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!
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!