Category Archives: School

Introduction Week: 26-31 Jan, 2010

Hey guys!

I know not that many people read this blog, but even the fact that some of you check it makes me “d’awww” a little on the inside, and I really do enjoy blogging, so I feel really bad about not updating! Last week hit me really hard – all of a sudden, a lot of deliverables were due for my classes, so it was a lot of stressing out. However, the last item from this first week was due earlier today, so now I feel a lot more relieved! I’m going to take this time to get together a lot of stuff I’ve meant to do all semester, such as update this blog with a slew of outdated blog posts, wash all my socks (it’s good the weather got really nice this past week because I’ve been having to wear my flip flops!), and hole punch a stack of 200 sheets of paper. Really. Oh, and pack for our epic spring break trip! We’re hitting 3 (possibly 4) countries in the span of two weeks, so I’m pretty stoked. But I’ll write about that in a later post =)

This post is about introduction week! It picks up from where “Hello ma’am, your flight today includes a complimentary side of engine failures and crying babies?” skipped over.

Tuesday, 26.01

(That’s how they write dates in Europe – date before month; it really threw me off for a while). The previous post leaves off with my wallet crying after spending $100 on a taxi to get to DTU. I thought I couldn’t be late, so I had to take a taxi instead of public transportation. Turns out, it didn’t really matter if I was on time or not. Damn. Well, the Danes are very into being punctual, so I suppose it was good that I made an effort?

Anyways, I walked into the canteen (it’s the name of the cafeteria) in the middle of someone giving a lecture to all the international students. We had a couple of speakers doing the usual welcome-type of introductions, then had breakfast. We were separated into groups, each with a group leader. They gave us a tour around campus, and we had a chance to meet each other. They tried to seperate people from the same school and country, so it was a good mix of cultures.

Highlights from the campus tour: data bars and the building numbering system. Most buildings on campus have rooms called “data bars,” which are basically computers for the students to use. They’re really nice too and have all sorts of useful software – not like the slow clunky ones that we have in the VCC back at RPI. They’re open 24-7 and all you need is your student ID card to have access. Pretty sweet. Printing is FREE, which means… lots of rasterbations! The building numbering system at DTU is really sweet because the school is divided like a cartesian coordinate grid. Basically, the two main roads running through campus are perpendicular to each other, and where they intersect is the origin. From there, the buildings are divided into quadrants, and each quadrant has it’s own departments. For example, both of my majors (Mechanical Engineering and Design and Innovation) are in quadrant 4. Therefore, all the buildings I have classes in are next to each other and start with the number “4.” It’s so nerdy, but makes SO much sense!! I love it <3

Then, we had a scavenger hunt around campus, but it was cold so nobody was really into it. Then, we all met up back at the canteen and did competitions where we built structures to hold up beer cans. We placed second:

Group 5 with our beer tower!

Then, we had a delicious dinner, and went down to the student cellar bar. DTU has a lot of campus bars – can you believe that each department has their own Friday bar?

Wednesday, 27.01

After the luggage crisis mentioned in the post reference above, we boarded buses and left for a tour in Copenhagen! It was snowing so hard though, and everyone who wasn’t wearing boots got wet socks within the first hour of walking around. It was a pretty good tour though, we saw Den lille havfrue, which is the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen harbor. It’s got a cool history behind it, especially since they always replicas on display since people keep beheading her (and she’s also doing a tour in China this spring), but it’s also known as one of the biggest disappointments because it’s a really small statue. I won’t paraphrase it here, but DEFINITELY check out this wikipedia page for the history behind the statue (and all the time’s it’s been defaced – it’s hilarious)!

Stefano from Italy molesting the Little Mermaid.

We also saw some other sights, like the opera house and the queen’s house. They also showed us some more practical things, like the train station, where to get clip cards for transporation, and where to buy SIM cards. It was unbearably cold though, so we ended up splitting the group into those who wanted to get drunk and run around on a frozen lake, and those who wanted to go to a cafe. Sorry – I chose cafe. I was FREEEEEZING! Afterwards, we met all the other internationals at a vegetarian buffet, then headed over to the Student House.  I got tired pretty early, so Joyce and I tried to head back, but the buses were all either cancelled or running late because of the snow. That’s what I’ve learned about the public transportation here – it’s pretty decent… until it snows. Then it’s all sorts of confused.

Thursday, 28.01

Thursday morning, we went to Lyngby Storcenter to get our CPR numbers and yellow cards. Health insurance is free in Denmark because the taxes are ridiculously high, so we’re getting the benefits =) Then, Joyce, Will, Phil, and Darcy wandered around Lyngby. We found an amazing kebab place! (Seriously, we have eaten sooo many kebabs!) Then, we went to Carlsberg museum for a tour! I was a little bummed that we didn’t really get to see the brewery or the beer making process, but it was still a cool tour.

Entrance to Carlsberg!

Ridiculous beer collection in the museum of every bottle they’ve ever made

All of us with the famous Carlsberg elephants!

Afterwards, we went and got groceries for the first time (for me anyways) and then had a delicious dinner at Joyce’s kitchen!

Friday, 29.01

We had lectures upon lectures all day – I don’t even really remember what we talked about! I think it was stuff like study habits, language courses, blah blah. Anyways, afterwards every group had to prepare a dish for our dinner feast! Our group was assigned to make pasta salad, so we went over to the containers and took over a kitchen. The Italians were disgusted by the idea of a pasta salad, so they actually saved about a third of the pasta we were supposed to cook and made pesto! I absolutely love Italians because they cook DELICIOUS Italian food!

Italians taking over the job of making pasta XD

While we were waiting, a bunch of us started playing card games. Len (from Belgium), Ann (from Singapore), Pawel (from Poland), and I got ahold of a strange Italian deck of cards. They’re really interesting because they don’t have numbers at all, just pictures of people with weapons. We devised our own game, where basically we all play cards and then we argue about which card would pwn the other one best. It was pretty sweet =D

Then, we headed over to the canteen to meet all the other groups for dinner. It was a lot of fun because all the Americans started teaching their groups American drinking games. At one point, Tom (from Wisconsin) was teaching his group flip cup. I mean seriously, where else is there 250 people eating in a cafeteria and all of a sudden, a table stands up and starts playing flip cup? Pretty hilarious! After dinner, we went to the student house, which is like a club on campus and partied the night away!

Tom standing on a table and shotgunning a beer in the middle of dinner!

Saturday, 30.01

Pretty much spent the day cleaning my room. Vacuumed soooooo many spiders off the ceiling x_x I met a lot of my kitchenmates that day too, so that was awesome!

Sunday 31.01

We wanted to explore Copenhagen, so Len, Ann, Aurélien (from France), and I met up at the Rådhuspladsen, which was basically the town square. Ann got lost on the bus, so we spent a good deal of time looking for her, and by the time we found her we were frozen solid, so we walked around for a bit then went to a nice cafe.

Look at all the snow! This used to be a LAKE!!!

That’s all for now!

<3 Tiff

Love and some choice verses, from DTU!

Studying? What’s that? Plus some tidbits on Danish culture!

For those of you (like German Alex) that think my blog posts are too long and wordy, I have made subheadings, so you can choose what you want to read! (For everyone else, the post is meant to be read as a whole, so if you’re reading the whole thing just ignore the subtitles as they sound kind of awkward)

Transportation: Thieving international students!

Three bikes in my room!

I guess the number one thing to do in Denmark if you’re an international student is go on a bike stealing spree! At the end of every semester, the administration ask students to tag their bikes. The untagged bikes are generally bikes that people have left around and aren’t using, and are therefore taking up space. These bikes are then gathered up, chained together, and put in the middle of Kampsax (my housing complex) for the police to take and auction off. Because it’s been snowing like crazy, the police haven’t gotten around to it, so they’ve been sitting around for months. About two weeks ago, somebody cut the chain and since then, the number of bikes has rapidly decreased.I mean, it’s not really like we’re stealing form anybody, since the bikes are unclaimed. And really, are we going to let the police make money off us by selling things that didn’t belong to them in the first place? I don’t think so!

(I did, however, run into two Russian girls a couple weeks back when I was “bike shopping” in the Kampsax bike graveyard. They were running around and cutting locks off bikes that actually BELONGED to people. Danggggg!)

This is actually an old photo – I still have three bikes in my room, but they’re not the same. The one furthest back was given to me by one of my international friends because he found a better one. That one is missing a pedal, so I “borrowed” the one in the middle from the graveyard to steal a pedal. However, Johannas’s bike got stolen, so I let him have that one. The nice one in the front was actually found by another international student as well, but it’s missing a pedal. Now, the third bike I have is actually the same as the Greenfield one in front with suspension, just that it actually has pedals. However, it’s missing a seat and a back wheel. I’m going to try and piece them together to make one working bike!

When it stops snowing (…April) I’ll probably ride around a lot more. Right now, it’s just been so cold that I’ve been taking a lot of public transportation. I’ve spent over $200 on clip cards for the metro/bus/train since I’ve been here… it’s crazy!

Coursework: Interesting differences between courses at DTU and RPI

This week, I have spent about an hour on CAD, an hour on writing a lab report, and 8 hours putting off doing research for Strategy, Design, and Market. I can honestly say that that is the most time I have spent here so far on schoolwork. I also spent all day composing emails to various members of the RPI faculty to fix my CAPP report and arguing about transferring credits, but that’s a whole other story that is not nearly as interesting as it sounds!

Here are the courses that I am taking this semester:

Manufacturing Tribology: Modeling and Testing – Monday 8-12 (5 DTU credits)
Development Projects in Companies
– Monday 1-5 (5 DTU credits)
CAD/CAM – Thursday 8-12 (5 DTU credits)
Strategy, Design, and Market – Thursday 1-5 (5 DTU credits)

It’s really kind of a disaster that 5 credit courses at DTU only transfer for 3 credits at RPI. There has been a lot of confusion over what will transfer, what might not transfer, and whether or not we will still be able to graduate on time. Ah well… such is life!

I’m really enjoying half my courses, and the other two are okay, but that was pretty much what I expected. I really like what we’re learning about in Manufacturing Tribology – it’s a lot on the techniques and parameters in the metal cutting and metal forming processes. The class has 15 people, and it’s really chill. We meet at 8 in the morning, and after about an hour of lecture we all walk over to another building where his secretary has prepared fresh coffee for us. We sit around and talk with each other for about 15 minutes, then trek back to the class where he lectures for another hour. Then, we have 2 hours of lab time where we split into groups of 5 and rotate through the different labs assigned for the semester. One thing that’s really nice about the labs is that each lab group is assigned a supervisor that helps us perform the lab and goes over the theory with us after. In labs at school, we’re used to 40 students packed into one room, doing the exact same lab while a TA walks around and tries to address everyone’s problems.

CAD/CAM is also awesome. We have lecture for about 2 hours, then lab assignments for the next two hours. We’re learning Pro/E, which is a little bit of a bummer since I already know how to use it, but it will be nice to have a refresher! Also, I can’t wait until we get to the CAM section of the course! The lectures are really good (MUCH better than those videos we had to watch for CAD at RPI) and the assignments are all detailed in a manual. Man. If I had a manual like that when I was learning NX 5, life would have been so much easier!!

Developments Projects in Companies and Strategy, Design, and Market are all very large classes and we have to write group case studies/reports in both. The lectures are a lot like the STSS courses we take back at RPI – not my kind of class. However, the topics are more related to marketing than being eco-friendly, so that’s a plus.

Random culture: Other important life lessons

Aside from school, I have learned a lot here as well. Here are the top three pieces of advice that I have gotten since I’ve been here:

1. What happens in Denmark stays in Denmark. For Erasmus, if your significant other is more than one country away, anything goes
2. Anything can be solved by drinking more alcohol. Sick? Drink snaps. Tired? Drink a Cult Shaker (the Party Maker!). Happy? Celebrate with beer! Sad? More beer!
3. When encountered with a problem and the original tactic fails, show them your tits!

I’m not really sure if I agree with ANY of the aforementioned pieces of advice, but eh? XD

Johannas and Fie! They’re my kitchenmates and they’re terrible influences on me and I love them so so very much! <3

Housing: Defining Kampsax Kollegiet and “Kitchens”

The area with the roof over is for bikes! This isn’t actually my kitchen, but it’s next to Christina’s

I don’t think I’ve explained this before but I live in a dorm complex named Kampsax Kollegiet. It is a housing complex located on the Southeast side of DTU campus. While it is on DTU campus, not all of the residents go to DTU. Basically, the way student housing works in Denmark is that there are many different dorms scattered around the Copenhagen area, and students have to apply to the ones that they want to live in. For example, one of my kitchenmates (I will define this word in a moment) went to a different school and is working this semester, but has lived in Kampsax for the last couple of years because he wanted to be closer to the social life here and at the dorm across the bridge. It’s a very interesting system. Luckily, all RPI students are guaranteed a room in Kampsax. Most of the other international students have been placed in Campus Village (lovingly dubbed “The Containers”) on the Southwest side of campus. Campus Village consists of a bunch of red shipping containers labeled A-Z that have been renovated into student housing. These house about 10 students each and includes singles for all the students, a washing machine, dryer, and kitchen.

Back to Kampsax – Kampsax is divided into “kitchens” of 17 students each. Every room is a single with a private bathroom, and the kitchen is a shared area. Each “kitchen” is it’s own enclosed hallway with two doors on each end that can only be unlocked by a key from that kitchen. It’s pretty cool. I was really confused telling people that I lived in “Kitchen 27” for a while, but now it just comes without thinking! Everyone in Kitchen 27 is amazing – pretty much the coolest kitchen ever.

Jo, Michael, and Pernille!

The plus side of living in Kampsax is that you get more chances to interact with the Danes. In Tingbjerg Kollegiet (about 11km away) and Campus Village, you’re mainly living with a bunch of international students, which is still fun, but I prefer Kampsax as I want to meet Danes (I AM in Denmark!)

Cooking: Boys… cooking??! And Tiff cooking in metric!

Baking and cooking here is very different. One thing that I really admire is that everyone cooks their meals. I don’t just mean cooking as in sticking an easy dinner in the microwave or a frozen pizza in the oven – they actually take the time to make their own pizzas (some make their own crusts, others buy pre-made dough), cook dishes that consist of more than a piece of meat, create their own pasta sauces, etc etc. Half the guys in my kitchen make their own bread! I feel like in America, Alex D. would be the only one to put the time into doing something like that =D

For example, here is a picture of Andreas making hamburgers for the Superbowl. Really really delicious hamburgers…!

I’ve always been much better at telling temperature in centigrade than Fahrenheit, but when it comes to baking it’s a whole other story. In America, we’re so used to baking in Fahrenheit because that’s what recipes tell us because that’s what the ovens are set in! Here, they’re set in Celcius, which gave me a lot of problems the first time I tried to cook a potato.

Also, nobody outside of the United States has heard of “cups” or “sticks of butter.” Everything is measured in either ml or grams. This is actually true in Taiwan as well, as I now remember my Aunt teaching me to make fong li shu (pineapple shortcake) a couple years back using weights. I remember being very upset that I couldn’t make them in the states because I didn’t have an accurate enough scale! Luckily, the girl that lived in my room before was from the states and also loved to bake, so she had bought a measuring cup. However, the measuring cup is embarrassingly inaccurate, so I’ve been doing a lot of estimating. Things have turned out okay so far though, so no worries! I am, however, having an issue finding baking soda. People keep redirecting me to baking powder and yeast!

One of the funniest parts of living in Kampsax is when my kitchenmates come stumbling in at 6am. One time, I was in the kitchen because I had just gotten back, and two of my kitchenmates came in right after and we ended up making the most disgustingly-greasy (read: DELICIOUS) eggs, bacon, and cheese EVER.

Christian and ice cream at 3am!

Anyways, it’s almost 12:30 and I have class at 8am! Cheers!

<3 Tiff

Love and some ice cream, from DTU