Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Ellie Maag ’19

Hopkins, MN • Comparative Literature View Profile

Following Passions Across the Atlantic

Right now, I’m sitting in a café in Copenhagen, waiting for the next film in the festival to start. 

How did I get here? Last semester, I took a class called “Vernacular Filmmaking” with Professor Erika Kiss. I wrote a final paper for the course on Thomas Vinterberg, a Danish filmmaker. 

This paper inspired me to look further into Danish cinema. I spoke to my professor about it, and she encouraged me to apply for funding to explore this research further. I applied, explaining my interest, and was granted funding to study in Copenhagen for a week. During this time, I’ll be researching Danish cinema and learning about documentary filmmaking at CPH:DOX, the Copenhagen International Film Festival. 

Before I came to Princeton, the only films I watched were comedies and blockbuster hits with my family. All I knew was that I liked French and Norwegian and reading lots of books. 

Copenhagen's Nyhavn canal
The Nyhavn canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Since then, I’ve discovered so many fields. I’ve truly embraced the idea of interdisciplinary studies and taken classes about philosophy, politics, literature, languages, anthropology and film. 

As a high school student, the only path I could picture was studying English and becoming a lawyer. 

Now, it’s not so easy to plan my future. I can imagine being an anthropologist, a politician, a professor, a filmmaker, a businesswoman and even an archaeologist (inspired by my latest class on the Vikings). 

I’m enjoying my week so far in Copenhagen. I can’t wait until I find my next spark and study something completely new and exciting.