I am currently studying abroad in Copenhagen. I took classes at Copenhagen Business School and I lived in a dorm with other exchange students. As this semester comes to a close and I reflect on my favorite parts of abroad and what I want to take back with me when I go home, the thing that instantly comes to mind is the Danish lifestyle of hygge. Hygge translates to “coziness” in English, however, this translation doesn’t do the concept justice. Hygge is so much more than our idea of coziness. Hygge can be used to describe an atmosphere that often consists of candlelight, blankets, pillows, and a cozy and at home feeling. Hygge is also used to describe the Danish way of living that includes being happy and present with friends and family. When you’re in Copenhagen, people aren’t on their phones. Instead, everyone is very much present in whatever they are doing, whether that is talking with friends or enjoying a cup of coffee.
Unlike our go-go-go spirit in the states, people aren’t in such a rush. You can sit in a restaurant or cafe for hours at a time and you feel no pressure to leave. In fact, they want you to stay and enjoy the time you have with those around you. It’s hard to explain hygge to my friends and family at home, but essentially it is a feeling of living a happy life and enjoying the everyday moments. Danes are some of the happiest people in the world, and I definitely think hygge has a lot to do with that. Being in Copenhagen and experiencing the hygge that is routine in everyday life has been refreshing and I hope to bring this back with me when I go home. This semester abroad has been such an amazing experience, and I’m so happy that USC encourages all of its students to participate in international experiences during their four years.