The last day of Orientation Week was the “Matriculation Ceremony” for the incoming class at the University of Copenhagen.
The Faculty had made a big hullaballoo about the whole thing. Basic gist: the dean of the University came out to give a “You are the future! *Jazz hands*!” type speech before inviting every single person up to shake his hand. The myth is: no handshake equals no graduating. So, shake his damn hand.
The ceremony was held at Frue Plads, a public square in the inner city (“Indre By”) of Copenhagen. This is where the Faculty of Law resides, in the oldest of the University of Copenhagen campuses.
The square was beautiful, and fully packed to the brim with students and beer. Lots and lots of beer.
Fun fact: Danes love their beer. Like, a lot. And it is everywhere, school functions included. You can buy a beer at pretty much any cafe on campus, and it is CHEAP. Cheaper than the water, and way cheaper than the coffee.
Too bad beer is gross. Tried it. Still don’t like it.
So, people drank beer, smoked, and chit chatted amongst themselves for a bit. Then the dean did his deal. He talked for a few minutes in English, making references to Star Wars and Jon Stewart, then switched over to Danish.
He kept it relatively short and sweet, which was for the best since at least 1/3 of the people in the crowd couldn’t understand a syllable. Then came the pushing, and the shoving, and the elbowing up to the dean himself for the handshake.
No, that’s not the dean. That’s his lady proxy. Apparently it would’ve taken FOREVER (obviously) for everyone to physically shake the dean’s hand, so they had his colleague doing double duty too. You’ll notice she’s standing in front of a big door. They funneled us inside after we shook his (or her) hand, so we got to have a looksie at the gorgeous interior.
Like a museum. Crazy to think that people actually attend classes here.
When we came back out again, the weather had taken a turn for the worst. In three bats of the eye it went from partly cloudy to a full on black sky. We’d been given throw-away plastic ponchos at the first sign of potential downpour, but they weren’t much use. The wind was INTENSE – turning umbrellas inside out and getting water everywhere.
Luckily the Student House (or “Studenterhuset”), where the University had planned post-Matriculation festivities, was just down the street. We all shuffled over there, soggy and pathetic, and took cover inside. Us international kids from the Cognition and Communication master huddled together, drinking more beer (them) and coffee (me), and trying to wait out the rain.
Eventually we got hungry, and went looking for food.
I can’t remember what this place was called, but it was a stone’s throw away. And, relatively cheap for pretty massive portions. Win. We went back to the Studenterhuset after eating, but the evening’s festivities turned out to be a dud.
So, we left again in search of something better.
We found this cozy place, Cafe G, just a street or two over from the Studenterhuset. And they had wine! Glorious wine.
Along with cocktails and the like. Not just beer. Hallelujah.
I had a glass of Pinot from Napa, and it was like a little taste of home in every sip. Not a bad way to end a hectic, cold, rainy day.