The Last Danish Chapter

GuidebooksGoodbyes are never easy, especially when you are leaving behind an exciting country where you have countless memories with a lot of interesting people. (However, the pain can be eased with the knowledge that I am trading the cold Danish climate for a beachside apartment in Sydney.)

While I have been somewhat diligent in blogging about my travels within Europe, I haven’t written much about my day-to-day life here in Aarhus, Denmark. However, I have been reporting From the Field for Verge: Travel with Purpose magazine as a guest blogger. Over the last six months, I have written about how I adapted to a small city, my struggles with the language, getting used to a new (and weird) grading system, and more recently my biking adventures. If you haven’t checked them out already, here are my favourite articles that are worth a click:

Falling in love with Aarhus

I ditched the big city exchange experience and ended up in Denmark biggest village. One can bike across this city in less than 20  minutes. In December I wrote, “Naturally, I had my inhibitions when moving to Aarhus. Most people are nervous about moving to a bigger city, but I was really worried about moving to a smaller city. There is something about rush hour traffic, packed TTC subways and perpetually angry nine-to-fivers that makes me feel at home.”

How did I learn to love Aarhus? Find out! Continue reading

God Jul: Christmas spirit in Scandinavia

Living in Canada, this is what I used to associate Christmas with: vacation pay, boxing day, Home Alone marathons, and postcards from friends. If you haven’t been raised celebrating Christmas, it’s pretty easy to escape the holiday fever in Toronto (except when I worked in retail and Christmas carols were even playing in my nightmares).

God JulBut, not in Scandinavia. You can try to be the Grinch, but the Christmas spirit will make its way into your home and heart.

Denmark kicks off the God Jul celebrations with J-day on the first weekend of November by launching the annual Christmas beer. It’s a strong brew that’s modelled on a luxury beer. I am not surprised to see that the launch of a beer is a national event in Denmark – bars are brimming, trucks are distributing free beer and swag on the busy streets, and everyone is having a jolly good time to get the mood for God Jul.

Soon after the that, the Christmas lights start popping up and just last weekend, Aarhus’s official Christmas tree made its debut outside of City Hall.

Here’s how my friends and I have been getting in the festive spirit over the last month: Continue reading

København in 24 hours

Copenhagen København is everything I imagined a Scandinavian city to be like: stunning architecture, cozy cafes and a relaxed vibe that North Americans, like myself, find hard to embrace at first. But then the hygge grows on you and you casually start strolling around the harbour, ignoring what time it is. If the clouds sneak up on you with surprising sun-showers, you can find shelter under one of the many umbrellas on the patio street. If you are sitting with a Dane, you won’t realize that hours have passed while you have been casually talking about everything under the sky while sipping on your coffee (or beer, as per your preference).

But, if you don’t have time on your side and need to catch your train to Stockholm (or better yet, your bus to Aarhus to visit me), here is what you must see and do while you are in Copenhagen.

Disclaimer: I didn’t make it to Vesterbro or Norrebro while I was in Copenhagen. 

Start your day by walking through Stroget and the Latin Quarter. Stroll carelessly on this longest pedestrian friendly, shopping street in Copenhagen. Stop to buy an overpriced souvenir or the most expensive coffee of your life before making your way to Nyhavn (pronounced as “New Hawn” as I was sternly corrected by a local).

Continue reading

Hej fra Danmark

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).

My program

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.  Continue reading