Hello everyone! My name is Derya İdil Botsalı, I am from Ankara, Turkey, I am 20 years old, and I am about to begin my junior year of college in Copenhagen, Denmark. I was lucky enough to be born into a life full of ‘studying abroad’ as a third culture kid (TCK). Third culture kids are children raised in a culture/ cultures other than that of their parents’ for a significant part of their early development years (thank you Wikipedia for the definition). My father is a Turkish diplomat who moves to a different country every three to four years in order to complete his duties. Accordingly, as his family we follow him wherever he goes. It is a life full of both advantages and disadvantages, but I like to focus on the good stuff. Throughout my life, I got to live in six different countries. Through the doors that lead one chapter to another in those countries, I finally ended up at Lake Forest College in Illinois, USA, where I was introduced to the opportunity of spending a semester in Copenhagen. If you want to know more about me, you can click on the “About Me ” button.
My grandmother from my mother’s side was Danish, which is why Denmark always has had a special place in my heart. Although she is not with us anymore, her influence is; we still celebrate Christmas the traditional Danish way, we cook some Danish dishes from time to time, we all have pieces of her chic Danish clothing, and we have decorative pieces from Denmark around the house… Denmark and the Danes always seemed magical to me mostly because of my lovely childhood memories with my grandmother. Unfortunately, I never got the opportunity to visit Denmark. This sounds strange to people since my mother is half Danish, but we spend our summers back in Turkey visiting our family, which leaves us with no extra time. Since the day I first came to Lake Forest I was very eager to study abroad, since it is something that all of my friends did and recommended. Then came the idea to study abroad in Denmark, and then came the discovery of the DIS program.
A few days ago I got an e-mail titled “39 Days Until Copenhagen!” from DIS. It took me a while to fully comprehend that in almost a month I will be living in Copenhagen. Although I am very used to traveling and moving from one place to another, I still get excited like it is the first time. Furthermore, this time it was me who chose the destination, which is one of my dream cities. Every person I know who has been to Denmark tells me that it is a place that I will not want to leave. I already heard so much about the unique art, cuisine, design, culture and lifestyle in Denmark and it is making me less patient about my arrival!
As a student, I am double majoring in Studio Art and International Relations with a minor in French. Accordingly, I chose the Architecture and Design program as my main focus. Studio Art at Lake Forest introduces the students to many forms of art such as drawing, painting, 3D medium, etc. Their goal is to show the students as many aspects of art as possible so that they discover what they like the most. I realized that I am quite passionate about design, which is why I am taking the architecture course. I see this as an opportunity to learn some design skills and build on them until I study it with more detail after my undergraduate studies. Besides, I did not want to miss the chance to study design in a Nordic country! The official name of my core course is Foundations of Urban Design. Along with that, I am registered for New Nordic Design, Wider European Security: Norms, Institutions, and Power, and Danish Language and Culture Level 1. DIS is a program that impressed me from the second I discovered it and I am so so so excited to be a part of it. It is kind of tricky to tell people about it since the most common study abroad programs are only familiar with “ERASMUS” or “AIFS”, whereas DIS is its on program. It is an institution that combines two different cultures of education (the American and the Danish) to enrich the experience of their students. I have heard only good things from people who have been a part of the program, so I cannot wait to see, experience, and breathe the beautiful city.
When it comes to where I am right now, I am in Adrasan. It is a place in Southern Turkey, quite close to Antalya (Antalya is a more known city). I came here for a week of vacation with my family. We haven’t been able to go on a proper vacation together for the past two years, so this year we decided to do something unique. Adrasan is absolutely beautiful, peaceful, and calm. Since all four of us went through a very busy and tiring period, we wanted to go somewhere that was less technologic and city-like. We luckily ended up choosing the perfect place… We are in the middle of pure nature with street animals and some wild ones all around us, we walk barefoot everywhere, we swim, relax, read and talk only. The people are so genuine and friendly and nobody bothers us for no reason. My mother and father will be staying here for another week, but my sister and I will be going to an art camp during that time. I am very excited about that as well and will post an update about it. For now, here are some photos from Adrasan.