Well, I haven’t either. But some of my classmates did…and it was weird (and wrapped in bacon). This past week was Core Course week. At the beginning of the semester, students devote an entire week toward their core course. Though participation in lectures, field studies, and a short study tour outside of Copenhagen, it’s a chance for students to focus on their primary curriculum. My core course is Strategic Communication, and we spent three days in Copenhagen, and three days traveling in Western Denmark.
Monday: I began my morning with a lecture at DIS about our itinerary for Core Course week. We discussed the reasoning behind our Core Course week field studies including our scheduled visits to Rambøll and Christiania. After our discussion, my class decided to go to Torvehallerne, a glass market in the heart of Copenhagen with everything from French croissants to freshly caught fish, from rare delicacies to rich coffee, from exotic spices to locally grown vegetables.It’s even fun just walking around Torvehallerne. I had my first experience with The Coffee Collective, a trendy and well known spot with strong and flavorful (much needed) coffee.
In the afternoon, our class visited Rambøll, an independent engineering and design consultancy with defined company fundamentals (insight, integrity, empathy, enjoyment, empowerment) and Nordic values, empowered and satisfied employees, and strong ethical standards and corporate responsibility. We listened to a presentation given by Martin, an internal communications consultant, with over 10 years of experience in corporate communications. We learned about the company’s corporate communications organization, their Nordic management style, and global challenges they will face due to their recent merger with an environmental consultancy. The visit was a great chance to compare and contrast Nordic management style to the American management style–there are many pros and cons to both styles of management.
After visiting Rambøll my friend Lauren and I did some vintage shopping and went to the top of Rundetårn (The Round Tower). The Round Tower was built by Christian IV between 1637 and 1642 and has a unique spiral ramp (wide enough for horses to climb up back in the day) that takes you to the top for a panoramic view of Copenhagen. It was beautiful and sunny day! We also went on a walk through the Rosenborg Castle Gardens which will be a great place for a picnic in the Spring.
Tuesday: My class took a visit to Christiania, often known as Freetown Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood in Copenhagen on the site of abandoned military barracks. Christiania was established in the early 1970s and is now regulated by a special law, the Christiania law of 1989. Cars are not allowed (although there are roads and winding bike paths everywhere) and most of the homes in Christiania have been built with materials found inside the neighborhood. Christiania is known for it’s world famous bike shops and green communal living style. There are multiple cafes and popular music venues throughout the neighborhood. While there is much controversy surrounding the existence of Christiania, it remains one of Copenhagen’s largest tourist attractions. You aren’t allowed to take any pictures inside Christiania, but I managed to snap a shot of this mural right outside the entrance. Wednesday: On Wednesday we were given the day off to pack for our upcoming trip to Western Denmark. During our three day trip we would be visiting two cities, Odense and Århus (or Aarhus).
Thursday: On Thursday morning my class loaded up a coach bus and headed on our way to our first stop, Odense, the home of Hans Christian Andersen. We would be spending two days in Odense, so we were divided into two groups. My group began our stay in Odense with a walking tour of the city. Our tour guide was a bit quirky, but she made sure to show us the most important sites in the city. We saw the home where H.C. Andersen was born, a fairy tale garden named after him, the river where his mother did laundry, and more.
My group had a long brunch in Odense and we were able to do a little bit of gift shopping. Many of my classmates bought beautiful books filled with all of H.C. Andersen’s fairy tales. I opted for two little trolls (I was the only one who found them remotely cute). Trolls are very important in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore so I thought the purchase was justified. In the afternoon, my entire class visited TV 2, a publicly owned television station based in Odense. TV 2 competes with DR, Denmark’s national broadcasting corporation. We were given a lecture about how the company operates and competes with DR and other Internet streaming services such as Netflix. We were then given a tour of the massive renovated building, which used to be a place where cattle were auctioned. The studios were a lot smaller than I would have imagined, but TV 2 has camera tricks that makes the room seem huge on television. Friday: On Friday my group spent the day at Brandts–The Danish Museum of Photographic Art. At Brandts we went up to the Mediemuseet where we produced our own television broadcast. Each student in my group had a different role; director, production assistant, anchor, etc. I was the weather girl, and I reported on the weather from Washington D.C. I chose to write a feature story on homelessness in D.C. during the winter. It was really interesting to experience how much work is put into producing a broadcast like the nightly news. I would have loved to spend more time walking around the Brandts museum, but we were on a tight schedule.
After completing the workshop, we got on the bus and drove to our next city, Århus. Århus is the second largest city (after Copenhagen) in Denmark. Århus is rebranding itself as a city and actually goes by Aarhus (without the use of the Danish letter Å) often. We checked into our hostel and then went to Bowl ‘n’ Fun as a class for bowling and dinner. Dinner was a buffet where you could get anything from french fries and onion rings to kangaroo and caviar. I chose not to taste the kangaroo, despite the fact that it was wrapped in bacon. The strangest part about the bowling alley serving kangaroo was that when we asked a few Danish people about it they had never had it either. I guess few people got to cross “Eat kangaroo at a bowling alley in Denmark” off their bucket lists.
Saturday: Saturday was probably my favorite part of the trip. We visited the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum–a museum of modern art. The building was huge and their were four large exhibition galleries and the outstanding Your Rainbow Panorama on top of the building. The museum was an experience.