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Built for Bikes

Posted on September 6, 2013 by in The OFI Blog


Tony Cohn is pursuing a virtual internship with the Smithsonian while he studies abroad in Copenhagen

Tony Cohn writes about his experience interning for Smithsonian speechwriters while studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark

The wind blows past my face as I drift forward on my bike. I feel the notebook in my backpack press gently against my light jacket. To the left is a canal, straight-ahead is a fountain, and fellow bikers are scattered all around. Tall wooden boats sporting red and white flags leisurely swim by. Casual. I spot a cafe down a side street and lock one of my wheels to a rack– did you know bike theft is the most common crime in Denmark?

I knew that when I went abroad, I couldn’t give up interning for the Smithsonian. Writing with John and David is an absolute blast.  My work revolves around researching, drafting, and writing for the Smithsonian’s vast collection of museums and research centers. I love it— I get to learn a little about a lot. One day I may research comparative international GDP spent on research and development, and the next craft a draft of a speech for an exhibition opening for the secretary. Because the work is primarily writing and research based, I can do pretty much all of it from my laptop. Back in DC, John and I email regularly and talk on the phone every week or so. My office can be any coffee shop that gives off good writing vibes.

So when it came time for me to leave and study Cross-Cultural Communications in Copenhagen this semester, John asked if I wanted to stay on board. After all, I could continue to research and write from any computer and simply Skype the team home in Washington with questions. I joke that, with the time change, I get work done while my co-workers sleep.

I’ve been in Copenhagen five days now and have totally fallen for its charm. The city seems like a hybrid of Stockholm and Amsterdam— Bikers everywhere, cobble stone streets, and loads of canals with pockets of vibrantly colored buildings.

I finish locking up my bike, and open the door to the coffee shop. I try and not over react to its interior. Everything is made of books: The tables, walls, even the little tuffet type things people sit on. All made of book. I spy a few quiet tables in the corner and head to order a coffee. I clip my helmet to my backpack and look around. This city definitely has good writing vibes.