luni, 31 august 2015

Introduction days at UCN #nordicadventures

This week I got a piece of student life. UCN held introduction days where lecturers spoke about the school, about the teaching methods (reflective practice-based learning, to be more precise) and well, Denmark. Besides that, we also got help filling in the forms for residence permit, a job seminar and a party. 

One interesting thing I've learned about UCN these days is that we will have this "Insights Profile". It is sort of a personality test. Normally it would cost about 100 euros I believe but the school will "test" us for free so that's something I'm quite excited about. The results of the test will indicate one's strengths, weaknesses, what makes you happy, mad, how people should approach you and so on. It's like an honest, objective essay of yourself. 

Now, the first thing that shocked me was how organized the events were. Well, the country itself is very well organized and that is something you can tell by the attention to details, such as the bus stations (about which I will write more in another post). Everything had its place and everything was done by the clock. In Romania, the events held by schools were chaotic. Nobody knew what's going on, where to sit down and how to react. 

The other thing that shocked me (BIG TIME) were drunk people. I understand the fact that Danes drink a lot and I don't really care. However, I was coming home by bus from a party on Friday and I was shocked by the number of drunk people. I swear, I have never seen so many drunk and stoned people ever in my life. And trust me, I've been places. I have never seen people you normally see at respected offices not being able to walk straight. Some people might say that I'm judging and so on but I believe being able to tell whom you want to be around is a sign of maturity. The people you surround yourself with define you because you choose them according to your values and principles. 

Anyway, all in all, school left me with a very good first impression. I don't think I've ever been so eager to learn as I am now and I can't wait to start the programme (which will happen tomorrow as it is the first official day). 

If you have any questions you think I could help you with regarding Denmark or education in Denmark, do not hesitate to drop me a message, I'd be glad to help :)

luni, 24 august 2015

First days in Denmark #nordicadventures

Denmark, oh, Denmark!

 Moving to another country is surely not easy. I believe the first major situation I encountered was transportation. Since I moved about 2000 km away from home and I had many luggages, a plane wasn't much of an option. In order to get a reasonable price we had to take a bus, so it took us around 32 hours to get here. Since I usually get sick on such long distances, I had to take medicine with me. However, the perk of going with the bus for such a long distance is that you get to see many cities. In fact, at night we got to see Prague (quite dissapointing, to be honest, but I guess the touristic places of the city are nicer). Even though we spent most of the journey on highways, we stopped in several cities in Denmark and got to see some of them (including Copenhagen).

 The first thing that really hit me after I arrived in Denmark was that the bus station closes at night. We arrived to our city at around 10 PM and had to meet the caretaker for our keys the next day at 10 AM. We were planning to stay in the bus station over night but this sort of ruined our plans so we had to spend 160 euros for a night at the hotel. Trust me, carrying all those luggages to the hotel was so much fun! The funny thing is that the next day I found out that the hotel where we spent the night is the cheapest in the town. Paradoxically lucky, I guess.

 The best thing so far is our apartment. We got really lucky, it's close to pretty much every supermarket and to the city center. However, until you buy a bike, commuting is hell. I bought a monthly bus pass today and it cost me 378 kroners which is about 50 euros. As far as I've heard, having a bike that doesn't have any papers can cost you a new bike (which is around 3000-5000 kroners) because if the police stops you and asks for your papers and you don't have any, you will get a fine. Needless to say, most second-hand bikes you find on sale don't have papers.

 One fun thing we did since we got here was going to IKEA. Once in a lifetime in experience. And when I say "once in a lifetime" I mean it. So, as I mentioned before, we don't have bikes yet and when we decided to go to IKEA, we didn't have the bus pass either. So, we did what any sane person would do, we walked there. 9 KILOMETERS! It was hell, I swear. The best part wasn't even the walk: we bought a book shelf (dissembled, obviously). Since our feet were almost bleeding, we took a bus back home. (NB: Taxi is not really an option here, unless you're a millionaire. We paid 200 kroners for 3 kilometers, which is around 20-25 euros). When we got into the bus, the driver quite agressively told us that "THIS IS DENMARK", as if we were outlaws. Apparently, you are not allowed to carry heavy stuff in the bus. I'm not trying to pretend that I'm like a Danish citizen or anything because I'm obviously not. However, for what I know, in order to make a country grow economically and spiritually (I guess) you must make people feel like home, not to make them want to go as far away as possible. Other than that driver, everyone is really nice and friendly. In fact, Danish people smile at you randomly on the street and that's really nice. However, that bus driver was one of the first people I encountered here and he made me feel pretty bad, he left me with a bad impression on the people here since he agressively pointed out that we'll never be "one of them". Or at least that's what I got out of what he said.

 One thing I can tell you for sure now that I'm an international student on the other side of the continent: Denmark is expensive. Food prices are crazy, not to mention the furniture. You can't even get close to new furniture. Expect to buy everything second-hand. Also, if you don't like rain, just give up. Go to Spain or some place warm, stay away from Denmark. I swear, one minute it's sunny and nice and the other there's a storm coming with crazy speed. As someone recently told me: THE WEATHER IS A LIE!!!

 I'm hoping to have better experiences from now on. I will start school tomorrow so I'm looking forward to that :)