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Happy Labor Day!

DENMARK | Tuesday, 4 September 2007 | Views [874]

Looking north at the last bit of Denmark's east coast.

Looking north at the last bit of Denmark's east coast.

In honor of labor day, I spent my day hearing about all the labor I will be doing in the next six months. I'll summarize; I will be officially taking nine classes this semester, while attending up to four more plus extra guest lectures. I will be in the classroom about 18 hours each week (for the official classes only), including an eight-hour day on Wednesdays.

Aalborg University is a bit different than other universities, and drastically different from a lot of universities. As students, we take part in "problem-based learning" because you don't learn a whole lot from lectures and theory. I strongly feel that my time at Portland State University, specifically the completion of a senior capstone, was the best preparation for this experience. The advantage of being a degree student is that I am essentially allowed to pick and choose what I want to do. The program has made only two classes a requirement; this semester they are "Globalisation" and "Managing Multiculturalism," which is the central theme for the term. From there I control my education. Of course, as a new student, both to Aalborg and globalisation, I am going to be taking quite a few classes that are for my success and not a grade. This includes Aalborg essentials such as the project writing workshop and academic communication course.

To help increase my knowledge base for the classes offered in this program I am also taking "Intercultural Communication" and "Society, Politics, and Internationalism." To avoid an unnecessary test, I will be attending the "Philosophy of Science and Methodology" course as well. From there I was free to choose two elective-like classes from a list of six. I have chosen to follow the Marketing and Consumption stream, although I am not binding myself to that choice. I plan on attending quite a few other classes that are being offered out of curiousity and interest. I won't have to purchase the books, there is no obligation to come (this is college after all), and I won't take an exam in these subjects. At least one class has guest lecturers coming that I would like to observe, but I won't be going to the class otherwise.

This schedule sounds absolutely off the wall. I spent quite a lot of time today trying to get my head around everything. It doesn't help that there are exceptions, mid-semester room changes, and special dates to remember for at least half of the classes! The important thing to realize is 99% of the courses are only once a week, for just under two hours. Most will last about eight weeks, some are only four. The rest of the term will be devoted (by my own accord) to working on my "projects" and preparing for exams.

Before all this craziness began I managed to sneak out of Aalborg for a day trip on Sunday. I went with Masoud to Skagen (pronounced Skane), which is the northernmost city in Denmark. Three kilometers from the city center you can visit the beach (called Grenen) that makes up the northernmost point of Denmark! This means that it is the start of both the east and west coastlines, but more importantly it is where the seas meet. A fantastic sight - the North Sea from the left and the Baltic Sea from the right - waves come rolling towards each other crashing head-first in front of you as far as the eye can see. Skagen has long-been a community of artists, but also to fisherman. The weather cleared up for the trip and it's only a two hour, two train ride from Aalborg. It was a lovely day with a healthy dose of walking and fresh air. The right way to start a new semester.

Tags: university

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