be headed there this weekend via road trip with my sister. Life doesn't stop for this girl, apparently!