One of the biggest differences between my semester and DIS and an average semester at my home university of Dickinson College is physical space. At Dickinson, our college is completely residential and I know that I can get anywhere on campus or to any of my friends’ in less than a 10 minute’s walk.
At DIS, the housing options are so diverse (between Homestays, Kollegiums, DIS Residential Communities, etc.) that everyone is coming from different directions and different distances when they go to class in the morning.
Living the urban/suburban commuter life kind of made me forget what it’s like to be completely surrounded by university aged students.
However, thanks to a work-study assignment, I found myself at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) on Friday, in order to hang up posters to recruit Danish students to host American roommates. The university is in Lyngby, not too far from my home stay, and is actually where my host father attended university.
I wasn’t really expecting much when I went to DTU’s campus, but I was honestly blown away. The campus and buildings were nothing special, until I entered the school’s library.
First of all, it was a Friday afternoon, and the library was packed with the world’s future engineers working on group projects. Seriously, it was packed and I could tell the student body came from all over the world because I heard so many different languages being spoken.
Second, I love the way Danes do public/ group spaces. Check out the pictures and maybe you can get a sense of all the cool group work stations in this library. There were giant bean-bag chairs and dry erase boards, and super modern desks- It made doing work super fun.
Third, I thought the library was cool but then I went into the cafeteria/student center. Again, it was Friday at around 2PM and the lucky students who didn’t have any work today were enjoying each other’s company. There were at least 150 students in the lounge, either playing billiards, board games, and lawn bowling. Of course, there were also a few bars with super inexpensive drinks (5dkk= $1, literally unheard of in downtown CPH). The atmosphere was just so laid back and fun and I have been planning with friends to go back there and hang out and pretend we are actually engineers and go to school there (no worries though, it is completely open to the public and especially other university aged students.)
When students at Dickinson raised the idea of having an on-campus pub, a lot of my peers thought the idea was crazy. But I’ve now experienced this sort of student union/bar/multi-purpose lounge in many different European countries and I think it’s a major part of university culture that many American colleges are lacking.
All in all, it was nice to set foot on a university campus again and to compare it to what I’m used to in the US.