This summer I partook in a 3 week, academic course at the University of Copenhagen during the month of July. This course was centred around understanding the Danish perspective on existentialism, through studying the renowned philosopher and theologian, Søren Kierkegaard. This was done by focusing upon two of his texts. Namely, his ‘Either Or’ and ‘Sickness Unto Death’. The course also included a weekend bike trip to sites that Kierkegaard includes in his authorship.
Living in and learning in Denmark has always been something that I have wanted to do. Consequently when I was granted the opportunity through the Principals Fund to finally go, It was something that couldn’t be missed! The course also enabled me to meet a wide range of people from different backgrounds and as I am learning Danish, having the chance to not only live within a Danish culture, but study on of Denmark’s most prolific theologians, gave me a greater insight into Danish culture and life.
Despite the initial shock to the system that you find when you visit any country ( including the recognition that you are probably the smallest person in the capital!), once I had purchased my bike and had gotten a hang of the roads rules, things seemed to roll smoothly on from there. One thing to note about Denmark, and specifically Copenhagen, is that it is a cycling city. Consequently if you are to visit and feel confident a cycling you should really invest in a bicycle. Not only will you save a lot of time and money travelling around the city, but you will also get the real feel of Copenhagen ( which in summer time is beautiful! ).
On the first day of the course, we were introduced to a general introduction int o the life and style of Kierkegaard’s writings, and gradually through the course were introduced to great themes within his authorship. Specifically irony, the contrast between the ethical and aesthetic way of life, despair and faith. The way in which the course was taught by our lecturer, Brian, including the excellent guest speakers and enthusiastic classroom environment, was something that I will really miss. Including the wonderful people who I was able to spend time with on the course and discuss interesting topics.
This was made even better by the weekend bike trip to Gilleleje, Gribskov, Søborgsø, and Helsingør where we got to see some of the sites Kierkegaard incorporates into his authorship and read passages from Kierkegaard at the various sites. This familiarity beyond the classroom created a wonderful atmosphere that encouraged us all to ask questions in class and create an atmosphere where we could feel free to talk, and sometimes make fools out of ourselves as I experienced!
All in all, I would really recumbent the course to anyone. This course is not just for people who are theology or philosophy students and I had a really great time. Thank you Principals fund!