Posts Tagged ‘ uoc: orientation ’

the academic story.

waiting for class to start @ metro annexe, fiolstræde 4-6

So I know that I still have another two days to go for Amsterdam, and also the many adventures that I had traipsing around Northern Sjælland with my parents, but I wanted to write this post before I forgot my first impressions. Also, there are less photos involved, making it easier for me to post, since it’s much easier to write the posts.

Anyway, this was meant to be a post about my classes, because, yes, exchange isn’t all about classes, but they are a part of it and I do have to pass!

Some general things about classes here at KU:
– There is this thing called the academic quarter. If you can’t be bothered to read the wiki link, basically it means that when we start classes on the hour, the actual start time isn’t until quarter past the hour. So in reality, two hour classes are only 1hr 45 long. But wait, There’s more.
– Not only that, but a ‘class’ (or timer, in Danish) is considered to be 45 minutes long. So how does that work out? you ask.  Well, this means that, since most (of my) lectures/seminars are scheduled for 2 hours, then it means 2 classes. Yes, yes, I can hear you. It still doesn’t add up. Basically it means that there is an in-built 15 minute break into each lecture/seminar. Which is great. Just at that point when you are beginning to fall asleep lose concentration… BAM! You get a break! So In reality, a two hour class is only 1.5 hrs.
– As an exchange student, and with limited Danish knowledge, I’m taking Masters level classes in the Law Faculty. This kind of freaked me out at first, but in fact, it hasn’t turned out so bad.
– KU is much like UTS in the sense that there is no one campus, but rather it’s a number of campuses littered across Copenhagen. The Law Faculty is based in the City campus, and is in itself made up of a number of buildings. This has made things a little difficult, most commonly when I’m in the library, which is probably not in the most convenient location, and then I need to run up to Bethesda or Linnésgade, both up and over on the other side of Nørreport Station. Sometimes I don’t quite get the timing right and I walk in sheepishly late. But I think I’m getting the hang of it now. The thing that I have been trying to get used to is the places that they have classes in. I have most of my classes in Metro (as seen in the pic above) but also a couple of lectures in Bethesda (see pic below) which is actually a church that KU rents out, I guess particularly if it’s a large class, as well as the aforementioned Linnésgade.

lectures in bethesda.

Ok. Now to the actual subjects?

  • European and International Commercial Law
    This subject actually started a week before everything else, which was kind of annoying as I didn’t get a break in between the pre-semester Danish class and then starting this class. The course involves 2 lectures and 1 seminar, each of which are 2 1.5 hours long. This gives me more contact hours, and a heck of a lot more reading, but it’s going to be awesome not to have to worry about this subject later in the semester, since I finish up with this on in OCTOBER! It’s a required subject for the local Danish BA students, while us MA students do the same course with additional readings. This makes the lectures quite large, and while the seminars are ok-sized, I still tend to be on the quiet side. Oh well. :P I find it quite interesting though. It’s definitely a stretch, and sometimes I’m feeling a little out of my depth, and while the some of the lecturers in the rotation have been a bit difficult to follow, on the most part they have  been pretty good. I also really like the guy who takes my seminar group. He teaches pretty well and when he explains things it’s like I don’t need to do the readings at all! \o/
  • Comparative Civil Rights Protection: UK and US
    This was definitely one of the subjects that I chose because it actually sounded interesting. This is the first time that it’s been run, so our teacher is not really sure where we’re going with it, but I like the pretty relaxed feel of it. It’s much more familiar dealing with common law concepts that we’re familiar with in Australia, but I think it’s also going to be really informative, and I’m looking forward to it. This class is much smaller, and overrun with Aussies, but it’s a pretty good mix of people and yeah, I’m really enjoying it and I actually don’t mind doing the readings for this class. . :)
  • Introduction to Danish Law
    Ok, so this is probably not the most useful subject to learn, but oh well. This subject feels quite intense. It’s like a crash course on various aspects of Danish law. The thing that is difficult about it is remembering to separate the things that I already know about law at home, and learning how things are different here in Denmark. Again, it’s interesting, but not particularly the most lively content matter. Teacherman tries his best to make up for it though. e.g. strange, strange examples to help us remember certain scenarios and points of law. That and the fact that he brought in a bottle of… something and encouraged everyone to take a shot.

take a shot in intro to danish.

I know for most people, the academic side of exchange is probably not at the forefront, but I think I struggle with not doing well. So I will put in the effort and hopefully do well on all of my 100% finals… I’m really enjoying my classes at the moment though, and I hope that that continues through the rest of the semester. :)

I’m glad, though, that my timetable gives me a free Friday, so if I want to run away for a little bit I can do see. As I did last weekend. :)

So that’s about it, I guess, for classes here at KU.

I will not complain any further about the fail-ness with my student ID. Just know that I still do not have it. :(

As a grand finale, I present to you, Rector Ralf Hemmingsen. He spoke to us at the Matriculation Ceremony (2/9), welcoming us for the 2010/11 academic year. Something about mermaids and their tails and… yeah… something. FYI, the Ceremonial Hall is quite quite pretty inside. :) Just take a look!


rector ralf hemmingsen (and some of the deans)

the ceremonial hall.


some observations about copenhagen.

So I realise that it has been quite a while since I updated, particularly on what life has been like. I’m nearing the one month mark, so I thought I would write a little bit about what I’ve been up to, and a couple of things that I’ve noticed. It’s a pretty dry post in terms of pictures (there is one at the end, I promise!), but more will be coming soon for sure!!

After my first day I wrote up a couple of things that have been sitting in a document on my computer, and I’ve added some more now that I’ve been here a little longer.

  1. Bilka does not stock Skittles. I am not sure if this is a prevalent attitude in Denmark, or if Bilka just has something against Skittles. They have M&Ms aplenty, just not Skittles it seems. (And yes, of course, this is very important.) Good thing I brought one packet from home! I still haven’t found a place that has sold Skittles! :( Thanks to Mum and Dad who are bringing me some more. :)
  2. While Australian powerpoints consist of a little on/off switch that we flick to know whether the powerpoint is on/off, in Copenhagen (and I am assuming throughout the rest of Copenhagen), the switch that serves the same function takes up an entire panel on its own. At first, my inexperience thought that it was in fact a light switch…
  3. Danish pillows are square. While a little bit strange to me, used to my rectangular pillow, and with my rectangular pillow case, this has turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because all of their square pillows are quite soft. Crammed inside my pillow case, and problem solved. The smaller case has ‘densified’ the pillow, making it absolutely perfect.
  4. Something that is not so much an observation, but more a failure of my adjustment skills, is that, as you may be aware, cars on Danish roads drive on the opposite side of the road as to what we Australians are used to. For me and my lack of adaptability thus far, this is has led to a lot of anxiety when crossing the road, even when there are no cars present. The stress of remembering which way to turn my head before I step onto the road will no doubt be my eventual downfall… :P I’m still working on this one! Just today I looked the wrong (right?) way…
  5. I have mentioned this before, but I shall elaborate. The guidebooks made me quite aware how long days were in the summer. However, I was not prepared for the balmy conditions that greeted me. The sun at 5pm is like the sun at 1pm during an Australian summer, altogether quite a nice, yet confusing experience. While the heat is somewhat offset by the breezey-ness, there are no windows in my room and there is only a door that leads out on to the balcony, which we are not meant to leave open, without propping it open wth something. Contrast that with the warning not to put stuff on the balcony, and therein lies a problem. The weather has certainly become more interesting. The past week has been a bit cloudy and rainy. But it’s strange, because there are some moment of sunshine, like this afternoon, after a particularly cloudy and windy day, the sun came out to play for a little while.
  6. THERE ARE WHEELY BASKETS. I think this is genius. Shopping baskets are by no means the most comfortable of things to carry, particularly when it starts to get full. Also, you never usually carry more than one, right? But wheely baskets solve every problem. 1) You don’t ever have to really feel how heavy it is, except that it takes that little bit more effort to pull it along; 2) If you’re a ninja, you could ideally push/pull 2 baskets, giving you more space to load up your shopping. And sometimes you kind of need that!

As for living here, I’m getting quite settled. There are a lot of things that I had to do upon arrival.

  • Registration: Getting your CPR number is pretty much the first thing that you have to do. Everyone in Denmark has one, and a lot of services require you to produce your CPR number.
  • Bank account: I went with Danske Bank, and had to pay 300 kr. Other people have told me that it should be free and what not, but for me, I think it was better to get it done, so that I could get money transferred over. I’m still waiting on my PIN though for my MasterCard, and that is something that I shall be chasing up tomorrow…
  • Moving in: Sure, moving in seems quite simple, but the difficulty is trying to feel at home in a new place. I am going to be living here for almost 6 months, so I have to get a little bit comfortable. It’s strange trying to get used to putting things in the ‘right’ place, and trying to figure out where exactly that right place is. It’s difficult trying to work a washing machine and dryer different from your own, where everything seems to be in Danish. Feeding myself has definitely been an interesting one. A few days go by when I can’t be bothered to try to cook, and I just eat sandwiches. Then some days, I spend a while trying to make something, with the result being 10 minutes worth of eating. As a student, it’s hard to go to the shops and look at things and struggle to decide what is really essential, and what I can do without. What are the things that I can just… figure out another solution for, without having to buy things for it? Yesterday, I changed up the layout of my room, moving my bed and the small table around, because it was just not feeling right. And I have to say, I did a little bit of shopping today, but now I feel like everything is finally in order.
  • KU stuff: I have started Danish classes (more about that later) but we’ve also had our first taste of an orientation. On Monday 9th August we headed over to sit down at a huge Orientation Meeting, seeing (mostly) the entire exchange cohort for the first time all together. They gave us an introduction into all the things that we should be doing as exchange students, as well as an introduction to some of the activities and things that the university offered. While it was somewhat informative, it was information that we probably should have already known, and was readily available already on the international office website anyway. We were also given the chance to pick up our ID cards as well as the invite for the Matriculation Ceremony in September. Invite I got, but my ID card did not appear to be in the pile. When I headed to the Admissions Office today, I was told that it was still not ready. I am apparently waiting on an email to tell me to pick it up…

As I mentioned before, I have started Danish classes! It’s a three week intensive course, 9-12.30 everyday, but it’s been pretty good so far. Danish is definitely a difficult language to learn, both in terms of pronunciation and grammar. Luckily, we have a good teacher, Anna, and she’s pretty patient with our repeatedly horrendous pronunciation. Unfortunately, this does mean having to do homework, which is something that I should be getting onto right now! I’m enjoying it though, and even considering taking it on for the semester… although I can imagine that it could only get more difficult… It’s been a good chance to get to meet people though. My class has quite a number of Aussies, a lot of them from USyd, and pretty much everyone is in their final year, which makes me feel like rather a young’un. Also, a number of people from my class actually live at the same kollegiet as I do, at Signalhuset, so that’s kind of cool too. :)

Anyway, while I could launch into an essay about the composition of our class (in Danish too, if you’d like!), I really should get on to looking at infinitive and present tenses… >< Wish me luck!

københavns universitet, city campus, main hall at frue plads.

As the Danish say, hej hej!
Which actually means bye.
Even though hej means hello.
I did say it was difficult, didn’t I? :)