No Class on Wednesday = Best Day Ever!

This morning I still work up pretty early, probably around 7.  I don’t know if I’m still jet lagged, or am just an early riser.  I also did laundry for the first time here!  It was such a beautiful day, so I just hung my clothes up on the clothesline to dry.  After that, Jessica and I went grocery shopping because we are making dinner for our host parents tomorrow!  We couldn’t find all of the ingredients, so I will have to search more tomorrow.  I hope that we can find everything, but grocery shopping is much harder when it’s in a different language.

Then we went to Nørreport to meet our friend Nikki!  We decided to get some pastries before meeting up with a bunch of our other friends at Tivoli, an amusement park in Copenhagen.  There are so many cute bakeries around the area, and today I had my first wienerbrød.  It was very sweet, but very good.  🙂

My first Danish danish!

Then we went to TIVOLI!  Ahh, it was so much fun.  My friend Stephanie is also living with a host family, and her host father was able to give us a great deal on tickets into Tivoli, which was great!  I went on The Golden Tower, Himmelskibet, and Odinexpressen.  I was a bit nervous about Odinexpressen because it was a small rollercoaster, and if you know me, you know I don’t do well on rollercoasters at all.  But it was really small and not bad at all, so I was just fine!  Our group of friends also played bumper cars and went on The Flying Trunk, which had 32 different scenes from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.  It was really cute to see the familiar fairy tales come to life!


Himmelskibet! Yup, I went on that. The view from up top was amazing!

Our group got a bit smaller after our trip to Tivoli.  But after that, a few of us went up to The Round Tower in the middle of the city.  The view was absolutely spectacular!  And, it was a perfect sunny day to go up there and see the view.

Another amazing view of the city! This time, from The Round Tower.

To end the day, Steen and Karin took Jessica and I to an organ concert in the Grundtvig Church.  I have never been to an organ concert before, so that was one of many firsts that I’ve had here in Denmark (along with going to IKEA and eating a plum :P).  The organist played pieces by Bach, Rued Langgaard, Olivier Messiaen, and Max Reger.  We all agreed that the Reger was our least favorite and that it seemed more contemporary and modern.  They served wine and potato chips afterwards.  Very classy, haha.  All in all, a wonderful day!  I could get used to this whole no class on Wednesday thing.

P.S. Poor Lucky got peed on by another dog today.  Not her best day every. 😦


Getting My Groove On

Hi everybody!  There hasn’t been too much going on now that things have settled down a bit, hence the not posting something everyday.  On Sunday I went to Immigration to get my Danish Residency Permit so that I can stay and come back to the country from my study tours in Hamburg, Berlin, and Poznan.  Pretty important stuff!  While I was waiting for the S-tog, there was an announcement.  Of course I didn’t understand it, and now I always get worried when there are announcements because of my last experience.  A lady sitting next to me on a bench asked me what was said.  There was no way I could help her and I told her that I don’t know any Danish!  It turns out that she is an English teacher in Jutland, so her English was very good!  It took me a while to realize that being an English teacher here is not the same as being an English teacher in the U.S.  I was really proud of myself because I got to talk to a Dane.  We had a nice conversation on the train as well.  She was curious about why I was here, what I would be studying, and she told me all of the sites I need to see.

They took us to Immigration via bus, which was nice.  The only thing was that I got lost trying to get to our meeting place! I thought I knew where it was, but I am terrible with directions and maps, so it took a while.  Thankfully, I planned ahead and gave myself some time to find the place, and I got to the bus just in time!  Once we got there, the I was told to go to counter 12 or 13 for biometrics.  I just walked straight up there completely oblivious to the long line of other DIS students waiting for their turn.  Oops!  The line was super slow because the two machines they were using both broke, making the wait even longer.  Once that was over, they didn’t provide us busing back to where they picked us up, so I walked with a girl I had just met all the way back for about 20 minutes.  It was sprinkling a little, but the view of the canals made it all better. 🙂  Then I did homework.  One of my readings was only 6 pages, so that was wonderful!  Definitely not a reading assignment from Carleton.

I was still a little paranoid about riding on the S-tog since my last incidence, but Jessica and I left early again for class on Monday to make it there on time!  The train didn’t make any unexpected stops and we still had time to spare!  First I had The Social Brain.  I think that it is a very interesting subject.  Since I took Cognitive Processes at Carleton, I have a pretty solid background, which is helpful!  Our prof puts a lot of things in her powerpoint though, so it’s hard to figure out what we actually need to know when it comes to exam time.  I hope that becomes more clear as the term goes on.  Holocaust and Genocide is also a very interesting course.  We talked about the 8 Stages of Genocide and the UN Convention Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide from 1948 (my 6 pages of reading!).  The 8 Stages are a bit too ideological, but it’s a helpful way to understand genocide.  It’s a rough topic, but my prof seems to be very knowledgeable.  I’m looking forward to learning more!  That class got done with a half hour to spare.  I hope I don’t get used to being done early because last time he let us out with about an hour left!

I really like getting out at 1 because then I have time to explore more, or just go home.  After class, Jessica and our friends Nikki and Dylan went to eat our packed lunches in Gammeltorv again, one of the squares in the city.  Nikki doesn’t like pigeons, so it was entertaining to watch her try to shoo the pigeons away while we were eating.  I made a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  You probably don’t care, but while I was making it, I realized that the creamy peanut butter here actually has nuts in it!  Not so much creamy, but still yummy!  Then we went to a bakery that had a student discount!  You have to make sure you ask for the student discount, because even if you come in a group of your fellow students, if you don’t ask, no discount.  I had a Danish Dream Cake, or Drømmekage.  It’s basically a buttery cake with a brown sugar and coconut topping.  So good!  After that, I walked around the city with Jessica because she didn’t have another class until 4.  After about an hour, I decided to go home to do some homework!  I love coming home early because then Lucky and Maysi are there to greet me. 🙂

Hi puppies!

Today was my first day of Biology of Marine Mammals!  Unfortunately the class starts at 8:30 in the morning, which means I have to leave the house by 7:35ish to get there on time.  But, that’s ok, because I love all of the aminals! 😛  We talked a lot about the taxonomy and different orders the mammals were in today.  I hope we don’t spend too much time on that, because I find it to be a bit boring.  It’s fundamental for the rest of the course, but still kind of dull.  And, I actually got to stay at my class The Enemy Within for the WHOLE time.  I don’t know very much about the Cold War, and it seems very interesting so far!  In Human Health and Disease we learned about interviewing patients because we’re going to have to do that for the class!  It’s pretty straight forward, but it’s different to hear about it and then actually do it.  We will see!

Now that I know my way around to my classes, I feel a lot more comfortable in the city and commuting to the hospital.  I’m never lived in a city before, so this has been a new experience!  I can get used to being able to go into stores between classes though!

Having my camera out all the time doesn’t make me look like a tourist, right?

After breakfast yesterday morning, Jessica and I left with our host parents to tour some of Copenhagen!  Our first stop was at The Little Mermaid based off of the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale.  Everyone who told me about it before said that it was not very exciting, so I had low expectations.  It was bigger than I thought it would be though!  There were so many tourists there and it was a bit difficult to try and get a good picture of the statue without anybody in it.  Apparently she has been decapitated twice.  Poor Little Mermaid!  The statue was restored both times and moved further out into the harbor to prevent that from happening again.  I hope that she can keep her third head on for a while now.  We walked around a military area after that but I can’t remember the name of it.  It was very close to The Little Mermaid Statue which is in Langelinie.

The Little Mermaid!

Jessica and I at the military area.

Our next stop was Christiania, which is a very different part of Copenhagen.  It has about 1,000 residents and kind of runs on a collective anarchy.  In 1971 the area was occupied by squatters and has been able to run on its own even since.  It’s very artsy and hippie like.  What happens in the area just depends on what the residents want to happen, and they don’t pay any taxes like everybody else in Copenhagen.  I think it’s amazing that they have been able to keep the land for themselves for this long without any autonomy.  It is a very popular tourist attraction, so that may be one of the reasons why it has been allowed to stay.  They make and smoke marijuana in Christiania, and they do not allow pictures.  I’m sure if you look it up though, you will find some.  There are also many dogs that roam around the area.  Karin was telling me that a veterinarian actually takes care of them all, so that made me very happy. 🙂

Our final stop was at a Church called Grundtvig’s Church.  It was so beautiful!  Karin and Steen might be taking Jessica and I to a concert there on Wednesday, so that should be fun!

Outside Grundtvig’s Church

Inside Grundtvig’s Church!

After dinner we took a walk in the woods with the dogs.  Karin took us up a very narrow path to show us some wooden sculptures that artists had put there.  We would not have known about them without her!  They were wooden sculptures of naked families.  I took a very unfortunate picture of Jessica.  Oops!  We also saw a group of people in their Live Action Role Playing (LARP) costumes.  I heard that it is very popular here so maybe I’ll get to see it in action soon!

This morning after breakfast Karin, Steen, Jessica, and I went to play tennis at their local tennis club.  I haven’t played tennis for about two years so I was a little rusty.  I thought I was going to be so terrible!  But, I kept getting better the more we played.  I could still use a lot of practice though!  Steen was my doubles partner while Jessica played with Karin.  We lost 6-3, 3-2 (we didn’t have time to finish the whole set), but there were some pretty close games!  I hope we get to play again soon because I’ve forgotten how much I love playing tennis!

Me and my wonderful doubles partner Steen!

Now I am about to leave for Immigration so that I can get my residence permit for being here (important stuff!) and then it’s time for homework.  Oh joy. 😛

Coping in Copenhagen

I’m just keeping a running list about living in Copenhagen for all to see! I tend to exaggerate a bit.

1. Never walk in a bike lane because you will die.

2. Do not cross the zebra crossing aka cross walk until the light is green even if you do not see any cars coming. You’ll look like an arrogant fool because you very rarely see people here jaywalking.

3. Always carry an umbrella, raincoat, and sunglasses with you. You never know what is going to happen! I was told that if it rains in the morning it will be beautiful in the afternoon and vice versa. One morning it was pouring rain so Jessica and I wore our rainboots. The rest of the day was simply gorgeous and we ended up trudging around the whole day with our heavy boots.

4. Get used to eating rye bread! I think that it is pretty good, but it is not for everybody.

Typical Danish rye bread

5. Living in Copenhagen is quite expensive. It is wise to pack a lunch instead of having to go out to eat all the time when you’re in the city. I saw a raincoat in the U.S. for $80. I found the same raincoat here, and it was equivalent to $125!

6. Take short showers. Energy is very expensive, so Danes take very short showers. In my orientation, they recommended taking 5 minute showers. If I can do it, you can do it.

7. Danes can be very sarcastic and have dark humor. I find sarcasm to be pretty funny, but if there is any dark humor, you and I will probably not understand it.

8. From what I have seen, Danes are very healthy! I have been eating a lot of oats, but I like it.

9. People are very quite on the public transportation. I’ve only seen people talk if they come on the S-tog with someone they know, or if they are on their phones. The S-tog is usually very quiet in the mornings. If you are talking, you seem weird unless you are the super adorable kitten that was on the S-tog. But you’re probably not a cat if you are reading this.

10. Danish words with another meaning in English (Danish – English):
killing – kitten
slut – end

11. You don’t wear sweatpants when you go out unless you are hungover and just want ice cream (according to one Dane). But really, I haven’t seen people wearing sweatpants in public.

12. If you are not blond, you might want to consider changing that. I know I have.

13. The only shoes you are allowed to wear are Converse, Toms, or Nike shoes.

14. If you’re a girl, putting your hair in a top knot or a high bun is a must. I love it because that’s always what I do with my hair anyway when I just don’t care.

A typical top knot. Too bad mine never look this good.

15. Your closet must be all black. If it’s not, throw everything else away and go shopping pronto.

16. Danes love watching reruns of the old 90210. Good thing I’ve never seen an episode of that show in my life.

17. Large chunky scarves are a must.

18. Be as tall as you can be.

19. If you are a Danish child, you are automatically adorable.

20. If you are invited to an event on Facebook, you either join it or decline it. Never ever ever click maybe. Just don’t do it.

Planning Ahead…

Well folks, yesterday was my second first day of school and it was definitely more stressful than it needed to be!  Normally I would have a class on Friday at 8:30, but we don’t start that class until Tuesday.  Therefore, I ended up going with Jessica into the city since we both had a 11:40 class.  We left the house at 10:40 because we thought that would give us about 10 minutes to actually find our classes.  However, a couple of stops before my stop at Nørreport, we heard a bunch of Danish being spoken over the loudspeaker and had no clue what was going on.  A a little bit later, the train just stopped for about 5 minutes.  This has never happened to me yet, so I was a little worried, but we started moving again, so I thought it would be alright.  However, the train stopped again!  This time it was for a good 15-20 minutes in a tunnel right before my stop!  I was watching the clock on the train go from 11:30 to 11:33 to 11:37, and finally 11:40.  I was officially late for my first day of The Enemy Within, and I still needed to actually find the class once we got into the city!  The train didn’t actually start moving again until 11:47, and very stressed just watching the class and standing at the exit so I could get off as soon as possible.  When the doors finally opened, Jessica and I just ran out of the station like crazy people.  I looked frantically for my class once I got to the correct street.  At least I knew it was at Nørregade 7-A23 and I had my map handy.  Some other DIS students who were on the same train told me that they knew exactly where my room was and that they were headed in that direction.  I followed them for a bit, but the had misheard me and were actually going to Vestergade 7.  Luckily I figured this out pretty quickly and ran back to the correct street.  I saw a sign overhead for Nørregade 7-B, but I couldn’t find A for the life of me!  I asked a couple of Danes on the street, but they looked just as confused as me when I asked them about finding A.  I eventually just went inside B because I had no idea where else to go at that point.  It turns out that 7-A was actually at one of the top floors once I got into 7-B.  I was flustered because I had to get my Student ID card to get into the DIS area of the building that was not completely DIS classrooms and such like my other ones have been, and I finally burst into the DIS area and asked the first person I saw where my classroom was.  I walked into class a couple of minutes past noon trying to be as inconspicuous and quite as possible.  I sat down, got my notebook and pencil out, and was trying my very best to calm down.  I cannot stress enough how flustered I was!  The worst part was that as soon as I sat down and was ready to go, class was over!  We got done early, so I basically missed everything and did not get to meet any of my classmates!  After class, I went straight up to my professor and apologized for being late and missing all of class.  I told him about the unfortunate train ride and that the reason why the trains were running late was because somebody had tried walking in front of one of the trains to commit suicide. 😦  He was very understanding and said I did not miss anything.  He even told me that he had to ask an intern where the class was because he had no idea himself!  I felt a little better, but I was still upset about being late.

I had a little time before my Human Health and Disease class was meeting in a DIS courtyard to figure out how to get to our hospital.  I walked around Copenhagen for a bit so that I could figure out where all the streets were by myself.  I feel a lot better about finding my way around now.  It doesn’t seem very difficult because the city area, especially the area where all the DIS classes are, is actually smaller than I thought it was.  I do want to navigate further into the city soon though!  I then walked around Strøget to kill some more time.  Strøget is the main shopping area in Copenhagen and is the world’s longest pedestrian street.  It is about 1.1 km in length and stretches from the City Hall to King’s Square.  I walked into H&M again, along with a lot of cool and decently priced stores that we don’t have in the U.S.  I haven’t done any shopping yet because I want to see where I can get the best deal, but it is always fun to just look around!

It was then time to head back to the courtyard to meet my Human Health and Disease Class.  We left at 1:35 even though we were missing two people and headed to the metro.  I felt a little sick on the metro, but I think I have just been dehydrated.  I felt a lot better once we got off the metro and were able to walk around.  The hospital I will be having class at is called Bispebjerg Hospital and it is only 12.5 km away from my home in Virum.  This is great because class goes from 2:30 to 4:30 (this is my latest class) and then I can just jump on the S-tog and head home.  The hospital is absolutely gorgeous!

Bispebjerg Hospital

This is the first time DIS is using Bispebjerg Hospital for a section of Human Health and Disease, but one of the doctors, Dr. Peter Nørregaard, has been with DIS since 2004, so I am not worried.  Peter is the chief physician of the Department of Endocrinology and Gastroenterology.  The other doctor was a little bit late to class because he was on call until 3!  His name is Dr. Rahim Naimi and he just started with DIS.  He also works in the Department of Endocrinology and Gastroenterology.  Class was more of the introducing yourself to your classmates and getting to know the teachers, so we did not do a whole lot, but it is good information to know!  We will be doing a lot of hands on stuff like practicing our suture skills on sponges, putting in iv’s, and practicing putting catheters in phantoms.  It should be interesting!  The only departments the hospital does not have are gynecology and pediatrics.  I am still pretty confused on how their system works, but Dr. Naimi said he will be teaching it to us in depth on Tuesday.

A few girls I met headed back into the city after class.  One of the girls and I went back to the shopping street Strøget again until we had our Medical Practice and Policy (MPP) social at 6.  She bought a couple of things, but I didn’t!  Then we headed to the social.  They had a spread of fruit, crackers, really really tasty brie cheese, and different wines which I knew nothing about.  I think I had too much cheese….We also had to do more of the ice breaker introduction stuff at the social where we did 2 minute speed dating maybe three or four times.  My voice hurt after trying to talk really loudly over all of the students talking at the same time.  Loud Americans. 😛

We were still hungry after the social since it was not actually dinner, so a bunch of us Carleton students tried finding a place to eat after the social.  As we were wandering around, we can across the Copenhagen art festival.  There was a ring of fire that I got to run through which was pretty cool!  There were also random doors everywhere, and a band playing with a a gorilla suit drummer.  It was quite entertaining.  However, we did not find any food so we kept on walking after that.  Eventually, Jessica, Annie (another Carleton girl) and I dropped off from the big group at The Falafel House because we did not want to walk any further.  We got a bite to eat and then at 9 we met at the Studenterhuset because we had a planned a Carleton student meeting.  There are a ton of us here.  At the MPP social, everyone I met not from Carleton commented on how many of us there are here!  They said that there was always one of us in their classes!  I finally got to catch up with my friend Loren at Studenterhuset and she showed us where she was living in the city.  DIS has a Culinary House, and her room and kitchen is amazing!

Today our host family is taking us into the city to explore!  We’re about to have breakfast (more pastries!), so bye for now!


The breakfast table this morning. 🙂

Jeg hedder Sameera


At the canal!

Hej my friends!  In case you’re wondering, the title of this blog is just saying “Hello, I’m Sameera.”  I cannot get over how much I love Copenhagen.  I can’t wait to explore the rest of the country and more while I am here!  First I need to tell everybody about the Amazing Race!  On Wednesday, a small group of us were given different destinations to visit around Copenhagen with DIS professors at each stop to inform us about the sites we were seeing.  Jessica and I were in the same group with three other students, and we walked around Copenhagen to see the Royal Palace, Parliament, Black Diamond, and the Church of Our Saviour in Christianshavn.  Apparently Christianshavn is a hot spot in Copenhagen, so I look forward to going there again!.  We stopped to take a ton of pictures, so even though we had three and a half hours to reach all of your stops, we did not reach Nyhavn.  I guess I’ll just have to go there sometime later!  The architecture is just so beautiful in Denmark, it is hard not to stop and appreciate it.  Christian IV of Denmark is responsible for a lot of the architecture here.  One of the professors at our stop at Parliament told us that if somebody asks us who was responsible for one of the buildings, we should just say Christian IV, because we have a 90% chance of being correct.  They had free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate at a couple of the stops.  Since I have never had coffee, I opted for the hot chocolate.  It was frothy and delicious!  They even had free danishes, or wienerbrød at the Studenterhuset, or Student House.  However, we went after the big group meeting we had after finishing the Amazing Race, and the wienerbrød was all gone!  I was so disappointed that I did not get to try my first Danish danish.  Even more so because it was free.  If you didn’t know this already, it is pretty expensive to live in Denmark.  But, I am really happy to be here!   After dinner last night, Jessica, Karin, Steen, and I took a short walk around the neighborhood with the dogs.  After that I showed our host parents a bunch of pictures!  Of course I showed them my cat Booker first.  I also showed them family pictures from India so that they could see what India is like as well as many of my family members.

Yesterday was Kristine’s last day home before leaving to study in Jutland, so we had a big dinner with many people!  I met Karin’s father for the first time, Kristine’s eldest brother Søren, and his girlfriend Oda.  Also, Steen had a friend who’s son was hitchhiking with his girlfriend from Norway.  They wanted a place to stay and now they are here with us!  It was fun to hear about their adventures.  For dessert Karin’s father made some more delicious bread for us.  They called it “moist bread” because it had a chocolatey center, and I thought that was a funny way to refer to it since I know some people who don’t really like the word moist.  If you’re one of those people though, don’t worry about it because Oda thinks it’s a strange word too.  Apparently the last time he made this bread was two years ago for Søren’s birthday.  I’m honored that I was able to try a piece of it since he only makes it once every two years!  We spent so much time talking and hearing their stories that I did not want to leave to do my readings for the first day of school.  Don’t worry though!  It got done. 🙂

Our group for The Amazing Race at The Royal Palace.

Christiansborg Palace has the Parliament, Supreme Court, and Prime Minister’s office. There have actually been three such buildings. The first and second Christiansborg Castles burned down.

Today was my first day of school!  This morning was a little crazy.  We had breakfast with our host parents, Kristine, and the two hitchhikers.  Although it was not a danish, I did have my first danish pastry at breakfast!  Yum!  We had to say goodbye to Kristine before we left for the S-tog because she was leaving to study in Jutland.  After that, Jessica and I showed the hitchhikers the way to the train station since we had to go there as well to get to our classes.  We did not ride the train with them though because they had to buy their tickets, and if we did not get on the S-tog that came shortly after they left to buy their tickets, we would have been late for our first class!  It’s a good thing they did not get on that train though, because a conductor came by to check everyone’s tickets!

Jessica and I got to class just in time!  But, I think I’ve forgotten how to go to school.  I’ve been enjoying exploring Copenhagen so much that I forgot about the study part of study abroad.  😛  My first two classes were The Social Brain and Holocaust and Genocide, and they were back to back.  Each class is one hour and twenty minutes long.  After spending about 20 minutes with introductions in The Social Brain, our professor said that we would take a short five minute break.  That seemed strange to me because we did not learn any dense material or anything, but whatever!  And then in Holocaust and Genocide, the class ended up being only 20 minutes long!  My professor Torben apologized for his “parody of English,” but his English, and this goes for every Dane I have met so far, is very good!  I’m embarrassed that I do not know their language as well as they know ours.  After class, Jessica and I met up along with our friend Dylan and got sandwiches at a place called Sandwich Pigeon.  They give DIS students discounts, and everybody in line there seemed to be a DIS student!  We took our sandwiches to a square and had lunch on the steps.  Then I went to a bookstore to buy a few more notebooks and folders.  Jessica and I decided to go home early because we were both pretty tired.  I kept nodding off on the S-tog.  I am afraid I’ll miss my stop sometime when I’m on it by myself!  One thing that kept me up this time was when we stopped at Lyngby on our way home.  All of a sudden it just started pouring rain and it seemed to come out of nowhere!  And when we left the station, it just stopped!  That was the shortest rainfall I’ve ever seen in my life.  Let’s hope not I don’t need to rely on the rain to stay awake on the train (I’m so poetic :P).  I have my next round of classes tomorrow, so I will be taking The Enemy Within and Human Health and Disease.  I would normally have Biology of Marine Mammals too, but that class does not start until the 28th.  Wish me luck!

My first Danish pastry.

We’re not racist, we just think it’s funny! :D

Denmark is just so beautiful!  I know that I have only been here for 3 days now, but I am completely in love with the country.  Sleeping was a bit difficult the first night.  I ended up going to bed at midnight simply because I did not feel sleepy, and then woke up at 3:50 and could not go back to sleep.  But, I slept really well last night, so I think I’m pretty well adjusted to the time difference now.  I actually overslept a bit because my alarm on my iPad was not very loud at all.  Jessica ended up coming down to my room and woke me up.  Thank goodness!  Now that I have my cell phone figured out, I think I’ll try that alarm instead.  I don’t want to be late for class!

We have finished two of our three days of orientation so far.  Since Steen was Karin were so good about showing us how to get to the S-tog, or train, Jessica and I did not have any trouble finding it on our own.  Danes do not really talk on the trains, so it is always very quiet.  The only time I’ve heard them talking so far is if they come on with a friend, or if they are on the phone.  And even then, it is only a few people!  The S-tog even has designated quiet sections.  A lot of people use it if they have work to do as well as a long commute.  There are no conductors on the S-tog either.  It is a very fast and efficient way to get around, and so very clean!  I’m quite impressed.

On the first day, August 20, we had the Opening Ceremony from 9:00-10:30.  There are a total of 1009 DIS students, so there were a lot of students in The Royal Danish Academy of Music.  The speakers included Anders Larsen, the DIS Housing & Cultural Immersion Coordinator, Anna Mee Allerslev, the Mayor for Employment & Integration, and Anders Uhrskov, the Director of DIS.  They basically welcomed us to the county and talked a bit about the culture and going to school here.  After that, we split up into groups for our various orientation talks.  Jessica and I are in the same small groups, and we met up with another girl, Annie, who goes to Carleton as well.  Annie introduced us to someone she had met while here, Drew, so we’ve all been hanging out since we all basically have the same schedule.  We got a bit lost trying to find our next destination in Nørreport so that we could get to our orientation on How to Make Copenhagen Your Home.  It was really funny to see all of the students with their black DIS backpacks and their Copenhagen Arrival Workshop schedules trying to use the map to find their orientations.  You could definitely tell that the foreigners had arrived!  The map was not very helpful because it didn’t have all of the streets on it, but we eventually found our way.

At our first orientation, Emily the housing coordinator talked to us about how to live with our host families and how expensive living in Denmark can be.  A normal cup of coffee is probably around $20, yikes!  Good thing I’ve never tried coffee before!  Then we split into groups.  My group was assigned to go around Copenhagen looking for prices of coffee and pastries, as well as keeping an eye out for student discounts, at a few different coffee shops.  It was a good way to explore the area.  It was a bit odd going into the stores with a group of people and not buying anything when a lot of the workers were asking us what we wanted in Danish and we just wanted prices, but I suppose they can deal. 😛  We also picked up our textbooks at the end of they day.  They gave us huge black bags to put them in, which was really helpful.  But, again, they made us stick out like a sore thumb.  I felt like I should have had a big lighted arrow sign pointing at me saying FOREIGNER!

The absolutely huge DIS bag given to us after we picked up our text books.

Today we had our orientation with the Housing & Student Affairs Department.  They talked to us about the many immersion programs DIS offers, like the Danish Buddy Network (which I think I want to do!) an sports.  They also explained how to fill out our Residency Permit Application Form.  That will be very important!  After our lunch break, we met again and a Danish student, Laura, began the talk by asking us what stereotypes we think the Danes have of Americans.  Some of the responses included loud, arrogant, and fat.  Laura basically agreed that we had come up with a lot of the stereotypes Danes have of us.  😛  Then she asked us we thought about the Danes.  People said that they were tall with blond hair, and quiet or more reserved.  Laura also explained to us that Danes use a lot of dark humor, and not even to bother trying to understand it, because we wouldn’t.  She also commented that Danes sometimes make racial jokes, but that “we’re not racist, we just think it’s funny!”  I think that their sarcasm is pretty funny too, especially if most Danes are like Laura, so that shouldn’t be a problem to get used to.  One other thing she told us is that Danes use a lot of emoticons in text messages here.  She said that she could easily put in three emoticons in a short text!  After that, we had about three or four hours until our next talk on Travelling with DIS.  Jessica, Annie, Drew, and I decided to look around for school supplies.  We wanted to go to a store called Tiger on Monday, and we knew that we had seen it before, but it was a really hot day (one of the hottest this summer in Denmark!) and we were all tired, so we eventually gave up.  The funny thing was that today, we found it without a problem, and in an area that we had definitely passed by while trying to find the Tiger store again.  Oops!  Tiger is a really cute store and it’s pretty inexpensive.  I found a notebook and a little journal to use as my planner, as well as some soap and lotion since I didn’t not pack any of those.  Together the cost was 62 DKK.  That is equivalent to $10.38.  It would have only been 60, but when the cashier asked if I wanted a bag, I said yes.  I didn’t realize that it cost extra for a bag!  At least I’ve learned my lesson!  And, 2 DKK is only about 33 cents, so not the hugest mistake I could have made!  Since we still had a lot of time to kill, we decided on venturing through the H&M in Copenhagen.  IT IS HUGE!  We went up the stairs, thinking that that was it, but there were more stairs as we went further and further into the store.  It never ended!  I did not buy anything, but I will definitely make a trip back there later!  Even with all of the time we spent in H&M, there was still more time to waste before the next orientation meeting.  We then wandered through an Urban Outfitters and just around the area, but we were pretty tired.  We eventually had our orientation on Study Tours and Adventure Trips, which got me very excited about rock climbing in Sweden and biking in Bornholm, among other trips!

Tomorrow is our last day of orientation where I will explore Copenhagen in the “Amazing Race,” have my Academic Program Orientation, and finally, the Activities and Immersion Fair.  I am really looking forward to seeing what programs DIS has to offer!