Directly translated, that means “Hello from Denmark”
If you are my Facebook friend and/or have been following me on Twitter, you will know that I have left my beloved Toronto behind and moved to Aarhus, Denmark, to start my Masters degree. I am getting my MA in Journalism, Media & Globalization with a specialization in Business & Finance Journalism. This course is one of the Erasmus Mundus programs and is taught over two years. I’ll be spending the first year in Aarhus, Denmark and moving to one of my favourite cities, London, for my specialism year. Some of my other classmates will be specializing in different fields of interest: war and conflict (Swansea), EU politics (Amsterdam) and reporting on cultures (Hamburg).
At last count, there are 45 nationalities that make up this program. You are probably wondering, “That sounds just like a Toronto classroom.” Well… that’s sort of correct. I loved living and studying in Toronto because of the diverse backgrounds students came from.
But, my masters is going to be a very diverse Toronto classroom on steroids.
At least everyone in Toronto was Canadian. While, they represented a plethora of cultures and values, the Canadian identity resonated throughout the class.
Now, I have the important job of representing Canadian ideas and values in group discussions at the masters level. I share this responsibility with three other Canadian ladies (one of them from Ryerson!) who are also in the program.
My first official lecture is tomorrow, but from the two days of introductions and orientations we have been having, I can safely say this: my program is going to be challenging, demanding, but also really interesting.
The name of my house is Rødkløvervej. Go ahead… try and pronounce that. Try again. When I have the pronunciation down, I’ll post an audio file.
I am living with six other students in a shared facility house and we represent the following nationalities (fully or partially): Canada, USA, Serbia, Germany, France, India and China. It’s a lovely house with a big backyard (that needs to be mowed!) and is conveniently located close to Aarhus University, grocery shops, city centre and the best student bars.
I have one of the smaller rooms in the house but it’s more than enough for me. And it has gorgeous natural light. I am surprised how full (and untidy) it looks after only four days of me living here.
Denmark is one of the most bike-friendly countries in the world: It offers bike share programs, there are bike lanes everywhere, automobiles have to give bikes the right-of-way etc. (my Toronto biker friends are going to be seriously jealous of this setup). So naturally, I decided to get a bike.
Actually, it wasn’t that natural. I am suburban girl. My car was one of my best friends back home. Occasionally, I took public transit and walked places. I have never owned a bike. But, you know what they say about being in Rome, right? Do as the Romans do. So, I am doing as the Danes do.
I was really fortunate to get in touch with a friend of a friend who said I could keep her bike after she finished her semester abroad in Aarhus. JACKPOT! I picked up the bike yesterday and I have already realized that I am a stereotypical North American: I am very out of shape. Biking to school is an uphill battle (no pun intended), but biking back is a breeze. I have to drive on the right side in the biking lanes to allow faster bikers to pass me. It’ll definitely take some time to get used to it, but so far, I am loving my wanna-be-Dane persona.
(Photo credit: Nina, my Canadian housemate)
And oh, I named her Nimbus. I trust Harry Potter fans will understand that reference.