Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The party began with a huge potluck dinner for each faculty (with plenty of cheap beer). After dinner, they closed and locked all of the university buildings. The party moved outside to where several large tents had been set up (with various bands and Djs playing).
The party continued until sunrise (typical for Denmark), although we were embarassingly Canadian and headed off around 2 or 3 am.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
You can find some photos of my bike in our photos
Also, each course has only one class per week. It is four hours long, but it means there is less traveling back and forth to school, and less temptation to skip. Most often, there is 1-2 hours of lectures (with some breaks) and then 2-3 hours of group exercises. It really sucks though when the prof decides to have four hours of lecturing (like my Friday morning class).
There are no weekly assignments; my marks are either based on a final project or entirely on the final exam. So, we’ll have to see how long I keep up this whole “attendance” thing, especially once it starts to rain.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
We experience sticker shock every time we go shopping. For one thing, 1$ = 5Kr, so all prices seem ridiculous (15Kr for a loaf of bread, 50Kr for a block of cheese). Secondly, there is a 25% tax included in all prices. Thirdly, minimum wage in Denmark is 100Kr/hr (that’s right, 20$/hr), so Danes think a pizza for 50Kr is a bargain…
There are a couple exceptions to the high prices:
- Beer. It can be bought in student bars for 20Kr/pint (for Carlsberg or Tuborg, and the tip is already included). Or, a bottle can be bought in the supermarket for about 5Kr (for real beer) or 2Kr (for the cheap stuff).
- IKEA. It is the only big-box store in Denmark (the equivalent of WalMart). You can get an extension cord for 5Kr, or a down-filled duvet cover for 75Kr (in almost any other store, you can’t buy a plain white t-shirt for 75Kr). We live within a 30 minute walk from IKEA, and we’ve already been about five times so far.
Friday, September 16, 2005
As such, the campus is even laid out in a nerdy way. The campus is divided into quadrants (like you learned about in math class). Then buildings are numbered based on their quadrant and their distance from the centre. Disciplines of study were then assigned to each quadrant ( 1-physics, 2-chemistry, 3-electrical/computers, 4-civil/mechanical). As if that’s not nerdy enough, the side streets are all named after scientific terms. Usually, it indicates the topics of study in the area (for instance, my Electric Circuits class is on Elektrovej).
I’ve uploaded a map of DTU and some pictures of the different street signs to the DTU folder in our photos.
Monday, September 12, 2005
There's also a little lake, within a block of our apartment. There's a trail around the lake, that makes for a nice run (ask Marieke). All the old rich people go there for evening strolls, and to feed the swans.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
We were also presented with the “Bumblebee” explanation: Physics says that a bumblebee should not be able to fly, but it somehow does.
Similarly, common sense says that the following elements of Danish culture should not work:
- they pay 60% income tax, without complaints
- they pay 25% sales tax, without complaints
- their welfare system pays about the same as minimum wage, so there is little economic benefit to having a job
- there is little acknowledgement of exceptional work
- you can be fired or laid-off, without warning or compensation
But, somehow it all works.
We were taught this game during my Introduction week at DTU, in order to explain a bit about Danish culture.
Roundball is like baseball, except:
- the bases are closer
- you hit a tennis ball
- you hit with a huge paddle
- the ‘pitcher’ lightly tosses the ball to the hitter. He cannot strike you out. After three attempts, you are allowed to walk to first base.
- there can be more than one person per base, so you don’t have to run if someone hits poorly.
- you are ‘out’ if someone catches the ball, or if your ball first lands in the out-of bounds area (a ‘foul’ ball), or if you are off-base when the pitcher has the ball.
The secret to the game (that everyone knows) is to aim your ball so that it lands in-bounds but rolls as far as possible out-of-bounds (where no catchers can stand before you hit). Then, you can run around a few bases, before anyone can get to the ball.
After the ball is hit, and returned to the pitcher, the discussions begin:
- did the ball land out-of-bounds?
- was anyone off-base when the ball was returned to the pitcher?
- how many people crossed 4th base?
- how many ‘outs’ does your team now have?
- what is the new score?
This is the real demonstration of Danish culture, as the score of the game is reached by consensus between both teams.
Monday, September 05, 2005
By comparison, our apartment is enormous, in great condition and cheap. We share our apartment with an 18-year old high school student who inherited the apartment from her grandmother this summer. We have two large rooms to ourselves: a bedroom with a huge closet and a “living room” with a couch, desk, and dinner table. We share the kitchen and bathroom, but most of the time we have the whole 120 square meter apartment to ourselves.
Photos of our apartment, as well as the "containers" some students live in, are available in our photos