Short Study Tour to Aarhus and Vejle

After coming back home around 9:30 on Sunday night, I was up bright and early again to leave for my short study tour to Aarhus and Vejle for my Human Health and Disease course.  I had to be in the city by 8 for our Core Course Week Introductory Lecture.  The lecture was on the Danish health care system.  As many people already know, the Danes pay really high taxes.  One of the benefits of this is a universal system with free health care!  The exceptions are that you have to pay for your visits to the dentist once you hit 18 years of age, and partially for your medication.

After the hour lecture, we were off to Aarhus!  It was about a 4 hour bus ride.  Again, I slept a lot of the way there!  On the way we stopped at a place for lunch.  Everyone without dietary restrictions ate fish, and nobody seemed to like it very much!  Good thing I’m a vegetarian! 😛  They just gave me a huge salad and some bread, which I didn’t mind at all. People were telling me that they were jealous of my bread because they didn’t like the fish.  Lucky me!  Our next stop was at Skødstrup Lægepraksis General Practice.  This was probably my favorite visit of the whole trip.  The General Practitioner (GP) was really funny and engaging.  He told us that specialists end up knowing everything about nothing and general practitioners end up knowing nothing about everything.  An interesting viewpoint!  He told us a lot of the same things about the Danish health care system.  Everyone has to go see their GP before they get referred to any specialists.  Denmark focuses a lot on prevention and about 90% of cases end after a visit to the GP.  One of the downsides is the waiting time though.  Since it is a welfare system, the most important cases take the forefront, so if you’re not in such a bad shape, you’ll have to wait a while before you get treated.  My course assistant beat up his leg pretty badly, and they told him not to eat before his surgery, but then they never got to his surgery, so he ended up not eating for 2 or 3 days.  I don’t know if I could do that!  We also got to get up and do “the duck dance” in the middle of his lecture

The next day we had breakfast at the hotel and headed to Skejby Hospital for our next academic visit.  Our first lecture was on experimental heart valve research.  However, the hospital was under construction, so it was really hard to hear our lecturer sometimes!  We also learned a lot about the research sides of the hospitals.  Skejby is combined with the Aarhus Univiersity Hospital, so a lot of students to research there.  Pigs are pretty big when it comes to animal testing.  Apparently there are 5 times as many pigs compared to people here in Denmark!

After that visit we had lunch at a cafe.  They also gave me a huge salad and a bread bowl. Oh well.  Canoeing after lunch definitely made up for that!  I love canoeing, but I don’t do it very often.  It was fun to get on the water and canoe in a beautiful setting.  We got on the bus again after that so that we could be on time for our guided tour of the Jelling Stones.  The Jelling Stones are giant runestones from the 10th century.  The oldest stone from King Gorm the Old in memory of his wife Thyra.  If I can remember correctly, our guide said that Gorm wrote that Thyra was the most beautiful woman in Denmark  on her tombstone, but did not really get along with her while they were together.  Our guide said that Gorm should have told her that sooner.  I’d agree!  We also learned that the stones represent the time period when Denmark was transitioning from following their pagan gods to becoming Christian because the vikings basically didn’t want to be attacked.  The only thing was that becoming Christian meant not stealing or killing for the Vikings.  What’s a Viking to do?  The stones also represent the creation of Denmark as a nation state.

Ready to canoe!  I swear I am wearing shorts.

After that we went to our hostel in Vejle.  I was in a room with 7 other girls!  When we got into the room, I was the first to notice that we had a huge bathroom that was about the same size of the area with all of our bunk beds.  It didn’t seem very rational……especially since the shower wasn’t separated from the toilet and sink, so it seemed quite impossible to have all 8 girls ready by 7 in the morning when only one person could use the bathroom at a time.  Crazy stuff.  I just decided that I would shower once I got home.  We were supposed to go bowling there because there really isn’t anything else to do in that town, but another DIS group stole our lanes. 😦  Instead, our program assistant took us to an ice cream and candy store and we all got free ice cream!  Everybody was getting three scoops of ice cream, so I did too.  Bad idea, but It’s hard to say no to anything free, especially in Denmark!. 😛

Three scoops of delicious free ice cream!

Then came Wednesday!  Our last Academic visit was at the Aarhus PET center & CFIN.  They told us a lot of the same thing about the Danish health care system, some of their PET and CT scanners, as well as their MEG device.  According to the researcher, there are only about 150 MEGs in the world, and the one we saw was the only one in Denmark.  We also saw a pig in a PET scanner which made me sad, but I didn’t want to say anything.  A lot of people had asked previously about what animal welfare is like here, and they do have many regulations, but animal testing still doesn’t make me too happy.

We were all exhausted, but after lunch on our own in Aarhus, we got to visit the ARoS Art Museum.  The museum is divided into 9 spaces which is a reference to Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy and the 9 circles of hell.  We had a guided tour for a little bit and saw some work done by Kaspar Bonnen and Tony Matelli.  I love guided tours in art museums, because otherwise I would not understand anything.  There is also a rainbow panorama on the very top of the museum which was super cool!  When you closed your eyes in the yellow section of it, all you saw was bright purple!  After that visit, it was time to go home.  I’m definitely ready to stay in one place for a little while after non stop traveling for 5 days!

Inside the rainbow panorama!


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