Adventures of An Aspiring Librarian

A Semester Abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark

on January 23, 2014

Instead of returning to UNC for my second semester in Library School, I decided to take advantage of a formal exchange/study abroad agreement my school has with the Royal School of Library and Information Science in Copenhagen, Denmark! I wanted to see how other libraries in Europe work. As Scandinavian libraries are famous around the world, this was the obvious choice for me. 🙂

So, at the end of August 2013, off I flew to Denmark! It was my first time in a country where I did not speak the language and where I barely knew a soul. I will be quoting and re-posting some of my experiences from my blog that I posted to when I was in Denmark. This was one of my first posts after I finished my first week in the country:

Random Fun Facts I’ve Discovered About Denmark:

Since Tuesday, I’ve started to explore and adjust to my new city. I’ve discovered a few fun things along the way.

1. In Denmark, putting salad dressing on your pizza is normal.

2. As much as some people here, you would THINK that there would be a problem with trash and cans everywhere along the streets. However, Copenhagen is one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever been in. One thing I discovered that helps keep the city clean is the government’s efforts to recycle. If you return a can or recyclable to the grocery store in Denmark, you get money back for it (so if a can of beer cost 3 kroner, you would get 1 kroner back). This is a great incentive for people to recycle!

3. It’s incredibly windy here! I really didn’t expect that. Sometimes entire businesses here run on the energy of the wind, though! This new hotel in Copenhagen is an example…it definitely gets at least some of its energy from that windmill!

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4. The Danes love to have jam on their ice cream. And it seems like they love ice cream in general…there are so many ice cream stores everywhere right now…perhaps because it’s summer. I’m not complaining! It’s delicious, especially when you eat it when walking along Nyhavn Harbour in the inner city.

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The Orientation to my new school was very different as well, and I had to adapt accordingly:

Orientation at RSLIS

Last Thursday and Friday I had Orientation at the Royal School of Library and Information Science! I met up with the other international students in my program (which is thankfully in English) and we had two full days of information thrown at us! We learned about the history of the school, how it is now a part of the University of Copenhagen (as of April!) and how the school focuses on the intersection between information and culture, which is a concept that I have not seen a lot of during my time in library school. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes! Here are some pictures of my school!

As part of the Orientation, we got to know our fellow students, our professors, and “of course” (my Danish mentor advised us) our local bartender. Everyone seemed quite happy to have us there, and we even had a little welcome party to mix the new international students with the new Danish students.

This is a Danish game we played at our Orientation. Unlike most American “break the ice” orientation games, this one involved drinking. You have to throw a shoe, knock over the bottle in the middle, and while the other side runs to stand it upright again, your team drinks. The first team to finish their beers wins. And so on and so forth. Our international team wasn’t very good at this, despite having some Germans on our team. 😉

The school had some formal events for us to attend as well, so we all went to the Immatriculation Ceremony down at the University of Copenhagen, where the president of the university and all of the deans welcomed us to the school. It was very fancy, with a choir singing in Danish and everything. You can see the president giving his speech below:

All in all it was a fantastic Orientation, and it really has helped prepare me for my semester. There was a lot of information, but hopefully I can continue to process it as I go.

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