Core Course Week

From February 4th through the 8th, I traveled with my Core Course for Core Course Week which is a three-day Study Tour in Denmark (or a neighbouring country) and a two-day seminar in Copenhagen related to our Core Course curriculum.

My core course is European Business Strategies and for the first part of the week, we traveled to Western Denmark. Later in the week, we returned to Copenhagen to hear from a former employee of Maersk and visit Carlsberg Brewery.

This was such an incredible opportunity to learn about Danish Companies and the structure of a variety of businesses here in Denmark.

Check out some of the highlights below!

Monday:

  • We left Copenhagen in the morning and headed to Aarhus for our first visit at Jysk
  • At Jysk, we got a presentation about the company’s atmosphere and their strategic positioning within the market
  • After the presentation, we went to a nearby Jysk store to look around and think about what we just heard
  • Then, we went to go check in to hotel and got to explore Aarhus for a few hours before dinner
  • We had dinner at Italian restaurant and were served lots and LOTS of delicious pizza

Tuesday:

  • We had breakfast at hotel, loaded up the bus, and walked to the Aarhus Art Museum (this museum is well known for the exhibit Your Rainbow Panorama ‘Your Rainbow Panorama‘)
  • Our next visit was at Blue Water Shipping in Esbjerg
  • Once we arrived, we toured the harbour on the bus then got a presentation from Claus about the various business segments of the company and a new project they are working on
  • After the visit, we checked into hostel and went to dinner at Flammen

Wednesday:

  • We had breakfast at hostel then headed to our visit with Viking Life Saving Equipment
  • We got a tour of where some of their products are made and then went to a presentation given by Elizabeth, who is a Global Marketing Communications Manager, about the structure of the company and the products they offer their customers
  • On our way home, we stopped at Nyborg Destilleri for lunch and a tour of where they make their whiskey (plus we go to try some!)

Thursday:

  • We meet for a few hours in the morning to hear from Adrian, a former employee of Maersk, about how strategies can fail for companies and how it is essential to implement a sustainable strategy for long term success.

Friday:

  • We met at Carlsberg Brewery and got a tour of Carlsberg City while learning about the history of the company
  • After the tour, we heard from Charlotte, who is a Brand Manager for Craft & Speciality Beers, and got an introduction to the project we will be working on towards the end of the semester

Hej hej,

Carolyn

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Happiness & hygge

I knew studying abroad for an entire semester was going to be a challenge for me. Of course it’s an incredible opportunity, and I’m SO thankful and blessed to be able to spend a semester in Copenhagen, but being away from home and the people I am most comfortable around is difficult for me. Comfort zones are definitely a thing and I have been pushed way way way outside of mine (for the better). I may have cried a once or twice and called my parents a few too many times…but I am taking it one day at a time and focusing on the happy moments I am having with my host family, new friends, and myself.

25.01.19 – This Friday had quite a few happy moments. The day started with Victoria bringing me breakfast in bed which is already a good day in my book, but it got better. I didn’t have the one class I usually have on Fridays, so I got to just hang at home. There was a handball game at night (Denmark won) and during the game we had hot dogs for dinner (a very American food, but somehow better in Denmark). This wonderful day ended with some delicious dessert pancakes, that I hope we have again soon, and a sleepover with Ida!

26.01.19 – This snowy Saturday started with my favorite thing ever: FRENCH TOAST. I had my mom send me her recipe for french toast because I was lead chef on these. We also had eggs, toast, bacon, sausages, and coffee. I was very satisfied after this brunch. Later on in the day, Ida, Victoria, and I went to a nearby park and I took lots and lots of pictures of them. We warmed up afterwards with some hot cocoa topped with whipped cream made by Lena.

27.01.19 – Sunday was a big day in Denmark because it was the Handball World Championship game (Denmark vs. Norway). To celebrate, Lena’s parents came over to watch the game and then we had dinner after the big win.

28.01.19 – I remember being so tired this day, but I’m happy I pushed through that and decided to go to the Handball World Championship celebration at City Hall. It was such an awesome experience to see thousands of people gather to cheer on the Handball team. My friend and I only got to the square about 15 minutes before it was scheduled to start, yet we were able to get pretty close. By the time we wanted to leave, we struggled to push through the enormous mob of people that had gathered behind us. Thankfully, we eventually got out.

29.01.19 – For those who don’t know, I applied to be an Official DIS blogger this semester (hence, the blog), and I got one of the positions! We had the orientation meeting on this Tuesday to get some tips and tricks for our blogs. Plus, there were pastries so that always calls for a smile. (Check out my official DIS Blogger Badge at the bottom of my blog!!)

30.01.19 – Skt. Peders Bageri is a bakery in Copenhagen that is famous for it’s mouth-watering onsdagssnegle (a cinnamon rolls whose name literally translates to Wednesday Snails). I got up early to get one with Victoria, and it definitely lived up to the hype. Later on, Victoria and I met Troels to go visit Lena at her work. She is a chef at a tech company, and a team of them cater meals to the staff at the company everyday. We got there for her lunch time so we could eat with her and meet her coworkers. This happy day continued when I got to go watch Ida’s ballet practice. I couldn’t understand a word the teacher was saying, but it was so fun to watch.

31.01.19 – Thursday’s happy moment was some hygge time with some friends at a local bar. It was such a chill atmosphere with aesthetic surroundings to just sit and chat with friends.

02.02.19 – This Saturday included one of my favorite adventure so far! Victoria, our friend Paola, and I went to Torvehallerne (AKA The Glass Market) and walked around for a few hours. The market has two buildings and an outdoor area filled with lots of food, drinks, and random shops. We all wanted to try something, but we didn’t know what to get so we tried to check out every place there (and take all the free samples we could find). We finally settled on getting three empanadas to split. On the way out, we also got two chocolate frogs. Later on, Lena’s friend Ann came over for dinner with her daughter and two host students. It was so fun to chat with them and see how their experience has been so far. Dinner was delicious (obviously) and we had cake for dessert. It was honestly one of the best cakes I’ve had in my entire life – no exaggeration (see below for a mouth-watering picture).

03.02.19 – Sunday was a very chill day, and I got to choose what was for dinner. I chose tacos!!!! They were absolutely delicious. After dinner, I talked with my parents on FaceTime (hi mom & dad). Then I packed for Core Course Week which will be my first time out of Copenhagen!

Not specifically mentioned, but lots of hygge time in between all of this! Mostly cards with Ida and Victoria, but also movies, after-dinner conversation, and more!

You’ll hear from me soon with some details about Core Course Week which includes travels to Western Denmark.

Hej hej,

Carolyn

Kaffe, kaffe og mere kaffe

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE any type of coffee or espresso drink. Lucky for me, Danes also love their coffee, so I fit right in. I’ve decided to keep a running list of the cafés I try and my informal review of them (which will probably mostly be all positive).

  • Studenterhuset: This was the first coffee shop I went to here! I’ve only had the regular coffee but it was really good (especially after some milk and cream). DIS students get a membership here during the semester, so it’s a good place to get a cheap(er) drink and hang out. It has two floors with a winding staircase and lots of seating. Plus, the chocolate croissants are delicious 🙂
  • Next Door Cafe: Almost literally a hole in the ground, BUT super cute on the inside. The tables have a glass layer on top with unique mementos underneath like postcards, stamps, event flyers, a DIS student ID (whoops), etc. Lighting is not good for homework-doing and there is not a lot of seating, but it’s good if you’re just looking for a place to drink some caffeine, eat a snack, or chat with friends.
  • Coffee from home: Ok…not a coffee shop, but in an attempt to not spend all of my money on lattes this semester, I make coffee almost every morning at home and take it to-go. My host family makes their coffee with a french press from IKEA (just like the one I own). I’m not a fan of straight black coffee so of course I add milk (oat milk when we have it <3) and sugar
  • Emmery’s: I want to say that this is kind of like Starbucks of Copenhagen (along with a place called Espresso House). I see these coffee shops all over the city center and around where I live. When I went, I got a latte and it was decent but nothing special in my opinion. The shop I went to was nice and bright, had lots of seating, and some yummy looking pastries. Good place to get some work done between classes!
  • Café g: We had an event organized by DIS for our all the host families and students in our housing network here, and I’m so glad I got to go because not only did I get a FREE latte and chocolate cake, but they were so good. Definitely the classiest coffee shop/restaurant I’ve been to so far, and the best part was I didn’t have to spend a krone.
  • Café in The Royal Library: When Victoria and I ventured to the Royal Library (aka Black Diamond), we did not have coffee at home so I bought a latte here. Probably overpriced for the size and quality, but it was a cute little open cafe with lots of seating and light.
  • Tak for Kaffe: So, the day I went to this coffee shop I woke up late for my class because I didn’t hear my alarm. I got ready as fast as humanly possible and sprinted to class because attendance and participation is taken very seriously at DIS and in Denmark in general. I’m not usually one to be late so I was freaking out. It all turned out ok though, and my professor was very impressed with how quickly I got to class….not exactly brownie points but I’ll take it. After my two morning classes, I have a little break and I was still very flustered from my morning so naturally I decide to treat myself to a latte. This coffee shop was adorable – one of my favorites so far. Not a lot of seating, but very bright and reasonably prices lattes (plus I’ve heard you can get a large cup of coffee for a good price, so I’ll be back).
  • The Little Yellow Cafe Bar: I left the house early one morning before my 08.30 class so I could stop at this coffee shop which is steps from DIS. I didn’t get to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere, but the latte was really good and reasonably priced. Overall, it was a cute, quaint place that I would love to go back to so I can sit down and enjoy!
  • 7-Eleven: Kind of regret going to this one because I KNEW the coffee wouldn’t be unique or super good, but 7-Eleven’s are everywhere here (and substantially nicer than the typical 7-Eleven in the United States), so if you are in a pinch and need caffeine, it’s not the worst ever but certainty not the best.
  • Buzz Kaffebar: I’m considering this one an honorary mention for right now because I didn’t actually order any coffee or food (I had already drank two lattes this day…), but the inside was adorable and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. It was small and a little cramped but a decent amount of seating considering. I definitely want to go back to try a drink!
  • Skt. Peders Bageri: Uh okay, I didn’t get coffee here, but I went here on a Wednesday because they sell a special cinnamon roll called a onsdagssnegle (which translates to “Wednesday snail”) and it was INCREDIBLE. You can either get a sugared or frosted one, and I decided to get the sugared. Definitely will be going back on a Wednesday, and maybe I’ll try the coffee too…
  • Coffee Industry Sweden: I got a small latte (obviously) and it was AMAZING – another one of my favorites. Also, the inside is the cutest ever! It has 2 floors, lots of seating, nice music, and cute signs everywhere. Good place to go between classes or to get work done!

There are lots of places I’ve heard of and seen that I want to try, but I’ve got lots of time for that! My wishlist right now includes: Democratic Coffee, Joe & The Juice, Lagkagehuset, and Mad & Kaffe

Add ons (11.2.19)

  • Joe & The Juice: I went here on a weekend to get some homework done. In terms of the “homework doing” environment, it isn’t great because of the low lighting and loud-ish music (the playlist was incredible though). I mostly went here to try their juice though and I wasn’t disappointed there. Instead of the typical latte, I got a juice called ‘Pick Me Up’ with raspberry, banana, and apple. It was delicious and I want to try more of their juices in the future, but it is on the pricier side.
  • Lagkagehuset: I got a pastry here (no coffee 😦 …maybe next time) and sat at a table during my break between classes. All the pastries looked so good – it was hard to choose which one to get. There was lots of seating and light, and it is very close to DIS which is always a plus!

Hej hej,

Carolyn

The start of a semester

“Scandinavia as your home, Europe as your classroom.” This simple phrase represents the entire DIS program and some of the things I have to look forward to this semester. I’ve been hearing and reading the phrase so often in the past few months that I was incredibly excited to start experiencing it. Thursday marked the first day of class, and just a few minutes in to my first class I was already able to see what a unique learning experience I will be getting in the next four months.

For those who aren’t familiar with DIS (which I’m assuming is most), it is a non-profit study abroad foundation which runs programs in both Copenhagen and Stockholm. Most of the classes are taught by professionals in that field of study, so they really are the experts on the topic you are learning. Throughout the semester, you not only learn from the faculty in the classroom, but also through Field Studies and Study Tours. The Field Studies are experiential learning opportunities that take place on Wednesdays around Copenhagen. (For example, this semester I am in a Sports Economics course and for one of the field studies, I get to attend a soccer match later in the semester and learn from some of the professionals who help run the organization — pretty cool, huh?) The Study Tours are another type of learning opportunity where we travel around Denmark and Europe with our classmates from our Core Course (which is the specific academic program we enrolled in when we picked our classes). I can’t say I completely understood how the program worked when I decided to apply, but I am so SO happy this is where I ended up.

A picture from my walk to class on Thursday.

I had three classes on Thursday (European Business Strategies, Meaning of Style, and Danish Language & Culture) and one on Friday (Sports Economics). They were mainly just focused on introductions of the professor, ourselves, and the course material, buuuuut I got a fun surprise in my Sports Economics class…

My professor, who works for Sport Event Denmark and is a specialist in bidding for and organizing sports events, gave everyone in the class two free tickets to attend a Handball game on the upcoming Sunday at Copenhagen’s newly built Royal Arena. Handball is a HUGE sport in Copenhagen and the Danes are even more excited than usual about it right now because the World Championship game (which Denmark seems to have a good shot of playing in) is taking place at the Royal Arena.

Then, after class on Friday, I headed back home to say goodbye to my host family for the weekend. They were traveling to see family in Western Denmark. The weekend mainly consisted of homework and hanging out with some friends.

Later on Sunday, Victoria and I met up with some of the girls from my Sports Economics class and went to the Handball game. The two teams playing in this game were Japan and Angola. Angola ended up pulling out a 32-29 win.

The game was just two quick 30-minute halves, and after it ended, Victoria and I headed to a social event for all the students in our homestay network. The event was held at a cute little café called Café g. We sat and talked to other host families and students for a short time while enjoying some coffee and delicious cake (pictured below). Then, we took the train home and waited for our host family to come home to eat dinner.

I was out of the house early on Monday morning for my 08:30 class and about midway through the lecture snowflakes began to fall outside the window. Something about Copenhagen snow if more beautiful than any other snow I’ve seen (and trust me, I’ve seen a lot of it). As I walked outside to my second class, the snow just kept coming down and it continued until the evening. After I got back home from class on Monday, Ida talked me in to playing cards with her until dinner instead of doing my homework (it didn’t take much convincing). Playing card games has kind of turned in to our nightly routine, and I LOVE IT. We both make a lot of funky noises and laugh a lot while playing — just ask Victoria.

Tuesdays are going to be my happy day during the week because I have no class, so I can do whatever I want (which today ended up being sleeping in until 10:30). Victoria made us eggs and toast for breakfast (how lucky am I??) and then we headed to the infamous Royal Library, AKA The Black Diamond. We had heard about its the stunning architecture and beautiful views, so we decided to go check it out. On our way to the library, we walked past some incredible buildings that I couldn’t help taking pictures of…

The Black Diamond definitely lived up to the hype. It is HUGE and includes a café (where I got a latte), six floors, and countless places to study. Victoria and I went in to one of the old reading rooms to get some work done. This room was extremely quiet (you could hear a pin drop), so OF COURSE I had to sneeze obnoxiously loud and have it echo for what felt like minutes. I tried not to look up, but Victoria said people were staring. Fortunately for everyone else, we didn’t stay too long, but I still got some cool pictures!

Hej hej,

Carolyn

P.S. Good luck to all my friends back in Madison who started their semesters today!!!

Getting settled & orientation

On Friday, January 12th, I spent the morning getting everything in order and fitting as much as possible in my suitcases. Around 14:00, I said my last goodbye to my dogs and then my dad, mom, sister (Kim), and I took off for O’Hare airport in Chicago. As we stood outside the TSA line, it didn’t take long for the tears to come. I’m so used to being less than 90 minutes away from my parents so imagining 4 months without them felt unbearable, but after some comforting words and big hugs, I was able to really begin my journey.

The first leg of my flight was from Chicago to Zürich which was expectedly long and surprisingly sleepless. During the flight, I watched three movies to pass the time (including Ocean’s 8, Crazy Rich Asians, and The Notebook). As the flight neared it’s end, I saw the point where the sky changed from night to day which was an incredible site.

The second part of my flight was from Zürich to Copenhagen. This flight was quick and I spent most of it reading. Once it landed, I went to get my checked bags and walked over to a hotel across the street with some other DIS students. As I was picking up my arrival folder, my host family was already there waiting! I met Victoria (the other American student living in my homestay) and my host family (Troels, Lena, and Ida).

Side note: I think I have the picture perfect host family. They live in Østerport in housing for military families (which is so close to the city center) because Troels is in the Royal Guard (…and he also skydives in his free time?!?!). My host mom, Lena, is a pastry chef at an IT company, makes excellent food at home, and is so so kind. Ida, my 11-year-old host sister, is absolutely adorable, speaks incredible English, and loves to have Hygge (which is a Danish word meaning a feeling of coziness and creating a warm atmosphere) time at night which so far has been spent watching TV and movies, eating candy and ice cream, and playing cards. Plus, they have the cutest little dog, Molly, who loves to snuggle (we’ve already taken two naps together!).

We arrived back at their house around 16:00. I spent some time unpacking my suitcases ( and for those who were wondering, I was able to narrow down my shoes to ~only~ 6 pairs!!) and setting up my room which I share with Victoria. After unpacking and relaxing a little, we ate a delicious dinner. I went to bed nice and early after over 24 sleepless hours.

On Sunday, I woke up for breakfast at 09:00 but took a short nap right after the meal was over. Later in the day, my host family walked me to the train station and taught me how to get to and from DIS. I am really, really bad at directions and remembering street names, so I’m sure the first few days of class will be an adventure, but hopefully I’ll know my way around by the end of the semester (not a very ambitious goal, I know). After learning where a few of the DIS buildings were, we decided to walk back home. I saw the infamous Nyhavn, the IT company where my host mom works , and Amalienborg where the royal families’ houses are located.

On Monday, it was the first day of the DIS welcoming events! Victoria and I got up bright and early to go to the opening ceremony which was in the old circus building. We were welcomed to the DIS program by the DIS Executive Director Malene Torp. Throughout the ceremony we heard music from Elisha, a rising pop star in Copenhagen, and got some words of advice from DIS alumni. Following the ceremony, we went to pickup our books for classes, learned about campus layout from a DIS student who is here for the entire year, went shopping at Normal and Flying Tiger (two stores with a variety of some unique items and some normal items). Our last adventure this day was getting our phones set-up with our new SIM cards and buying a data plan. By the end of our day near the DIS campus, we had experienced quite a mix of weather: rain, snow, and sunshine (but this seems like the norm for a day in Copenhagen). After dinner back at our host family’s house, Victoria, Ida, and I ran to the store to get ice cream and a Danish snack called flødeboller, which is essentially a chocolate covered marshmallow treat. We enjoyed these treats while watching A Star is Born (in English).

Elisha performing at the DIS Opening Ceremony

On Tuesday morning, Victoria and I attended our housing session to meet other students in homestays around where we are living. As a group, we discussed what our expectations we for the semester, what we think our host families are expecting from us, and how we can get the most out of this incredible experience. We also talked through some previous difficult situations that DIS students and host families have dealt with and how we can approach the situations in the best way. Between our housing session and some informational talks that were being given later, Victoria, me, and two new friends walked to The Little Mermaid statue. It was a long walk in some not-so-pleasant rain, but definitely worth it! We all got a few pictures with the statue and then took the train back to DIS for the informational sessions. I attended two sessions including “All Things Food” which as you can probably guess was about the most typical types of foods eaten in Copenhagen, the cost of eating out, the Danish names for staple foods, and how to food shop on a budget. Later that night, we ate a delicious chicken curry dish for dinner and (of course) ended the night by playing cards.

The Little Mermaid Statue
Playing a card game that Ida taught us!

Wednesday started with my academic orientation for my core course this semester which is European Business Strategies. The meeting was at a cute café called Studenterhuset and to my delight, there was free coffee and chocolate croissants (YUM). I got to meet a few people in my core course and learn about what we have in store for the semester. After the meeting, I spent some time at the café reviewing my syllabi for my classes. Thursday is the first day of classes and I have a early start (08:30), but I can’t wait to experience to DIS study abroad classroom experience!

Here’s a cute picture to leave you with of my host family’s dog, Molly ❤️.

Hej hej,

Carolyn

Less than 48 hours…

48 hours (well actually less than) until I hop on a plane and travel to Copenhagen, Denmark for a semester abroad!!! I will be studying abroad with DIS in Copenhagen! It’s crazy to think I am about to spend 4 months in a place that is completely foreign to me now but will hopefully start to feel like home in no time. I am so beyond excited (and maybe a liiiittle bit nervous) to begin this new adventure. Not only will this be the furthest I’ve ever been away from home but also the longest. Although I have my anxieties (probably like every other student who has ever studied abroad…ever), this experience will undoubtedly be life changing and I cannot wait to see where the semester takes me!!

I finally put off procrastinating my packing any longer and made some good progress today…although, I still have some work to do on narrowing down the number of shoes I’m going to bring (I’ll keep you updated). Besides wanting to bring too many pairs of shoes, I am a serial over-packer so I’ll definitely have to watch the weight on my bags, but I’ve got lots of friends and family to help me where I can’t seem to help myself. Stay tuned for the final product after the packing is complete!

So I guess maybe I should back up a little…Hi there! My name is Carolyn Bonnema and I am from New Berlin, Wisconsin (a city about 20 minutes west of Milwaukee, WI and 1.5 hours north of Chicago, IL). I am a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Economics and Retailing & Consumer Behavior. At Madison, I work a part-time job at a dining hall on campus and I am involved with a few different organizations on campus. The organization I am most involved in is Alpha Phi Omega-Beta Theta (APO, for short) which is a service fraternity. APO has given me the opportunity to meet some incredible people, volunteer around my community, and gain valuable leadership skills. Other than that, I love taking pictures (and plan to redecorate my blog very soon with my own pictures of Copenhagen/surrounding areas), being active but also relaxing, drinking coffee, and discovering the world!!! 

This winter break has been spent at home mostly working, spending time with my dogs Ollie (left) and Pippa, and preparing for my study abroad adventure. As I wrap up packing and say my goodbyes, I feel so lucky to have this opportunity to live and study in another country and I know I have lots to look forward to in the coming months! 😊

We’ll talk soon!

Carolyn