International Writers Magazine: Denmark
the city of smiles
Marianne de Nazareth
been just over five months since I began my course in Aarhus,
Denmark, with the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Journalism and Media
within Globalization: The European Perspective and its already
so fulfilling. 36 journalists from 19 different countries have
come together to study for two years, far away from their home
countries for the European experience.
It was as I got off my plane in Copenhagen from Bangalore,
India, and took the train to Aarhus that I realized how warm and
welcoming the Danes as a race are. Helpful hands just scooped
up my packed suitcases and helped me get in and off the train
We began the course
in August 2006 and now it is December and it feels we have always lived
here in Aarhus. Its a great little city with a character quite
unlike any other city in Europe. We have mastered the art of taking
buses to any part of the city we need to. Buying a bus pass gives us
the freedom to hop on and hop off and ride anywhere we please. Its
also a great way to see the city and get familiar with all the landmarks
around like the City Centre, Nobel Parken, Statsbiblioteket and of course
the Journalisthojskolen where we attend class three times a week.
The Journalism School is situated in a stylish 70s concrete
building on Olafe Palme Alle, a pretty tree lined boulevard. And our
course about Globalization in Media cannot be held in a more perfect
setting with a class full of international students. Our classes are
interesting as we are learning to define globalization in a global setting
so understanding the concept it easy for us journos. Infact the very
first assignment we did was to focus on the Mohammed cartoons and the
furore it created all across the world dragging Denmark into the limelight
which it prefers not to be in.
We write our assignments in the quiet of our kolligiet rooms or in the
snazzy up-to-date computer rooms in the Journalism School. Aarhus is
a city conducive to study and the University should have a lot more
courses in English to enable international students to enjoy studying
in Denmark rather than the more favoured US and UK. The City is green
and clean and has the correct eclectic mix of fashion and fun, pubs
and libraries, to give a student an all round education. The fact that
it is not as expensive as getting an education in the US or UK is also
an added advantage.
I am doubly lucky as I have cousins here I never knew existed, in Aarhus.
They have given me a deeper insight into the Danish way of life and
Marie Ann (who is Danish) and Danny have taught me how to cook Frikadellers
from scratch and enjoy them with potatoes and sauce like a true Dane.
I think most Danes are great cooks and my room mate who is Danish whips
up cakes for 25 people like it was the easiest thing on earth. Marianne
is just a 20 year old medical student! We Indians could learn a lot
from Danes who seem to be hard working and lead a simple traditional
As I sit writing this on my laptop in my kolligiet I see mothers teaching
their little ones to cycle quite fearlessly on the road. I see Dads
taking their little babies out for a stroll to buy groceries. I see
grandparents indulging their grandchildren in the malls. A warm family
life seems to be high on a Danes wish list which a lot of the world
should learn from. Plus cycling is good for the environment and if more
people cycled we would have less environmental pollution and fresh air
like in Aarhus, back in India.
This is an old civilization like mine in India and so Denmark is a place
to be savoured. Besides students, travelers should be more informed
and aware about the beauty and the history of the place. Before I came
here I just thought Denmark was a cold and dark place and am so pleasantly
surprised by the warmth or what I am told is a particularly long summer.
In Aarhus, Den Gamle By is definitely a place to visit,
to see first hand how old and prosperous a civilization it is.
And dont be perturbed when you first encounter the big built,
blue eyed, blonde Dane. Like Hagar the Horrible the much loved comic
strip hero, the Vikings are a gentle peace loving race and you will
enjoy every minute of your visit here.
© Marianne de Nazareth December 2006
Erasmus Mundus Masters in Journalism and Media within Globalization:
The European Perspective
University of Aarhus, Denmark
Danish School of Journalism
the Indian Ocean
Marianne de Nazareth
Travel in Hacktreks
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