Core Course Week: Strategic Communication

Hello hello! It’s been one heck of a week, but I’m finally home and settled (and have time to craft this lengthy blog post) about: Core Course Week!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the setup of DIS (so pretty much everyone but my Mom), I’ll break it down: each student is enrolled in a “core course” and travels with that class a few times throughout the semester. This past week was our first trip, and I went to western Denmark with my Strategic Communications class for three days. And thus, the following occurred:

My class at TV2!

Monday: My class met at the bus stop at 10:15 AM, which was nice because some of my friends had to be up and ready as early as 6 AM (RIP Diana). From there, we departed for Odense – the third largest city in Denmark and about an hour and a half west from Copenhagen. We had two visits that afternoon, the first of which was TV2, a state-run TV channel that broadcasts across the entire country. There are actually two government-owned television channels (the other being DR) and it was neat to hear about how the two channels compete with each other and how being government-run has impacted their broadcasting practices. In the U.S., the news channels are so incredibly polarizing and used as weapons for each political party, and it’s eyeopening to see how the government is able to stay relatively neutral while providing news to all political parties across Denmark.

Then we zipped over to Skodvahl Nordic Studios, a photo/video studio that works with clients to take photo and video for their businesses. I don’t have any photography or videography skills per se, but I liked seeing the behind-the-scenes and how artists can transform a simple object into an entire photo with technology and graphic design programs.

A beer from Midtfyns Bryghus in a branded glass (that we got to keep!)

While the visits were cool, the highlight of the day was absolutely Midtfyns Bryghus (yeah, try saying that one), a brewery in Odense that’s run by an American named Eddie. In the 90s, he met a Danish woman while working as a bartender in New York. Flash forward to present day and he’s now married to her, living in Denmark, and even speaks fluent Danish. He bought Midtfyns Bryghus and has been making his own beer ever since. We got to try five different types of his beers, and despite still not being a big beer gal, I’m glad that I had the opportunity to try new things! (Another plus: five beers make a very quick way to warm up to each other, meaning that this was a great ice breaking activity and led to me meeting some really cool people in my class.)

Tuesday: We got up bright and early (and by that, I mean 8 AM) the next morning to leave for Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark and another two hour drive from Odense. In Aarhus, we visited JYSK headquarters (a Danish house-goods retail store) and heard from their head of communications. Afterwards, we headed to the ARoS museum and some friends and I ate a quick lunch before exploring (tip for future Strat Com students: the grilled cheese at ARoS is NOT American grilled cheese). It was a lot of modern art and really unique exhibits, and I wish I would have had another two hours to explore!

“Boy” statue at ARoS – one of the museums most known exhibits
The rainbow panorama at the top of the ARoS museum, with Aarhus in the background!
A look at the rainbow panorama from the outside
Pesto pasta with chicken from Globen Flakket – my favorite meal!

Later that night, we had a four course meal at a restaurant down the street from our hotel, a meal that will easily sit in my top three favorite meals of this trip. I love pesto – who knew? The wine probably helped. To finish off the night, we did an escape room! DIS does not hold back, lemme tell you. If you’re curious, we did not manage to escape the escape room, but I blame this mostly on the fact that we had to do some relatively complex math problems (in case you forgot, I’m a communications student, not a mathematics student) and it took us longer to solve them than it probably should have.

Wednesday: Wednesday began with yet another sub-par continental breakfast and a familiar face – my friend Griffin was also staying at the same hotel! After stealing one (or three) croissants from the breakfast buffet, I walked with my class over to Dokk1, our final visit of the trip, and easily my favorite. Dokk1 is the official library of Aarhus, but was created with so much more in mind. A place for everyone, each room in Dokk1 was carefully thought out to give a space to people of all ages and abilities. There’s reading rooms, study spaces, workshops, meeting spaces, playgrounds (both indoor and outdoor) and even a news studio that is actively used by local news channels. There’s also an automatic parking garage that parks your car for you – which is obviously the best part. Honestly, I’d do an entire tour of only the parking garage if I meant I got to see it in action.

Inside of Dokk1 featuring my friend Rose
Part of the playground on the deck outside Dokk1 – the tip of the eagle points to America (teared up a bit at that one)

Our final meal of the trip was at a restaurant on the water where we had some sort of pulled pork sandwich (also delicious, thanks DIS!) At this point, I was pretty exhausted and ready to get back to Copenhagen and my own bed, but if you know me you know that my stomach can always rally.

Said sandwich – well worth the stop! They also have us a basket of fries – a basket!

Thursday/Friday: The rest of the week was spent in Copenhagen, where we visited Sustania – a communications company that helps to transition businesses into a more sustainable market. They also have a “matchmaking” service, where they connect businesses to sustainable solutions around the world! In all honesty, I didn’t really consider myself a sustainable person before this trip, but I’ve learned so much from my environmentally conscious friends and really digging deep into the effects that my actions have, so I appreciate field studies like this one!

Tips for future students:

  • If you can, just bring a backpack on your core course trip. Most classes don’t really need more than that, and it’s annoying to drag around a roll suitcase!
  • Spend time socializing with the people in your class: the more, the better! After three days, chances are you’ll have a few people who you can consider friends.
  • On the flip side, know when to say no – core course week is exhausting and at the end of the day you may just want to some down time, which is okay!
  • Do some research on where you’re going – there’s not much free time, and you don’t want to spend the little you have wandering around aimlessly (unless that’s your thing, in which case go for it!)

In the end, core course week can be daunting, and its easy to be nervous if you don’t know many people in your class. That being said, this is the time to make new friends and be open to new experiences, so have fun and enjoy it! After going through this week and getting to know my classmates, I’m only more excited for London (three weeks!)

Until then, I’ll be welcoming the fall here in Copenhagen and enjoying the perfect sweater weather that it brings. (:

Tak and vi ses!

Erin

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