Hello from Denmark, from the land of wind and hygge

I arrived in Odense, Denmark in mid-January just in time to experience the ultimate Danish weather: wind, snow, wind, slush, sun, wind, rain. This also pretty much sums up the weather for the rest of the spring.

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H.C. Andersen taking an icy bath at the Odense harbor.

During those cold and windy (and later on warm and windy) days, most of my time was spend on Erhvervsakademiet Lillebælt (EAL for short) campus and in HC Ørsted Kollegiet dormitory. One thing that sparked my interest when choosing an exchange destination, was that EAL was building a new campus here in Odense just in time for me to come and get all the benefits of the new place. Before the new campus was built, EAL had seven different places all over the city, but now all the different departments are under same roof in a beautiful modern building next to the city center.

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EAL campus

Back at home I’m an ICT engineering student and even though EAL doesn’t offer engineering degrees, they have a comprehensive list of IT modules. I ended up taking on Artificial Intelligence and Web Development courses which meant that I would study with their 4th semester Computer Science students.

The teaching and studying here in Denmark is quite different from how things are back at home. I only had lectures 2 times a week and rest of the time was dedicated to individual studying. Danish educational system emphasize group work from the kindergarten to uni, so even the individual homework was usually performed within a group of classmates. Teaching methods differ from teacher to teacher. The AI teacher preferred giving us more classic lecture, which did however include discussions with students, but the WEB teacher was more of an ”I’m here only to inspire you!” –type of a teacher. He would give us examples of what we could do with a specific topic and then let us do our thing with it. During security lecture he urged us to hack to a website he had created for the day!

Our lectures (and my 6 months in Denmark) we’re fueled by coffee. 9 out of 10 students carry they own coffee thermos and in our dormitory kitchen there are 5 different ways to make coffee! Danes love their coffee and cake. Oh, I will miss Danes and their cake! Every other day there was someone in class who would bring cake to class.

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Onsdagssnegle aka the Wednesday slug. The biggest cinnamon bun I’ve even seen!

And the same thing happened at the Crossfit gym were I spend a lot of my free time. After torturing and sweaty hour of training you could grab a piece of homemade chocolate cake and a cup of coffee for free!

But then again I guess they can eat all the cake since they bike everywhere. No matter the distance, the time of the day or the weather. Even though I’m a Finn, I had never biked in slush and in snow before I came to Denmark. The 8am rush hour in a snowstorm? On a bike? Sure! I felt like a champion after that! Getting a proper bike is a must when in Denmark and I was lucky enough to find a guy who rented good, used bikes to Erasmus students. My bike was rusty and old, but the ride was smooth as dream!

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Bike parking hall in the campus cellar
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My rusty ride

I ended up living in the H.C. Ørsted Kollegiet dormitory, which is a huge student housing complex built in 1970’s. I had my own room and bathroom, but I shared the kitchen with 13 other students. I was so lucky to end up in this particular kitchen, with these lovely people! Most of my roommates were locals so I had the ultimate Danish experience. Cake, coffee and weird Danish humor so full of irony and sarcasm that sometimes I’m wasn’t sure whether they were joking or not. We had common dinner every Monday and there was always someone to chat with and drink coffee with. I must say that for all the things I got to see and experience here, my roommates were the best thing that happened to me.

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Last common dinner with my Danish family. On the background you can see the dormitory building.

 

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