During the first week of September I experienced something DIS calls “Core Course Week”. During this week, students don’t have a regular class schedule, but rather have a week full of activities focusing on their Core Course. A Core Course is your main course that you enroll in with DIS. I signed up for the Strategic Communications Core Course program because I wanted to take the opportunity to learn more about Public Relations as well as Marketing (something that isn’t as accessible/available back at Bryn Mawr). Our course group went to Western Denmark – specifically Aarhus and Odense.
The first day, we had two meetings with two separate Danish companies. Our first stop was TERMA, which is a defense technology company that specializes in radars as well as Space equipment. Here, we were presented a variety of marketing strategies that TERMA used in the past as well as some of their current marketing tactics (commercials, crisis management, etc.). It was interesting to see the difference between American and Danish marketing – especially since the product we were presented with was the same for both (a fighter jet). The Danish commercial had a calmer tone to it, with soothing music in the background, and an officer from the Royal Airforce explaining the benefits of the jet. In the American commercial, there was intense music (something you would probably hear in an action movie) as well as visuals that portrayed Americans/soldiers protecting their country against enemies threatening their freedom. It showed that there could be a variation in how you presented a product, based on the culture/country it would be in. The second trip was to VESTAS, which is the leading company when it comes to Wind Power and turbines. The company told us about how they had recently gone through a company make-over after there was harsh criticisms over their then-CEO and the company’s PR strategy. The then-CEO had been very well known internationally and was seen as the “face of the company”. When VESTAS failed to deliver what the CEO stated it would, the public lashed out at the CEO – the only known visual face of the company. They talked about how their new strategy incorporated spreading out the “faces of the company” by now creating a panel of experts, rather than depending on their newly elected CEO and possibly over-exposing him to the public, like the previous CEO. It was interesting to learn that companies had to deal with these situations, and that sometimes, it called for major moves, such as replacing the head honcho.
Aarhus was beautiful – and the city, although smaller than Copenhagen, was so alive. There was a festival taking place at the time we were there, so the night was alive with students all around the city. We walked around, and as a group, we bonded over similar interests as well as our fascination with Denmark and how amazing it was that we were actually here. Our professor also came along with us, and it was so much fun to get to know him on a personal level (He’s literally the coolest man i’ve ever met). Professor-student relationships seem to be much more relaxed here – All of my professors have asked to be called by their first name. I still need to get used it that…
Odense is an even smaller city than Aarhus. There, we were put into a workshop at Brandts, which specializes in culture galleries as well as educating students about broadcast media.
We were split into little groups and were tasked with making an entire news segment. I was given the task of editor, which was great because that was what I had been interning as in the summer in Seoul! It felt so good to be doing something familiar – the editing panels and systems were screaming my name. In the end, we successfully created a segment and we came out of it knowing each other a little bit better and had a great feeling of achievement.
On the last day, we were taken to a Danish village from the 1800s – a set up obviously, very much similar to what they have in Williamsburg back in the United States. It was interesting to see the village and the houses. Danish life in the 1800s seemed to be very similar to what I would have imagined. Our tour guide was a very friendly and knowledgable woman who is actually from the UK – she came to Denmark to teach and ended up meeting her husband here! It was interesting to hear how she adjusted to Denmark and the language – it took her around 3 years to become completely fluent and understand conversation. Now, if only i could do that, but in 4 months… haha (Danish is hard people!)
The core course week was something new and a concept i didn’t really ever experience before. To spend an entire week on just one class – I really loved it. It helped me get to know my professor so much better and my classmates are now some of the closest friends I have made so far during this semester abroad. I really love the way DIS has set up their classes. We have regular class schedules Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; Wednesdays are saved for things called Field Studies, which requires us to travel to various places around Copenhagen or just outside of the city to experience class-related things via a ‘hands on’ experience. The core course was just a bigger, longer field study, which I won’t be able to forget for a long while.
Until Next Time!