In Copenhagen, Denmark, there are over 675,000 bicycles throughout the city. It is more common here to ride a bike than it is to have a car, as well as it is common to take public transportation since it is much more accessible. Living in Tennessee and going to school at the University of Alabama, I was not very accustomed to using public transportation to get around. The first day I arrived in Copenhagen, I met some other students in my study abroad program called DIS. They had invited me to meet them at their collegium and in order for me to get there, I needed to take the bus. I had never taken the bus alone before, but decided I would purchase my ticket on the bus as that seemed like the easiest thing to do. There were officers coming around to check and make sure everyone had a ticket. When they approached me, I explained my situation as a foreigner taking public transportation alone for the first time and how I was going to buy my ticket on board. At first, they seemed to be extremely understanding and checked my ID. They next followed me off the bus one stop later and then fined me 750 krone, which is equivalent to around $120 USD. The officers also told me to learn the rules of public transportation before trying to use it, despite there is a lack of rules listed anywhere. An expensive lesson, but lesson learned!
Fast forward two weeks, and now I would consider myself to be a public transportation pro! After a couple of wrong trips and turns, I have been able to now navigate the metro, bus, and bikes alone. This experience has taught me to be more observant while traveling such as looking out for others and paying attention to signs. Learning how to travel around the city alone has been such a valuable experience that has allowed me to become more independent. I am looking forward to continuing to improve my skills throughout the next month and learn the different routes of such an amazing city. There is so much to see and do, and it feels like not enough time!