Well, I finally made it! Semester over. From start to finish, it worked out a whole lot longer than a semester back in NZ. While the teaching period was shorter (some classes only 8 weeks) the exam period was the clincher. It seems every department is operating on their own terms, and my exams were spread out over 5 weeks, starting 2 weeks after my last class. On the one hand it was the most stress free exam period I have ever had, being over such a long period (I see why Danes all look so young). On the other hand it was mind numblingly boring and I would have much preferred get them all out of the way in 2 weeks (as I am used to) and having a longer summer. Oh well, its all done now!
The Danish style, as I wrote about at the beginning of semester, is really different to what I’m used to in NZ, which is very much based on a traditional British model of academia. This was definitely the first semester (excluding law papers in NZ) where I have actually read every textbook cover to cover, as for the most part, rather than lecturers just summing up the material in the textbook and telling you what you need to know, in Denmark anything in your textbook is examinable, and classes (mostly) are more discussion of the content and solving cases using the theories you have just learned, rather than simply reciting the key points to you. So there is a definite need to keep up with readings throughout the semester if you are going to get anywhere. The other thing I really like is that problems in class and the exams themselves were case based, using realistic examples. So much was the focus on how the real world works, that some of my lecturers were external businessmen, and two of my exams were presentations rather than a written test.
The part I didn’t like, however, was that solving the cases tended to be more about doing what the lecturer wanted/citing the right theories for the course than the best answer to the problem. But if you knew what they were looking for it wasn’t too hard to get a good grade. The trouble came when the lecturer wasn’t at all clear on what they were looking for.
All in all I really enjoyed my semester, and found my courses a lot more interesting than other business papers I have taken. I’m unsure if that is because of the more realistic/practical way of teaching or because papers always get more interesting as you progress through your degree, though.
Finally, the absolute best part of it was meeting all of the wonderful people I did this semseter. It was like being in first year again, with loads of others in a similar situation and being completely surrounded by new faces and I loved it. I made so many great friends from all over europe, and luckily most of the Danish ones and a few two-semester exchange students will still be there next semester. For the rest who have now left, it is really sad to see so many great friends go, but I hope to see them all again, and luckily, for those in Europe I’ll be able to visit them this summer!
I learned about so many great cultures, and met loads of likeminded people having the time of their lives on exchange, some of which I travelled with too. I am so glad I’m doing a second semester in Aarhus because it was just the most amazing time, and I definifely am not ready to say goodbye yet, so I imagine it must have been really hard for those who have had to go. It is also really strange that a bunch of my friends are disappearing, to be replaced with a new group of exchange students. I am definitely looking forward to meeting the new ones (there will be another kiwi from Otago Uni which is exciting, I can finally use my full vocabulary of slang to someone who will understand it), though there is definitely no replacing the friends I made this semester!