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!
Love and some ice cream, from DTU