Yesterday was FDOC (First Day of Classes) and I have to say I absolutely love what I do. I am one of those people who is so lucky in the sense that I found what I love early on and I have been able to follow that passion all over the world. A lot of folks says that there isn’t a lot of studying involved in studying abroad, but I let my classes dictate where I went this semester and I am thrilled with that decision. As nerdy as it may be, it feels great to be back in the classroom surrounded by people from all over the US who are passionate about the same things.
This semester I am taking 5 classes
- Humanitarian Law and Armed Conflict
- Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism
- Genocide and the Holocaust
- Gender Perspectives on Human Rights
- International Refugee Law
My first class yesterday was Humanitarian Law, which is my core course. This means we take two field trips together. One to another part of Denmark and one’s a week long international trip. Our class will go to Bosnia for the week which I am super excited about. The class is co-taught by two Danes who both have military backgrounds. They both did tours in the middle east as well as Kosovo, worked at the ministry of defense, and advise the Danish military. They seem to have known each other for decades and have a bit of a bromance.
Three memorable moments from the first day of class is when our more serious professor revealed his great fondness for strawberry daiquiris, which he did not realize was a feminine drink until he went out with some of his American students for a drink.
The second moment was when they talked about how it was good to have co-instructors, since they both work full time. Therefore they can cover for one another when there is a last minute work conflict. The example they gave is that last semester, one of them took over teaching when the other had to go hunt pirates for a week for the Danish government. Thats right, my professor went to hunt for pirates.
The final oddity was when we were going around the room introducing ourselves and our backgrounds. The majority of students are the total peacenik/human rights centric types that I would classify myself as. Then my professor asked about my program and I realized on the left to right spectrum of peace studies I was the only person in a predominantly military program. It was one of those weird out of body experiences where you see yourself as others see you. My co-professors were super excited that someone would understand the cynicism, rationality, and direct approach of a person with a military background.
I on the other hand realized my peers in my PWAD program at UNC imagine me carrying anti-war protest signs in my free time, where as here among my peers in Denmark I fall far right and they can probably better imagine me at a shooting range (haha).
Regardless I am super excited about this class, the diverse range of students, and the professors who seem quite funny, intelligent, and as thought they have legitimate real world experience.
I have attended my five other classes but I will do a full write up of those later!