Michelle Gissara

Michelle completed a short-term program at AU Summer University (Aarhus University) in July 2018 and travelled around during her studies.

During Melbourne’s winter mid-semester break in July 2018, I had the amazing chance to complete a short-term program at AU Summer University in Aarhus, Denmark. I chose to partake in the ‘Youth, Drugs, and Alcohol: Social Science Approaches’ elective, which complemented my double degree in Criminology and Psychology. It allowed me to understand varying cultural perspectives and attitudes surrounding teenage use of drugs and alcohol, as well as reinforced my understanding of the detriments substance abuse has on the growing brain.

I arrived in Copenhagen prior to heading to Aarhus and enjoyed a weekend of sightseeing and visiting places, such as Tivoli Gardens, a boat cruise through picturesque Nyhavn, and Copenhagen Zoo. I then headed by bus to Aarhus and settled into my student accommodation, which was walking distance to the university and where I met others who were also there for the summer.

When I wasn’t at university or exploring the city centre, I travelled with some new friends to see places such as Risskov beach, Tivoli Friedhen, Aarhus Natural History Museum, Aarhus Steno Science Museum, Djurs Sommerland, ARoS Art Museum, Marselisborg Deer Park, and Legoland in Billund.

I had decided to spend an extra week afterwards in Finland, where I explored Helsinki. The highlights were Linnanmaki amusement park, Helsinki Zoo, the island of Suomenlinna, several remarkable art galleries, and the best Natural history museum! I was also lucky enough to fly to Oulu, Finland, and meet my favourite band, The Rasmus, at Qstock Music Festival.

I warmly incorporated the Danish culture and the Scandinavian notion of “Hygge”. Hygge is a word for a mood of cosiness and to embrace feelings of wellness and contentment in everyday life. This is a great idea, as a positive awareness of self-care and mindfulness feeds into an optimistic psychological mindset.

For anyone thinking of taking up a course through Aarhus University, you can enrol in Summer or Winter programs, and I would highly suggest giving it a go! Participating in any global experience through RMIT is great way to further your study, meet new people, experience learning in the context of a new culture, and you can enjoy any activities that interest you in your spare time.