Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Photo Diary: 4 Weeks in Copenhagen

Since I've seriously been slacking on the blogging game so far this semester (oops) I have a pretty big backlog of pictures from my first few weeks in Copenhagen. I want to remember all of the things I did during my first month here and share the memories with you - so with out further ado here is a big update of everything I've been up to so far this semester! Keep an eye out for weekly update posts coming soon I promise :)

August 23, 2017: Orientation and the Round Tower

Following academic orientation, a few of my classmates and I decided to pay the $2 fee and climb to the top of the Round Tower. This 17th-century tower is located just around the corner from DIS and it was built by Christian IV as an astronomical observatory. Instead of stairs it has one giant winding ramp all the way to the top!

August 25, 2017: Islands Brygge

One day when we didn't have class, a few of my friends and I decided to go to a diving area on the side of the harbor. Thankfully we made it there on one of the last nice days of the summer so it was the perfect weather for a swim (ok so the water was actually freezing but according to the Danes this was perfect swimming weather). There were three levels to dive off of: 1 meter, 3 meters, and 5 meters. It was crazy to see the fearless Danish children jumping off the high dive like it was nothing! I started out with the 3 meter dive - which was was already pretty scary - before climbing all the way up to the high dive. It was seriously terrifying but I'm so glad I literally took the leap and tried it - it was so fun!

August 29, 2017: Exploring & Paper Island

The weather during my first week in Copenhagen was literally so beautiful that I started to doubt what everyone had said about it raining all the time (which was later proven wrong because it now rains pretty much everyday). This day my friend Carly and I biked all the way over to this cute brunch restaurant on the water only to find out that it was rented out for a corporate event. So we biked over to Paper Island and I got to try the pulled pork everyone had been recommending (definitely worth the hype) and sat in the sunshine along the harbor. It was actually so sunny that I ended up getting pretty sunburnt! But it was a perfect way to spend the last summer day in the city.

September 1, 2017: Botanical Gardens and Go Boating

After Maddie got out of class I met her at Rosenborg Palace, a renaissance castle that was originally built as a country summerhouse in 1606 for Christian IV. We walked around the palace grounds and then went over to the University of Copenhagen's Botanical Gardens and Conservatory. The Gardens reminded me a lot of Longwood Gardens! At the conservatory you could climb a spiral staircase up to the very top and get a great view of all of the gardens. Afterwards we got ice cream and then headed home. That night I met up with some friends to go Go Boating! Go Boats are solar powered boats with tables in the middle that you can rent to ride around in the harbor. You can bring your own snacks and drinks (read: cheese and wine) and they only go about 2mph so they're pretty easy to drive. We went right as the sun was setting so it was a beautiful ride!

September 2, 2017: Louisiana Museum of Art 

This was one of my top Copenhagen bucket list items! It's a modern art museum about an hour outside of the city that's known for its interactive art pieces. Most famous is probably the Kusama Installation, a mirrored room full of changing multi-colored lights. They had a special performance art exhibit going on as well which was interesting to say the least. The museum is right on the water so you can actually see Sweden from the museum grounds!

September 3, 2017: Getting a bike!

After a week-long saga of attempting and failing to rent a bike for the semester, I was finally successful! I'm now the proud owner of a spiffy used bike which makes me feel like a true Dane. Like I said before, they bike everywhere here, no matter the distance or the current weather situation. I'm definitely still working on motivating myself to bike in the rain :) but it's seriously the best to not have to rely 100% on the buses anymore. I don't have any pictures of me riding my bike (safety first!!) but here's one of my new ride.

September 6, 2017: First Field Study!

DIS structures our program so that we don't have any classes on Wednesdays! This day is reserved for field studies for our elective courses. On this particular Wednesday I went to TwentyThree, an advertising software startup here in Copenhagen. They showed us around their very modern office and gave a presentation on the company and how we'll be using their platform. My Digital Media in Marketing class is working with the agency this semester to make promotional videos for the American Pie Company, the second destination of our field study. I spotted this pie shop while we were walking around during our first few days in the city and knew I needed to try it! Luckily for me we got to try all of their sweet pies on this day :) I'm definitely going back to try their savory pies too (if you know me you know my love of chicken pot pie). The shop was started by an American living in Copenhagen who missed having the pies she grew up with at home. Our mission for the semester is to promote pumpkin pies to the Danes, who aren't familiar with the traditional Thanksgiving concept.

September 9, 2017: Ice Bar!

One of my flatmates' friends was visiting Copenhagen and happened to be staying at the hostel here that has an ice bar! I've always wanted to try an ice bar so when she invited me to come with her I couldn't pass it up. The bar is 19 degrees Fahrenheit and and you're only allowed to stay in for 45 minutes. Everything, from the bar to the shot glasses, is made of ice! You get a giant parka when you go in but I was still freezing by the time we left. Another bucket list item accomplished!

September 10, 2017: FC Copenhagen Soccer Game

DIS got us free tickets to a FC Copenhagen vs FC Midtjylland match last Sunday. I'm not the biggest soccer fan, but I am a fan of free activities :) Soccer is such a big part of the European culture and I think half the fun is seeing all of the die-hard fans cheering on their team. After raining the entire week, we got a beautiful day of sunshine and the game was the perfect way to enjoy it. And Copenhagen won!

September 11-15, 2017: Core Course Week

My Core Course went on a trip to Western Denmark! You can read my post about it here.

September 16, 2017: Church of Our Saviour

This weekend Carly and I ventured over to the spiral tower at the Church of Our Saviour. This tower was opened in 1752 and for $5 you can climb the 400 steps to the top. The first part of the climb is inside the bell tower and the last 150 steps are on the narrow spiral staircase on the outside of the spire. The view at the top is insane - nothing beats seeing Copenhagen from almost 300 feet in the sky! I didn't think I was that scared at the top but once we got back down to the ground my legs were shaking for a good 30 minutes.

September 17, 2017: Go Boats (again!)

We were blessed with beautiful weather again this Sunday so my flatmates and I rented Go Boats again! This time we docked at Paper Island and got food to bring on board. I don't think Copenhagen by boat at sunset will ever get old!

I hope everyone has a great week! More adventures to come, so stay tuned :)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Adventures in Western Denmark

This past week I embarked on my first trip out of Copenhagen! My program includes something called 'Core Course Week' where we get to travel to somewhere in Western Denmark or Germany to visit companies and places that are significant to our Core Course. My course, European Business Strategy, traveled to Ribe and Haderslev!

Bright and early on Monday morning we boarded a bus to Ribe (about 3.5 hours outside of Cope), where we had our first company visit to Blue Water Shipping. This is a family owned shipping, energy, and logistics company. There we had an information session, followed by lunch and a tour of their huge industrial complex. Highlights included seeing one of the worlds largest wind turbines!

Wind turbines being assembled, and the largest wind turbines in the distance on the left.
Afterwards we headed for a photo op at an art installation called 'Man Meets the Sea'. It's exactly what it sounds like - four giant statues of men looking out into the ocean - kind of odd. Then we took a short drive over to a local curling club for a lesson on how to play this traditional Danish sport! I had only ever seen curling on TV during the Olympics and it is definitely harder than it looks. But after a little bit of practice we actually weren't all that bad at it and it turned out to be pretty fun! I shockingly scored one of the two points for my team :) After finishing up our game, we headed to a cute 'resort' in town where we checked into tiny cottages for the night.

Probably one of the strangest things I've ever seen
Catch me at the Winter Olympics 2018!
After raining literally all day, we got to see a beautiful double rainbow over Ribe
The next morning we headed to what was possibly the most anticipated company visit of the week: Lego! Lego was started in Billund, Denmark and is still a family owned business headquartered there. And it is the location of the original LegoLand (which we unfortunately did not visit). We had an information session, lunch, and then got a tour of the Lego factory! We weren't allowed to take photos in the factory but it was SO cool to see how all the different kinds of bricks are made. Some fun facts from the visit:

  • The name Lego comes from the Danish phrase "Leg got" which means "playing well" but it also happens to mean "I put together" in Latin
  • Lego mini figures make up the largest 'population' in the world
  • Legos haven't been changed much since they were first created and they are made with such precision that bricks from 50 years ago can be clicked into bricks made today
  • Six 2x4 bricks can build over 9 million different configurations
  • Lego Ninjago wasn't supposed to be as successful as it is now - Lego only anticipated it to last for a season or two but now it's on track to be a part of their 'evergreen' collection (the Lego sets that are likely to be produced forever)
  • The company makes 1/2 of its total yearly sales in the 9 weeks leading up to Christmas

Outside the Lego HQ
There were four huge buckets of Legos in the lobby right when you walked in!
The sign is made of over 1,500 Lego mini figures
After we each picked a free Lego set to take home, we headed to a hostel in Haderslev for the night. The next morning we drove to the headquarters of the leather shoe and accessories company, Ecco. What makes this company unique is that they control each step of their supply chain - from 'hide to high street' as they put it. One interesting fact they told us is that they sell half of the leather they produce to other luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Burberry. We got to see prototype shoes and do a little (window) shopping at their onsite store. After that, we drove to Danfoss, an engineering and technology company. They started out making refrigerator parts and thermostats, but now make thousands of different 'behind the scenes' parts that improve efficiency and energy use. Their building was probably one of the coolest we saw - there was a spiral staircase that went up all 10 stories and each level was a different color of the rainbow so when you looked up from the bottom you saw the full rainbow effect. After a jam packed day, we found out that the ferry we were supposed to take back into the city was cancelled due to hurricane warnings, so we started the 4 hour drive back to Copenhagen.

On Thursday morning we had a recap session in the classroom before heading to Maersk, another shipping and logistics company. They told us about their newest venture of investing in unique and 'disruptive' start ups in the shipping sector. On Friday we headed to Carlsberg for a behind the scenes tour of the old brew house guided by my professor - who happens to be the head of the Danish Brewers Association (no biggie). We saw the largest collection of unopened beer bottles in the world and learned about the history of the brewery. Fun fact: the name Carlsberg comes from Carl, the son of the founder, and 'berg' which means on the hill, because the original brewery is on a hill. After the tour, we had lunch followed by the presentation of the case study we'll be working in this semester! Our task is to educate consumers about specialty beers through digital marketing campaigns. I think we'll have to start with a little field research first ;)

Over 22,000 beer bottles!
I got to pet one of the Carlsberg horses! According to our tour guide they occasionally get to drink some beer ;)
Inside the original brew house
I think the most surprising part of the week was how many large companies are a) family owned and b) started and still based in Denmark! It's a little crazy to think about how this little country is home to such well known global brands. I really am learning something new every day!