Luxembourgers

One month in and each day it seems less and less like I am living in a foreign country.  People always say it’s more of a culture shock going back to America then moving abroad in the first place. I’m starting to think that will be true.  It has become harder to notice the differences that were so obvious before.

Last weekend, I got the unique opportunity to meet up with my cousin in Luxembourg.  Brandan and I have always found ourselves in fun and interesting adventures together.  From the days of searching for frogs, to driving all around New Jersey delivering dry cleaning to the fine SeaBreeze Cleaners customers, we have always had fun together.  Luxembourg was no different.

Luxembourg was unlike anything I have ever seen.  This city was beautiful.  It had valleys and hills everywhere (I’ll repeat, EVERYWHERE! And really tough to walk up I might add).  It was extraordinary how houses and shops were outside on the elevated edges of the valleys while also within in them.  It was almost like cities were within cities.  The Luxembourgers (yes, they are called Luxembourgers) kept asking us why of all places we had come to the little country of Luxembourg.  For this I would proudly say that Brandan and I are Luxembourg (of course Brandan, my friend Emily, and Brandan’s friend Tim would laugh at me).  Although it is a small piece of our ancestry, it was really cool to see a place that is almost twice as old as America.  Around the city is a fortress that was built in 963.  The fact that there was no number 1 before the 963 was hard to wrap my mind around.

IMG_4902IMG_4896IMG_4898

This is one of my favorite parts about Europe.  Each of these countries has such a long history.  The people of Denmark or of Luxembourg could be pretty much 100% of their nation.  Where as I am German, French, Welsh, Cherokee Indian, etc. (the list goes on and on), they could be just Danish or Luxembourg.  History is such a prevalent part my everyday life in Denmark because there are things I pass everyday that have so much meaning and age to them.  Just on my walk to school (about 15 minutes) I pass at least 10 buildings or parks that are over 100 years old.  This just amazes me.

Brandan, Emily, Tim, and I really had no agenda.  We all knew we wanted to tour the city, see the historic sites, and definitely see the nightlife.  We took ourselves on a self-guided tour; which was more of Emily being our tour guide while reading us the facts from the pamphlet.  We saw all of the 32 touristy spots on the guide, with occasional stops for drinks, and we even got to see the Chocolate House shop.  The Chocolate House was one thing I really wanted to see. Sadly, it is not a house made out of chocolate (in that case it’d be worth a trip to Luxembourg on it’s own), but it is a three level chocolate shop that sells all different chocolate candies, cakes, and chocolate spoons for making hot chocolate.  I bought some chocolate for the trip home, but it didn’t even make it to the airport. Oops.

IMG_4884IMG_4890

IMG_4903IMG_4904

The bars we went out to were all very unique.  From teens to people in their fifties, from hanging dinosaur skeletons to hanging lanterns, and from beers to people taking shots that were on fire, not one bar was like the next.  The trip to Luxembourg was great.  The food was amazing, the nightlife was crazy, and the city was humbling.  I loved Luxembourg, and of course, seeing a familiar face made the trip even better.

IMG_4796 IMG_4818IMG_4803

Touring Copenhagen

I’ve done too much to blog about everything, so here are some short snippets of other things I’ve done in Copenhagen!

The other students in my building and I all decided to go ice skating. As I am not very coordinated, I kept imagining hurting myself and somehow ending up in a cast for the duration of my time in Copenhagen. Luckily, I survived and had a lot of fun!

Visiting Kastellet, a star-shaped fortress within Copenhagen.

Someone told me that they were underwhelmed when they saw The Little Mermaid. They said that it was smaller and more simple than they expected. I did not agree with this at all. I found that the statue’s simple and small stature was what made it so pretty. Plus, as I am talking a course all about Hans Christian Andersen and his stories, I really enjoyed seeing statue that he inspired.

These are the words to the Danish Birthday Song. Every night at midnight the bars play this song…at first I thought it was just a regular Danish pop song, until they sang it to Linnea (a girl in my building) for her birthday. To celebrate her 21st birthday, our Danish SRA made a traditional birthday cake, and I must say it was AMAZING!

To the Border and Back

IMG_0266

Being so close to the Germany border on our trip to Western Denmark, we decided to go down into Germany for a quick trip. Our advisers told us to get a few things from here like alcohol, food, or cleaning supplies because the high taxes in Denmark cause the prices to be set much higher than Germany’s. Within one minute of driving into the country there were markets to purchase goods at German prices.  Many Danes go to the border, stock up, and head straight back to Denmark.  It was quite hilarious seeing all the cars headed back to Denmark, driving a little closer to the ground.  These very small cars were packed to the brim with mass amounts of beer and liquor.  So of course when we stopped at one of the markets I followed suit: I got all the gummies I could hold, a few bars of chocolate (one with liquorish inside–the Danes are BIG on the liquorish), and a bottle of vodka.

I’d say it was definitely a successful trip to Germany!

First Adventure Outside of Copenhagen!

This past week, all DIS classes went on a trip to visit and learn about places relating to their chosen study concentration.  As I am in International Business here, my class packed up and headed to Western Denmark to visit some Danish companies.

Starting bright and early on Monday morning (minus the bright part), all twenty-one students in our class, with our two advisors, headed out on our three-day journey.  During the traveling half of the week, we visited and toured some amazing Danish companies with a few site-seeing trips on the side.  The companies we visited were: Maersk (Denmark’s largest company), ECCO, Fuglsang Brewery, Danfoss, and Brøggeriet Microbrewery.  All of these companies definitely were very proud of their Danish roots.  I really enjoyed learning about the practices and culture of the companies, but my favorite part was hearing from the employees. We got to see how they perceived their companies and what they were most proud of about their job within their company.

I will say, and this is only partially because we got a beer tasting here, but Fuglsang Brewery definitely was my favorite company to visit.  One of the owners led us on a full tour of their malt and brewery processes.  Fuglsang mainly deals with making and distributing malt.  We were allowed to see each step of this process, including barley in three different stages of germination. The smaller and less profitable part of Fuglsang is their beer.  They only distribute beer to Western Denmark, and they only brew beer because they are passionate about it.  Fuglsang is a family-owned brewery, and I definitely became a supporter of their company.  After the tour we were able to try a few of their ten different beers, and hear more from the owner.  We were really lucky to get such an inside perspective of this company.

First stage in the barley germination process

First stage in the barley germination process

Fuglsang Brewery

 

This trip was an amazing experience: staying in my first hostels, traveling along the beautiful Danish countryside, visiting Jelling Stones, crossing over the Denmark-Germany border just to buy cheap food and drinks (less tax), and seeing more of the sun in these three days than in my past three weeks in Denmark.  I had so much fun. It was nice to see more of Denmark than just Copenhagen, although, I could have done without the long long hours stuffed on a bus in my business suit.

Jelling Stones

 

When we got back from the traveling half of our week, we had two more days of events in Copenhagen.  We went to COOP, Denmarks largest supermarket conglomerate, we had a panel over Denmark’s future, and went on a private tour of Carlsberg.  Carlsberg beer in everywhere in Denmark; it is such a large company and the Danes love to support it.  We will be spending a lot of time with Carlsberg. During this visit we were introduced to our final project of creating a business plan for appealing to the young, female, or health markets.

Carlsberg Brewery

 

This has been a long week, but I have learned a lot about business practices and procedures in Denmark.  This week also allowed time to become better friends with the students in my Core Course class.  This is the group I will be traveling with to Germany and Prague and the group that I spend every Monday and Thursday with in class.  It definitely makes going to class a lot more exciting and Copenhagen a little more like home.

The week traveling has been so great, but I am very happy to be back in Copenhagen and even happier that it is the weekend!

Settling In

I have officially been in Copenhagen for two weeks, and I have to say, I love it.  From the green district of Christiania to trampolines in the sidewalk to outdoor ice-skating in the city, I have been doing all the touristy things possibly I can.

At this point, I have settled in, gained my bearings (sort of), and even started classes.  I know I am here for school, and I know that it will be a lot of work, but so far all of the classes have been really interesting.  The professors are welcoming and really experienced.  They all still currently work and teach, so what they teach, they have a lot of experience with. Each professor has their own way of doing things and their own way of connecting the course material with the Danish culture.  I have already learned so much about Denmark’s history, values, and current outlooks.

I have observed many things about the Danish culture, but the most shocking one so far is that they ride their bikes everywhere, including in the snow and both to and from the bars.

When I first Googled Copenhagen, I found a few pictures of them riding their bikes in the snow.  I shrugged it off and thought to myself that it was probably just an odd occurrence, and if it was a common thing, there would be no way I would do it!  I mean it’s dangerous enough for me to just ride a bike, let alone with snow, ice, and sludge between the road and my tires. Well, these were just thoughts.  Yes, it did snow, and yes I did ride my bike during the storm.  I honestly thought that there was no way I’d actually make it back safely to my dorm. Either I’d fall down and hurt myself, or I’d fall and hurt someone else. Luckily, and very very surprisingly, I successfully made it back! (Although I may have left my fingers somewhere along the way… snow and bike handlebars definitely isn’t the warmest thing for your hands).  I did slip a little, but it actually wasn’t too difficult, and it definitely shortened my time being outside in the snow.  I may have thought they were crazy at first, but I now think it’s a little crazy not to ride a bike (Even if it’s going home after the bars).

Copenhagen is an amazing city and there is always something new to see or do.  I am so lucky to be living with people just as interested in discovering everything about Copenhagen.  Our next adventure:  finding the cart that sells the Belgium waffles, dipped in chocolate, on a stick.