Community Away from Home: Finding my ‘Third Place’ while Abroad

The urban sociologist Ray Oldenberg describes a third place as somewhere between a first place (home) and a second place (work, or in our case school) where people meet and interact. It’s a place where people can put their worries aside, form relationships, and have a fun time. 

Ever since I started kicking a ball at age of six, my “third place” has always been on the soccer field with my teammates. Through soccer, I have met some amazing people, made great memories, and learned valuable life lessons as well. I knew I wanted to continue playing soccer while abroad this semester since it would be a way for me to interact with locals as well as stay in shape.

My path to finding a team to play for in Copenhagen was a bit unconventional. I’m pretty sure I   just sat down at my computer one night and googled soccer clubs in Copenhagen and just  emailed a bunch of them to see if I would be able to join for the semester because sometimes you have to be a little bold and take initiative to get what you want. Fortunately, I heard back from the soccer club OKF and ended up joining practice the same day. 

I was a bit nervous to attend my first practice and wasn’t sure what to expect but the coaches and  girls on the club made me feel welcomed. It was also comforting to know that there were a couple other DIS students also on the team. Ever since the first practice, I have enjoyed every minute I’ve spend playing with the club. My favorite practice so far is definitely when we a did a small sided tournament where each play rotated to different teams  each round. The  competitive energy was high and it was great way to meet more people on the club. Another favorite memory so far was playing in my first game in the club. Even though I had to wake at 6:30am and take two buses to get to the field, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the day any differently. It was so nice being able to play in real match again and a great way to bond with teammates. 

Overall, I have enjoyed my time with OKF so far. It gives me a community away from home, allows me to interact with locals, makes me feel grounded while abroad. Its my ‘third place’ in Copenhagen. I encourage future DIS students to find your ‘third place’ while abroad whether that’s joining a sports team, volunteering at a nonprofit, or joining a dance studio. 

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