My First Week in Denmark

When I sat down to begin writing this post I made a list of all the things that have happened since my last update and I realized just how much I have done in a few short weeks.  After my week in Sweden I said goodbye to Ed and headed over the bridge and finally ended up in Copenhagen for the first time.  I transferred from the Øresundstog to the incredibly clean and driver-less Copenhagen metro and got off at the University of Copenhagen where I was to meet DIS and register.  After a short presentation about living in Copenhagen and getting a crapload of packets and lists and other information, the other DIS students and I headed by bus to the kollegium in which we will be living.

A kollegium is like the Danish version of an American dorm.  It’s a building with many single person rooms and some suites, private bathrooms in each room, and a common kitchen.  Kollegiums are, however, not associated with a specific college or university as American dorms are and so students from many universities live in a single kollegium.  My particular kollegium has sixteen separate two-floor buildings of dorm rooms, housing about 500 students.  Also here at the kollegium is a laundry facility, a SAUNA, a TANNING BED, and a café/bar area called ‘Krousten,’ which means ‘pub’ in Danish.  It was in Krousten that we first met up with Stefan, the Danish student that runs the kollegium.  He took us over to buy our train passes and gave us a really short tour around Albertslund.  When we got back they had ordered a huge amount of pizza and beer for us and I enjoyed talking to all the people I will be living with for the next four months.  It was definitely a big change to be drinking beer paid for by my parents tuition money (thanks mom and dad) but I could seriously get used to it.

The next morning I had to wake up freaking EARLY to get to Copenhagen for the welcoming ceremony scheduled for 8.30am.  I’ve lived in luxury for the past two years at Brown being able to sleep literally until 15 minutes before my first class and roll out of bed and still be on time.  Albertslund is about ten miles from the center of Copenhagen and I have a thirty minute commute every morning.  After the welcoming ceremony came a meeting about living with Danish people.  They continue to warn us that Danish people are hard to get to know, have a bizarre sense of humor, and are very direct.  These sorts of Danish stereotypes have been repeated over and over since I arrived and to my surprise most of the Danish people who I have met so far pretty much fit the mold.

Next up was survival Danish which included a scavenger hunt through a grocery store to teach us how to distinguish buttermilk (‘kærnemælk’) from skim milk and to teach us some of the crazy Danish food words that will definitely come in handy.  Kartofler (potatoes), gulerødder (carrots), løg (onions), and hvidløg (garlic) were a few of my favorites.   Also during orientation week we went on a larger scavenger hunt through the entire city of Copenhagen.  DIS had set up certain checkpoints with guides to tell us about some of the major landmarks around the city.  Both scavenger hunts were a lot of fun and I got to meet the students that I will be taking Danish with this year.  They seem like a great bunch of people and our Danish class will definitely be a lot of fun, despite the fact that Danish is absolutely impossible to pronounce.

On our third night at the kollegium in Albertslund something very unfortunate happened.  Two men broke through a DIS student’s window and stole her laptop and cell phone.  The same men then walked down the hall and went into another girl’s room to do the same.  While they were going through her things the girl came back from the kitchen where she had been preparing dinner and caught the men in the act.  They pushed her and escaped through the window but the girl decided that she would try to RUN THEM DOWN.  She chased them all the way to the train station and then decided that it wasn’t worth it and turned back.

Almost instantly after the break-in DIS staff arrived at the kollegium to make sure everyone was alright.  DIS offered to put anyone who didn’t feel safe in a hotel for the night and scheduled two meetings the next day to talk to everyone in the kollegium about the break in.  At the meetings (which had more free food and beer) they explained that Albertslund is a safe place to live and that the break-ins were an unfortunate freak event.  DIS took the time to hear everyone’s concerns about living in the kollegium and offered to move anyone who didn’t feel safe to another housing option as soon as one became available.  A few kids did move out but most us have stayed here in Albertslund.  Personally I do not feel unsafe here and I really think that a lot of the kids that did decide to move may have used the break-in as an excuse to move closer to the city.

Now everyone has settled in and life at the kollegium is much more calm.  I’ll try to write another post as soon as I can.



~ by dfjenkins3 on January 31, 2010.

One Response to “My First Week in Denmark”

  1. the hugging helmets thing is just beautiful.

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