It’s No Disaster

“When whales die, their bodies float down to the bottom of the sea, and they become a new ecosystem. There, at the bottom of the sea. I think that’s a rather beautiful thing, don’t you?”  
~ Inger Kaergaard, professor of Biology for Marine Mammals at DIS

– Isn’t this a beautiful courtyard? I want to live in one of those little apartments with the blue shutters –
    Biology for Marine Mammals was my first class of the day, and our professor is such a wonderful, funny woman. We had a good time attempting to understand everything she was saying – when she gets very excited, her English sometimes slips and then she just gestures around a lot and points at different things and shows us a million pictures. One of her stories was from a recent trip she took to Norway to do research on whales. She put a picture of a sky filled with stars up on the power-point and asked if we could see any whales. But perhaps she didn’t realize that the picture already had a caption that said, “Length of Day = 0 minutes. Number of whales seen = 0.” So we all said, “Zero,” and she looked very pleased and told us that we would all make great researchers. It’s very funny and a bit confusing, and I think we all love her a lot already.

– Outside the StudentHuset, some pretty buildings, the best blueberry muffin, interesting trees – no? –
   After that class, I went for a short walk (and tried to remember all the streets I walked so I wouldn’t pull another walks-for-30 minutes-in-the-wrong-direction-and-ends-up-who-knows-where*) and found a bakery that is home to the best blueberry muffin in the world. Then it was time for Core Course – Medical Practice and Policy. My section’s location is Glostrup Hospital; each of the sections comprising this particular Core Course has a different hospital where all of the lectures are led by doctors working at that hospital. It’s amazing to be directly at a hospital, seeing the doctors at work, and surrounded by that environment when learning about different diseases, ongoing research projects, and clinical procedures. Glostrup hospital though, is forever away.
   It’s about an hour commute – we had to walk a million miles and take the S-Tog and also a bus and then walk more miles to get to the hospital. So it’s going to be a very long and exhausting Tuesday and Friday, but it will be worth it, I think. When we finally made it to the hospital, we met two doctors who are teaching our course. They just graduated from medical school in 2012, and now they are specializing in neurology. The healthcare system in Denmark is quite different from ours. Students apply to medical school right out of high-school graduation, so all that is needed to apply for medical school is a high school diploma, a year of chemistry, physics, and mathematics. You don’t need biology, which is interesting to me. The hospital is much less clinical than a US hospital – at least the parts that we saw. It feels more familiar – the doctor seems to know each patient on a personal level. I supposed that may be a good and a bad thing. There are fewer cases of doctors being sued, and the healthcare system doesn’t need to “watch its back” quite as much as in the States. However, it also seems like sometimes patients could potentially wait awhile to see a doctor, and additionally, because it’s a little more laid-back, there’s not the same idea of “Urgent Care” that is more prevalent in the States. Denmark is also less strict when it comes to specifications and limitations on research projects, making Denmark one of the leading countries in medical research. It’ll be interesting to see some of the differences when we visit Germany and Poland on the study tour.

– The church next to the StudentHuset building –
*I got suuuuuuuuper lost the day before, trying to get from the Studenthuset building (a student café and lounge with coffee and other drinks, and a great studying area! It’s part of the University of Copenhagen, and it’s right next door to this beautiful church) to my class at DIS. I left with 30 minutes to spare, and if I had walked in the right direction, it would have taken me only 5 minutes to get to DIS. This sad fact was pointed out by my friend Kevin the next day when we made that exact 5 minute walk. But of course, I just kept walking and walking in what I thought was the right direction and about 20 H&M’s later (I swear there’s one on every corner just put there to confuse me), I found myself on a main street with a lot of buildings that didn’t look even remotely familiar. By this time, I knew I was really lost and had absolutely no idea how to get back to point A. Prior to leaving, I had told myself, that all I had to do was walk in the direction of the brick building with the green roof. Ugh, what a mistake. There are approximately 190394837262929 buildings in Copenhagen that are brick with green roofs. It would have been a lot of fun to keep exploring had I not had a class that started 10 minutes ago, so I went into a big financial-looking building to ask someone for directions. The security guard was very nice, and he somehow understood my terrible pronunciation of the street DIS is on. He pulled up Google maps and showed me my location, and then scrolled FOREVER to the point where I needed to be. He must have seen my stress level rising because he kindly told me that “it’s not as far as it looks. Don’t worry.” Apparently, I had crossed a canal somehow without my knowing. Also a big city square. I’m not really sure how this happened since all I remember seeing were H&M’s. Then he pointed me in the direction of the bus that I needed to take and told me where to walk to get back. Oh, he was so nice! So I eventually made it to my class, but wow, was I late.
– A street near DIS buildings, a bookstore by our bus stop at DIS – glass staircase inside! Both Danish and English books inside –
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