Monday, September 12, 2011

Bornholm (Short Study Tour)

Hello Everyone!

This weekend I went to Bornholm! Bornholm is an island owned by Denmark to the South of Sweeden and is a very touristy place during the summer (because it is beautiful). The purpose of the trip was to see some positive psychology (my core course) be applied in different settings in an area outside of Copenhagen. All core courses went somewhere outside of Copenhagen to see the application of their core course. So the trips were designed to allow you to see an area outside of Copenhagen, get to know the people in your core class, and experience your core course through academic visits. My group was the only one that went to Bornholm (and was therefore very lucky).


My trip began at 4.30 on Thursday morning. Yes it was insanely early and I was grumpy about it but that is when I had to wake up in order to catch the train to Copenhagen central station by 6.15. Once there I joined up with my class and we took a train to Sweeden and then quickly hopped on a ferry to Bornholm. We got there around 10 and it was raining (of course) and went to a cafe to get some coffee and pastries. Then we went to our first academic visit. The woman we visited was interesting and had us participate in some activities (I can talk more about those specifically if you want but they are mostly just positive psychology and therapy related things). She is a private therapist and works in Rønne.

After that we got lunch and then went to the Bornholm Art museum and looked at art! Then we went on a hike (it stopped raining) to the the largest waterfall in Denmark, which was not that impressive but still fun. I was pretty much the only one who had shoes (hiking boots) that were appropriate for the activity. We then went to Gudhjem where we stayed the night in a hostel.


We had dinner at a nearby hotel and then I went with some friends to get ice cream at a local ice cream place and explore the town at night. We were going to have a bonfire on the beach but it was too wet from all the rain that day. Then I returned to the hostel and played catch phrase with some people I didn't know as well. I quickly proved to be a very good catch phrase player. Then I went to my hostel room (that I shared with 4 other boys) and crashed. So yeah, long day.

On Friday (no rain today, all sun), I woke up at 7.45ish and had breakfast with the group at a hotel in town. We packed up at went to Baltic Sea Glass and got to see some really cool pieces of art (I'll hopefully post some pictures once my friends with the cameras upload them). Then we went to one of the Round Churches. There are four Round churches that were all built around the 12th or 13th century. They were for religious purposes but were also fortresses in the case of attack from the Sweeds or pirates.

Then we went to a hospital for our second academic visit at Nisbeth Healthcare. Their program was one that included initiatives to increase health among the employees of the hospital through opportunities to participate in different exercise classes and healthy meals at the hospitals cafeteria. The program was pretty interesting but we were fairly critical of it as it did not have a ton to do with well-being but more with physical health. There were definitely some good things to get out of it but we didn't feel like it was catered enough to a psychological perspective.

Then we ate lunch in the hospital's cafeteria and went to our hostel in Rønne. Rønne is the capital of Bornholm and is still pretty small.The rest of the day we had to ourselves. Also this hostel was randomly pretty nice and had random things like ping-pong tables, a vending machine for alcohol, and a minigolf course. So I played some ping-pong and then walked to the beach with some friends. Then we decided that we wanted ice cream so we walked into town and found some sweets and then just hung out and explored in town until we wanted some dinner. We bought some dinner (all food before this and after this with the exception of Saturday night dinner was provided by DIS which was extremely awesome) and then went back to the hostel. I played cards with friends until we had a bonfire (because we weren't able to have one the night before). So I hung out with everyone around the fire and was entertained by people antics. One of my friends that I made on the trip told scary stories (that were legitimately scary) and was hilarious at all other times. Then I showered (much desired) and then read until my roommates returned from drunken beach adventures and crashed. Yeah, another long day...

On Saturday I woke up at 7.45ish again... tough times. We had breakfast at the hostel and then picked up the woman who was to lead our last academic visit at Hammershus. Hammershus is now ruins of an old Danish castle built in the 13th century. It was very pretty and it was misty and cool outside making the experience pretty awesome overall.


The woman had us do a positive psychology activity which was pretty alright before we left Hammershus. We then went to this pretty nice restaurant that was on a huge hill that looked out towards the ocean (pretty much every town on Bornholm is on the ocean) where we had this raw salmon dish. I observed that in general the Americans at my table were not able to eat a lot of the salmon while the non-Americans were able to eat it easily and enjoyed it (I was able to eat it and thought it was pretty good).

We then went to Svaneke (another small coastal town) and enjoyed more free, local ice cream and we were able to explore a little. We then got back on the bus and went to the ferry. By the way this ferry was very large and pretty nice. On the trip home I just hung out with people and we talked about our hometowns and what we have done in Copenhagen so far. Then we got on the train in Sweeden and I sat with some people I didn't know as well from my class but I talked to them the entire way home and then got back to Copenhagen Central Station. I exchanged phone numbers with a few people and then booked it to the train home. I got home around 22.30 and was extremely exhausted.

That was my trip to Bornholm! Overall, pretty jam packed but I think everyone in my group had a really good time and made new friends.

In other news, school has kept me very busy and I have a lot going on every day but I find time to still do fun things and explore the city.

Also you guys have been asking lots of questions in the comments so I'll respond to them here. 

Ruth, my school is not diverse, it is technically all American students or at least students that are all from American universities. However, I made friends with two women on this trip, one from China and one from Japan. They are both very nice and only have gone to the US for college. But yeah, the very large majority of students are American. Also, there are many Muslims immigrating to Denmark. I talk more about it in another post. And there have not been any misunderstandings that I can think of. Only horrendous mispronunciations on my part. It's always embarrassing when a guy at a bakery asks you in Danish want you want and you say brød (word for bread) while making a funny face and weird gurgle noise and the guy is like, oh, you want some bread? and you're like yeah... sigh (was it that bad?).

Kynan, I have not been to Hugo's yet, but I will go some day and try every single one. I did get some Apple Cider though and it was alright because I couldn't taste the alcohol.

Erik, I guess this post will in part answer that question. Additionally, there are a lot of old buildings in Copenhagen. My school is in the historic district of Copenhagen so there are very old buildings (most have been fixed up of course). There are also some old statues and churches that you can go find, I have seen some of them. Often the statues or churches have stories behind them so it can be very interesting to go find and learn about them. As for castles specifically, there are a couple nearby that I want to visit but the only one that I have been to are the ruins at Hammershus. Also, really old ruins (pre-Christian ruins) do not exist so there isn't really anything left from Viking times except for post holes and burial mounds (you may already know a lot about that). I know some about that because they have told us an okay about the history of Copenhagen and because of my Nordic Mythology class.

Sam, I dunno... like 30 maybe? we are still working on the 2nd world. TOUGH STUFF. Also the town has been around for centuries (wikipedia says it was founded in the 13th century). Many of the towns in Denmark have been around for about that long of a time or longer which I'm guessing is characteristic of many different parts of the world. Many of the names of towns can be used to show approximately when they were created in a lot of Scandinavia and many were established in pre-Christian times (shown by their references to Nordic religion). So the town is pretty old in terms of how long it has existed but is otherwise modern. Also I'll see what I can do about buying a digital one here and/or/additionally stealing friends photos from facebook.

Vivek, at least twice. Also, having not really experienced any other mass-transit it is hard to say. But from what I can tell it is very good. Everyone I talk to says that it is really good and it seems very convenient and efficient to me (there is a train every 10 minutes unless it is crazy early in the morning (which only concerns me when I have to wake up at 4.30 for a trip) or after 1.00 on a weeknight, and even in those inconvenient times it usually runs every 20 minutes to where I need to go). A ton of people use it to get to work and to the city, and the trains have recently been outfitted so that you can bring your bike onto the train (which some people do because the Danes have a lot of avid bikers). I have heard that the quality goes down somewhat once the weather gets bad, but I have talked to this girl from Chicago and the way she talks about the trains here, it is like they are better here at their worst then they are at their best in Chicago (hope that made sense). So yeah, from what I can tell, they are very nice.

Alright, talk to you guys later,


  1. Wow, did not realize how long this post was until I actually saw it... Sorry for the long read guys (I won't be offended if you don't read it all).

  2. I appreciate greatly that you were the only prepared one with the right boots and also that you were a VERY good catchphrase player :P lol

  3. I laughed way to hard for my own good, as I imagined you saying bread in DANISH >_<. People kind of stared at me in the computer lab..ehh. But besides that, one word...WOW. You are visiting such amazing places, and the links you provide help kick start the imagination.