International Student Matilde Lindner Spends Summer Break at Home in Denmark

Matilde Lindner in Berlin Summer 2021
Matilde Lindner in Berlin Summer 2021

"Hygge" is the Danish word for feeling contentment, at home. It can refer to one's physical surroundings and accoutrements or it can be the emotional completeness we experience in the company of our closest loved ones. Over the last year and a half, international student Matilde Lindner has learned to feel "hygge" between two places she calls home—Dallas and Denmark.

Her love for the Lord has grown significantly on University Hill, but Matilde was thankful for the opportunity to return this summer break to her home in Randers, Denmark, to be reunited with family and friends and enjoy some much needed time by the salty sea and Northern Europe's much cooler temperatures.

Before her arrival as a student at DBU, Matilde worked for a few years as an au pair in Washington D.C. Her experience living abroad was so transformative that when it came time to consider enrolling in college, she was drawn to the idea of staying in the U.S. - and then she discovered DBU.

"DBU stood out to me instantly, mainly because of its Christ-centered education," she explains, "which I considered incredibly important as I was a rather new believer at the time."

An interest in human rights from a young age, especially in relationship to climate change, immigration, and world hunger, became Matilde's calling to pursue her degree at DBU in political science. "It sheds light on specific policies that ultimately have a greater impact on societies as well as people groups all over the world." Her hope is to one day work for the United Nations in Brussels or one of their many other national departments or perhaps serve at a non-profit that focuses on domestic or international policies related to human rights.

Growing up in Denmark, where there is no point that is further than 30 miles from the coast, Matilde and her family made a lot of memories together by the sea. Coming from such a small country, she says it took her a while to get used to the larger scale and grandeur of the U.S.

"The variety of scenery is mesmerizing; from spectacular skylines to mighty mountains, from city lights to deserts, from busy streets to waterfalls. It has been such a gift getting to explore the U.S. in all of its shapes and sizes."

Her favorite experience in living and studying abroad in the U.S., she says, has been the kindness and hospitality of the people she has met along the way.

"Danes are, generally speaking, pretty private and can therefore come off as rather distant as they tend to keep to themselves, but I've found that Americans are mostly extroverted and warm, which was quite the culture shock when I first arrived."

Since she has been home for the summer, Matilde has traveled to nearby Germany and Sweden, but mostly she has prioritized enjoyment of the small but important things, "such as eating breakfast with my grandparents, meeting with high school friends for a movie night, or going for a walk in my childhood neighborhood."

She is also grateful to be reunited with Danish rye bread and Denmark's plentiful seafood options! Nevertheless, after a cool and refreshing summer near the Baltic, she is looking forward to being back in the city of Dallas to start a brand new semester of life and learning on the Hill.

Written by Dr. Michael Whiting

Dr. Michael Whiting is the Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.