Alyssa Petiprin - Copenhagen, Denmark
Finally in Copenhagen!
I finally arrived in Copenhagen at 9:30 a.m. this morning. I had a good flight other than the fact that it was delayed after we were already boarded. I had an exit row seat and I sat next to some kid who was going backpacking in Norway...we did have two young kids sitting in our row which was very annoying at times, although, I did manage to get some sleep. When I arrived, I went and checked in at the Hilton Hotel next to the airport with all the other Copenhagen Business School (CBS) International Summer University Progam (ISUP) students. Then we went to our residences...I'm glad I brought only a hiking backpack because everyone was having a really hard time with their luggage on wheels. After I unpacked, I fell asleep because I was so tired. Oh yeah, I have a roommate who is from Singapore. She is really nice and fun! When I woke up from my nap she was gone, so I decided to go out by myself. I managed to get on the Metro (Subway) without too much complication. I tried to find Jeff's residence, (another CMU student) but I failed. I ended up just walking about the CBS campus and checking out places near there. I didn't realize that not knowing Danish would be so much of a barrier. Everyone speaks English but everything is written in Danish...good thing I ran into some very nice Danes that helped me out! Later in the evening, I went on a tour with some people from my residence. We walked around where we live, which is amazing, and realized that there are a lot of cool things to do. Everyone I have met so far is really nice and fun, and I can't wait for what is in store for the next six weeks in Copenhagen!
Copenhagen Days 2 & 3
I was feeling pretty jet lagged after the first day, so I defiantly slept in a little the next day. I finally met up with Jeff, who is also from CMU. We went for a walk around his apartment complex, which is near the CBS campus (it's three metro stops from mine, so it's quite far) and got food. Then we went to this giant garden where you can run and people tan. It was filled with old castles and statues and there is even a zoo in the middle of it! At three, we all had a meeting at the school, which lasted four hours. It was nice to get to know places on campus a little better. After the meeting was the CBS Welcome BBQ, and the food was excellent. Later in the evening, we went to the CBS Welcome Party. It took forever to get to our destination and as, a result, I received a lot of blisters because I did not realize we were going to have to walk so far to catch the bus. However, the discotheque/restaurant was really cool! They played a lot of American music from about two years ago and a lot of Michael Jackson music...tribute-like due to his recent death. There was a also quite of bit of techno music. I enjoyed the event very much because it gave me a chance to meet a ton of people from the program. I still haven't gotten used to the fact that there is very little time of darkness here. It does not get fully dark until after 12 a.m. and dawn breaks about three or so. Today, CBS hosted an event called the Amazing Race. We split into teams and had to go all over Copenhagen searching for specific sites. I was in a group with all Germans and Australians which was really fun! My camera battery died half way through so I will need go back later and take more photos. We had a great time taking our time. Most of our time was spent in this giant beautiful garden called Kings Garden. During the Race I tried my first Danish pizza and ice cream... both were really good! We ended up getting back really late and obviously didn't win the race...lol. I had a blast though, so it was worth it!
Week 1 in Copenhagen
Classes here are much different than in the U.S. There is only either a written/oral final or a written paper/project and that is it! My classes are very good so far. I'm taking two marketing classes and the information that is covered overlaps, so that is helpful. Both of my professors are from Australia, so that is cool. On Thursday, we went folk dancing with the school. It was really fun, but I had no idea what I was doing the whole time! There were people dressed in traditional Danish folk dancing apparel and they taught us some simple dances. Today was also the day I moved to a different residence that was nearer to campus. Not only is it within walking distance of campus, but it is significantly cheaper and newly remodeled. It used to be an old porcelain factory that has now been redone into student housing...this explains its name of Porcelænshaven. I live on the fifth floor (really the sixth), and I live with all guys. They are all really cool and fun. We have floor dinners every night of the week where one person makes dinner for the whole floor. The funny thing is that I am the only girl and I cannot cook compared to all the boys. LOL. Yesterday a bunch of people I met went to the beach...it has been really hot here this whole week (around 95 degrees which is a little uncommon) so we all really wanted to go. The Baltic Sea is beautiful and cool. I ended up falling asleep on the beach and getting a little burnt, but it doesn't hurt at all which is good. In the afternoon, I went with a couple of people from my floor on a photo tour around Copenhagen because they also ran out of camera battery during the Amazing Race. We did the tourist thing and took lots of pictures of everything while walking around the entire city. I feel like I know my way around very well now! In the evening, some friends and I went to a Middle Eastern restaurant which was really good. Today is "America Day" as everyone calls it here, if you say the 4th of July no one understands what you mean..lol. Well anyway, some friends and I are heading to Malmo, Sweden for the day. It is a 20 minute train ride, so I'm excited!
Week 2 in Copenhagen
You really have to keep up with the readings here in classes. Since there is only one test or paper, you cannot fall behind. I am not quite used to this yet. It helps that my flat mate (suite mate) is in my hardest class so we study and prepare for class together. He also has his own personal printer and lets me pay him half the price of what it costs to print at school, which is awesome. Professors here expect you to have all their slides printed and read before class, and there are many. They will also have case studies, which you need to bring as well. Printing is NOT free at my school as it is at CMU and all the printing can add up very quickly at .20 USD per sheet!
This past weekend I went with some people from my residence to Hamburg, Germany. It was really fun! We did a lot of sightseeing...mostly WW2 memorials and museums...which was very informative. Germany was a lot of fun although it rained and was cold most of the time we were there. It was a little bit more difficult getting around because not as many people speak English as compared to in Copenhagen. Oh I almost forgot to mention, the best part about going to Hamburg....we took the train! It was very cheap and easy to get tickets. The train ride was only five hours so it didn't take very long to get there. About half-way through the ride we were at a stop and the announcer came on and told us to get off the train because we were on the ferry. We were all a little confused but realized that our train had drove onto the ferry. The ferry ride was about an hour and a half then we got back on the train and finished the trip like normal. Weird but really cool!
Week 3 in Copenhagen
The weeks seem to by flying by now! The third week of classes was good. I just have to keep up with my readings which are not too fun. Last week we had an international dinner at CBS where everyone brings a dish to pass from their home country. I made Rice Crispie Treats. Everyone seemed to really like them and people from countries other than the U.S. and Canada said they had never had them before, so that was cool. I had some really good cheese pancake things from Turkey, which were amazing. I did try some traditional Danish food which was a fish pate with some kind of mustard on this dark dense bread....I did not care for it at all! Oh well, at least I tried it. This weekend CBS hosted a trip to Oslo, Norway, which was a cruise! I have never been on a cruise before so it was really cool experience. I was worried that I would hate it because I have this fear of deep, open water. However, it was an amazing time! There were about 150 students from my school that went. It was a HUGE ship, so there were many other people there as well. We were on the second to the bottom deck (of 12 floors) and our rooms were very small. Most of the time we spent was on the other decks where there were stores, restaurants, and discotheques. We went on the upper deck a lot to take in the beautiful scenery. We left Copenhagen at 5 p.m. on Friday and arrived in Oslo, Norway at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. We spent the whole day in Oslo, which is an amazing city. We went to a medieval fortress, the Nobel Peace Museum, and to a statue park. The statute park was by far the coolest thing except it was a little odd. There was this huge towering statue of people in the center of the park. On the way back from Oslo, there was a storm and the ocean was very choppy. I'm glad I took a sea sickness pill because the seas were rough for most of the way back. Thank goodness I did not get sick! This coming weekend I am going to Prague with about eight people from my school, and I will be returning to Prague again at the end of my trip with some friends from back home. I guess you can never travel too much!
Week 4 in Copenhagen
I was feeling pretty sick most of this week because of the changing weather from rainy and cold, to very hot. I am feeling much better now =) This week, the CBS event was to watch a movie entitled, "Terkel in Trouble". It was an animated movie that had traditional Danish humor. It was not a children's movie, even though it was animated. I discovered that Danish humor is much different than humor Americans are used to. Some of the humor was a little over-the-top and it was sometimes something I would feel bad laughing at in the U.S. It was a good experience though. The movie was in Danish, but had English subtitles. This past weekend I went with a bunch of friends from my residence to Prague, Czech Republic. It was the most beautiful city I have ever seen. The architecture and history was absolutely amazing! I am really excited that I will be returning there with my friends from home in a few weeks. We saw an amazing fortress/castle that was about 30 kilometers outside of Prague, known as Karlstejn. It was in the middle of the forest and had an amazing view of the countryside. There is so much history in Prague and we went to many museums and monuments. Upon arriving in Prague, we all bought a "Prague Card" that will get you into all the museums and things for a very low price...especially if you are a student. The best part about Prague was that everything was very cheap! We had traditional Czech meals for under $10 USD and that was in the touristiest part of the city. Also, we stayed in a very nice, inexpensive hostel that was within walking distance of everything we wanted to see. Now that I am back in Copenhagen, the last two weeks will be spent studying for exams and seeing everything I can in Denmark before I leave!
Week 5 & 6 in Copenhagen -Saying goodbye is the hardest part.
Wow, the past two weeks went by officially too fast! Today was the day that the program ended and everyone left. I am staying with my flat mate and some other friends for a few days before heading to the Netherlands to meet up with some friends from back home. The past two weeks have been spent spending time with all the great friends I've met, finishing my term paper, and taking my written exam. My written exam was a four-hour essay exam. We took our exams in a different building that had computers in all the rooms. This was very helpful because I wrote about ten pages single spaced for my exam and that would have been miserable if I had to hand write it! I feel I did very well on it, so that was good. My term paper went very well also, but I had been working on it throughout the semester so it wasn't too stressful to complete. My overall experience with taking business classes in Denmark was great. I loved that I truly had all international classes with people from all over the world with different perspectives and ways of doing things. I feel that aspect alone has taught me immense things especially in marketing and advertising (the classes I took there) that I could have never learned back in the U.S. in classes comprised of solely Americans. I also feel that this experience will help me get a job when I graduate that is related to international business and international marketing, because now I have the experience of living and studying in a foreign country, which is imperative. Aside from the school aspect, I went everywhere I could in Copenhagen before I left and I am really glad I did . Yes, I did travel to many places outside of Denmark, but Copenhagen is where I called home and it was my favorite place of all! I will defiantly miss all the great people I have met during my study abroad program and it will be an experience that I will never forget!