Not running in 2019

Required Course: PSYC 337

Program Information

The program will be based at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS), situated in the heart of charming medieval Copenhagen. Students will be housed in a Danish kollegium, with other American students and Danish university students.

The program focus will be a comparative analysis of child development in Denmark and the United States. We will focus on the contexts of the family and education as well as surrounding cultural issues (e.g., history, ideology, economics, government) that influence child development.

Course Information

The 1 credit core course will be Child Development in Denmark. In addition, students will have the option to complete a .5 credit research Independent Study related to the core course.

The three-week course will be comprised of nine class sessions (three hours per) and three full days at a practicum in a Danish school. We will go on field trips to educational and cultural sites in and around Copenhagen and take a 3-day tour of Western Denmark.

Class sessions will blend discussion, lecture, small-group work, student presentations, and guest lectures. Students are expected to read primary-source articles, participate thoughtfully in class, write daily in a journal, give a presentation on practicum experiences, write a final paper (due one week after the course ends), and show full engagement during our many outings and study tour to W. Denmark. Analysis of two themes will permeate all of our experiences and your assignments: how culture shapes child development and childhood, and how your experiences in Denmark influence how you view yourself and your own native culture.

Graded assignments:

  • Participation
  • Journal
  • Practicum presentation
  • Final paper

Graded assignments will be on participation and full engagement with the program, journals, a presentation based on practicum experiences, and a final paper that will be due roughly a week after the program ends.

Themes and Issues for the Course

We will examine how culture shapes childhood in Danish and Nordic culture as well as make regular comparisons to the United States and other cultures. Foremost in our minds will be the Danish philosophy of en god barndom, or "the good childhood," which posits that children are competent and trustworthy, should enjoy "liberation" from excessive adult supervision, and should have full participation in the life of a democratic society. Below are some other aspects of Denmark that we will study and experience:

  • The high quality of life, the low rates of crime and poverty, the importance of nature, and the omnipresence of the bicycle.
  • Why Danes view themselves as a "tribe," do not have a word for "please," and why they rarely say "I'm sorry" or "excuse me."
  • The Danish ideology of Janteloven and its norms of equality and egalitarianism in life and relationships.
  • The Danish attitude that "the wealthiest 90% take care of the poorest 90%."
  • Denmark's national identity as a social welfare state and reluctant member of the European Union.
  • How Danes see their nation as progressive and liberal-yet uphold restrictive immigration laws that many Americans might find offensive and prejudicial, and how traditional Danes are challenged, if not threatened, by recent surges of Muslim immigrants.
  • The intense free-speech vs. religious-respect debate surrounding a Danish newspaper's publication of the "Mohammed cartoon," depicting the Muslim prophet in a controversial manner.
  • Social policies and attitudes about sex, marriage and family, and alcohol consumption that Americans may find extremely liberal (e.g., Danish teens gain the right to drink alcohol several years before they gain the right to drive, and the majority of Danish children are born outside of marriage).

The course allows students to fulfill various University and major requirements:

Psychology: counts toward one of the two 300-level credits

Core Curriculum: The course can fulfill a Social Science requirement within the new university core curriculum.

Children's Studies Minor: The course may count towards the Children's Studies minor.

Program Cost

Estimated Total Program Cost: $5,500 approximately

The program cost includes course tuition, round-trip airfare from Newark to Copenhagen, lodging and transportation in Denmark, study-tour/field-trip fees, and some food costs. Additional costs will include some meals and personal expenses.