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The End of Lectures

DENMARK | Monday, 29 October 2007 | Views [998]

Valerie, me, and my roommate Eli dressed up for the International Kollegium's Halloween party.

Valerie, me, and my roommate Eli dressed up for the International Kollegium's Halloween party.

Studying in Denmark provides me with many firsts. Aside from the obvious, one example is that it is my first time studying on the semester schedule. I have attended three rather different schools within the last five years but they have always operated under the quarter system. One major difference between Aalborg University and many other semester -abiding institutions is that while you might be registered for 22 weeks, the actual lessons only take place within the first eight or nine weeks.

So here I am, entering the ninth week of the Fall 2007 semester at AAU and by Thursday I will have finished eight out of the eleven courses I started. The last three classes are something of stragglers and I'm not even technically following one. Once you finish the lectures, the rest of the term is spent devoted to project work.

I have decided to follow the Market and Consumption stream under the general Globalization and Managing Multiculturalism umbrella in the CCG program. I am part of international all-girl group comprising of myself (an American), a Pole, and two Romanians. We are still in the early stages of the problem-formulation but we are eager to look at fair trade, particularly the impacts of mainstreaming it and how that affects the original concept. I am pleased with the group dynamics as of yet and hope to end up with a result to be proud of. We have seven weeks from now to complete the written project and we will be orally supporting and defending our work in front of our supervisor and a censor at the end of January.

October's been a nice month here in Aalborg. There was an autumn holiday the week after my last post - something I hadn't taken into consideration when I went shopping on my free Monday. I like Mondays because it's quiet and not very crowded. On this particular Monday I found myself overwhelmed by the crowds and the noise. Normal shoppers are tolerable but there was an awesome number of children out. While a large number of international students had the week free, the CCG program continued on uninterrupted. I enjoyed a nice Oktoberfest party with some friends on Thursday - taking full advantage of my first Friday without classes! There was another Sangria party on Friday. There is a complex near my place that has a large number of PhD students living there and they seem to have sangria parties at least once a month. This was in fact my third in their common room. They tend to be pretty fun and not overly crowded. Jagoda's twin sister and Hungarian friend were in town for the weekend so we went out for a bit. I enjoyed a fabulous home-cooked lunch of carrot soup and baked salmon cooked by my friend Nerius on Saturday. I stayed in Saturday night but went out for drinks on Sunday with Jagoda and the girls. I really prefer the small gatherings of friends over the loud parties and going out to the street.

There were a couple more firsts last week alone (although some Aalborg specific). On Tuesday I went to my first Danish hockey game! I bought tickets downtown and met up with two international friends and a Dane and walked over to the hockey arena near campus. It was Aalborg (AAB) vs. Fredrikshavn. As the two teams from North Jutland, they have a long standing rivalry and it was easy to tell just how much they dislike each other from the chants of the crowd. Most were harmless enough, telling them to "Go home and fish" or that "All is quiet in the harbor" while others were more along the lines of "We go to Fredrikshavn because the girls are cheaper" (but in even less polite language). Our Danish friend was reluctant to translate such jeers for us. Regardless, AAB won 6:3 and there were 3,500 people in attendance. You could see the pressure growing as the game went on and the players grew increasingly short-tempered and violent. I had a blast and hope to see a play-off game later in the season. It was interesting to note the differences between the American/Canadian game I saw a few years ago and this one. For one, European ice arenas are bigger. Another is that the refs seemed to be much more involved in keeping the players apart. The sportsmanship of the crowd was also a bit different, but that could be because Seattle isn't a big hockey town. It was a fun game regardless.

Another first involved my roommates. I live with two Spanish girls and a large number of their Spanish friends live on the other side of downtown at Luna Kollegium and they're always having parties. I finally discovered where Luna is and what a party there entails. I was lucky enough to try a typical Basque drink as well. The university had it's own Oktoberfest on Friday and I was invited to a Bavarian-style breakfast beforehand at Julia's. That night I went to my first real halloween party! I dressed up as a Sailor Moon-esque character. It was quite a challenge to come up with an idea without spending money or ruining any clothes! I managed to do just that though... the only thing harmed in the process was a pillowcase I didn't need. I also got to hang out with my roommates, but apparently we arrived late because a number of people were already drunk and gone! What a shame. On Saturday I went to another halloween party downtown, thrown by the Erasmus Student Network on campus. It started off really slow (we were told to hurry and bring people because after two hours there were only five people) but ended up being quite crowded and I had a fantastic time. It wasn't really such a halloween party, apart from the decorations. I donned some flaming eyelashes and a bobble headband though, both of which where very popular. I also took my camera and actually took quite a few pictures for once.

This week seemed as if it would be quiet, regarding the fact that I only had two lectures scheduled. As it turns out though, I've managed to fill up Monday through Thursday with guest lectures, career center workshops, and meetings. Today I attended the lecture of newly appointed adjunct professor James Lull from San Jose State University. It was kind of a nice change to listen to a liberal West coaster. He was talking about global communication in the modern world and it was interesting. I was also on campus to help one of my roommates - I volunteered to be a subject for her thesis experiments. Fortunately all I had to do was wear some tights, let her tape sensors all over my foot and then walk up and down the hall half a dozen times. Not too much to offer in the name of science!

This Saturday is the second Danish language bath, preparing us for our final next week. One of my Spanish roommates will also have six guests staying with her this weekend. And in theory, my online friend who lives in Copenhagen will be visiting Aalborg this weekend as well. Could be an awful lot of fun...

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