Studying Abroad in Denmark With Helen Li '16

April 07, 2015

Helen Li

Helen is studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. She was named the Official Graphic Design Blogger for her Danish program!

What are you studying?

Web design and development -- and hoping to squeeze in a sociology minor!

What drew you to your major?

I interned at a tech startup in New York the summer after my first year. I fell in love with the culture and after learning how stark the gender imbalance is in the tech field, I felt compelled to be part of the small percentage of women hoping to create a more equal playing field. Front end development is especially fun because I get to work both creatively as a designer and technically via coding and web advancements.

What's your favorite part of your program?

I love how supportive my professors have been and the time they have invested in my personal and professional growth. 

What's your favorite class you've taken so far?

My favorite design class is Design for the World Wide Web with Professor Groves because it was the first time I had a vision about something and was determined to turn it into a tangible reality. It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling to pour all your hard work into something and then see the final product -- which in this case was a website.

My favorite non-design related class is Class in America with Professor Aoki. We examine Marx and apply it to a modern context. This class has really opened my mind to the way I think about economics and philosophy.

Where are you studying abroad?

I am currently studying in Copenhagen, Denmark with DIS Abroad!

What type of classes are you taking while abroad?

I'm enrolled in the Graphic Design Studio core course. I'm also taking three electives: Danish Design, The Power of Thought in Europe and Co-Creation: Innovation and Design Thinking.

What's your favorite part of your trip so far?

This is a hard one -- but I’d have to say my classes! They have made a huge difference in the way I appreciate Denmark and its culture. All my professors work as professionals in their fields and take us on field studies that supplement what we learn in class. I've also had the opportunity to travel to western Denmark and the Netherlands for study tours where I've gone museum and design studio hopping. It’s inspiring and exciting to see people do the work that I hope to do in the future!

What advice would you give to a Simmons student considering studying abroad?

Really think about why you want to go abroad. Being in a totally new country not knowing a single soul can be extremely isolating and terrifying at times. Studying abroad gives you an opportunity to learn about who you are and grow from adversity. Understanding the why has been a source of affirmation for me whenever I start to miss home or feel confused about my experiences.

What's your Simmons moment?

The week of the Mike Brown verdict, a group of Simmons students organized a non-violent direct action protest. It was incredibly moving to see my peers rise to leadership roles to fight against injustice and come together in solidarity. Situations like these truly reaffirm the strong community at Simmons and desire to make a positive mark in the world. The community at Simmons makes me proud to call it my home.

What made you choose Simmons?

I was apprehensive about attending a women’s college at first. I was worried about how my college experience would be different from others. I decided to come to Simmons after visiting the school. I just fell in love with Simmons and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made!