Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

Study Abroad Discussion

February 22, 2010
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On Friday, I had an opportunity to sit down with two first-year MBA’s who are planning to study abroad this fall. The conversation is in the YouTube below:

Listening to Derek and Emily talk about their excitement and what they hope to get out of the program was nice for me, too. Their thoughts reminded me again why I was so excited to go to Denmark and what I gained out of the trip on the other end. Cross-cultural immersion is a powerful experience, one that opens your eyes to just how big the world is, and how relativistic expectations and happiness can be. I’m a better, more thoughtful person for having gone through it, and I’m sure that while those two will have their own unique experiences, they will report similar conclusions when they return.

Derek and Emily are in for an amazing trip, and I wish them both the best.


Denmark

October 19, 2009
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After last weekend’s adventures with Kultur Natten, I knew topping that experience with Danish culture would be hard to top. Somehow we managed to exceed that lofty standard with room to spare this past weekend. Starting on Friday afternoon, myself, Jeff, Simone, Albane and Marine squeezed in a tour of the Carlsberg Museum followed by a 36-hour banzai road trip up the Danish coast. We drove from CPH through Odense before stopping for the night in Aarhus. On Sunday morning, we continued to the northernmost point in Denmark, the beach in Grenen just above the town of Skagen. Then we turned around and finished our trip with a quick stop in Aalborg for dinner before heading back to Copenhagen. Below are some highlights from the trip.

Carlsberg Museum Tour: Full disclaimer, I am a beer lover, so this was an awesome experience for me. The Carlsberg Museum features the world’s largest collection of unopened beer bottles, totaling nearly 15,000 items.

That's a lot of beer

That's a lot of beer

After witnessing (and that’s what we were, witnesses) the beer collection, we went downstairs where there was a large exhibit featuring the history of Danish brewing and the Carlsberg brewery from circa 4000 BC to present day. Did you know that the Vikings used to drink out of human skulls? Or that Danes in the 18th century regularly consumed 10-30 liters of beer/day (4 liters = 1 gallon). That’s a lot of beer. When we finished walking around the other exhibits, we headed upstairs to collect our reward for the day: two free beers at the Carlsberg Museum bar. And what a reward it was! I had my first non-Pilsner beer since I arrived here, quaffing a large Blonde Bock. I’m happy to report that the atmosphere in the bar was excellent and that the beer was entirely delicious. Highly recommended for any tourist through Copenhagen.

Odense: On Saturday morning, our gang gathered at 8:00 to catch the S-tog and pick up our rental car. Like everything else in Denmark, the cars and roads are small by American standards. However, we had no problem fitting five comfortably in our 5-door Opal hatchback, and traffic was light through our entire trip.

The group minus me, from l-to-r: Marine, Simone, Albane, Jeff

The group minus me, from l-to-r: Marine, Simone, Albane, Jeff

The Danish countryside is beautiful, and the weather couldn’t have been better for nearly the whole weekend. As we drove from Copenhagen, we were treated to rolling hillsides, spectacular fall color on the trees, a beautiful rainbow over the Fixed Link and lots and lots of wind turbines. Denmark gets more of its power from wind then any other country in the world, and we saw ample evidence of this all over the countryside. From an aesthetics perspective, the wind turbines really didn’t detract from the scenery at all. The turbines, with their 60-m blades and slow circular turns, seemed to fit right into everything else we saw.

Fall color on the road

Fall color on the road

Odense itself was a pleasant city, and the highlights included a very nice walking street with plenty of shops and live music, as well as a brief stop in one of the oldest churches in Denmark. Inside the church we saw the remains of a King who had been entombed there in 1086. We also tried to tour Hans Christian Andersen’s house, but the high entry fee and lack of time kept us moving.

Aarhus: We arrived in Aarhus around 3:30, checked into our hostel and then took off on foot to see the town. Aarhus is the 2nd-largest city in Denmark and features excellent restaurants, ample shopping and a great nightlife. During our time in Aarhus, we walked all over the downtown area, and after finding a small park with a windmill, we stopped to enjoy the sunset over the city.

Our stopping point for the sunset

Our stopping point for the sunset

Aarhus was particularly notable for its city planning and architecture. It was like Copenhagen taken to the next level. Beautiful, old churches mixed with high-end commerical shops. Walking streets and ample bike lanes lined with creatively-built apartments and residences. Canals winding through the downtown area on their way to the Baltic Sea. It was a very romantic city and environment, unlike any other city I’ve been in while traveling through the US.

Aarhus is beautiful

Aarhus is beautiful

Skagen and Grenen: On Sunday morning, we departed for the northernmost point in Denmark, the beaches of Grenen just outside the town of Skagen (pronounced Skain). It’s hard to describe the serenity of the beach as it curved north, surrounded on the west, north and east by the ocean. There were several dozen other visitors, but it didn’t seem to detract from the solitude of the environment and the thoughts and emotions it provoked. While the trip added 300 km to the tally, it was more than worth the extra effort and cost. Skagen was one of the true high-points of the trip and of my time here in Denmark so far. The return home was fairly uneventful, and this has been my longest blog post on record, so instead of more words, I’ll leave you with some pictures I took at Grenen:

WW2 Bunker in front of the entrance to the Baltic Sea

WW2 Bunker in front of the entrance to the Baltic Sea

The walk out to the point

The walk out to the point

The northern-most point in Denmark

The northern-most point in Denmark


Small Milestone & Brief! Hiatus

October 16, 2009
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At some point in the next several hours, this blog will cross the 5,000 unique page view mark. While the point of this blog has never been to simply collect page views, I do think it’s  a milestone worth noting. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, please let me know what you think about the content and the style. I’d love to hear your feedback so I can keep improving the blog.

On another note, I’ll be leaving early tomorrow morning for my first “trip.” Myself and four other friends will be renting a car to spend 36 hours driving up and down the main Danish island of Jutland. We’ll be traveling to Aalborg and Arhus with a potential stop at Skagen, the most northern point in Denmark, if we have time.

It will be exciting to leave Copenhagen if only briefly, and I’m looking forward to bringing back lots of excellent pictures and videos to share. I’ll resume normal blogging on Monday after I return. As they would say in Denmark: “Hej hej!”


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