My name is Lela, and I am a rising senior majoring in chemical engineering and mathematics. This July (2023), I completed the Unit Operations Lab in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is widely considered one of the most challenging courses in the chemical engineering undergraduate curriculum. Although this held true for the course in Denmark, I managed to find a balance between doing work and having fun experiencing Denmark.
As for the coursework itself, it consisted of performing 6 labs at the pilot plant at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and then writing a report for each lab. Given these 6 labs and corresponding lab reports are all done within an approximately 3.5 week time frame, I spent a lot of my time in Denmark doing work with my lab partner Sofia (huge shoutout to her for being the best lab partner ever). I learned a lot performing the labs themselves and was highly impressed by DTU’s pilot plant facility. I do recommend finding new locations for report writing days other than the apartment complex common area. A few of my friends and I went to different coffee shops and libraries in Lyngby and Copenhagen, including the Black Diamond which is an extension to the Royal Library, throughout the month to do work.
Although the coursework was intense, I made it a priority to find time to explore Copenhagen and Denmark as well. Twice, my friends and I made our way to Reffen, a global street food market on the water. Here, we ate food from all different parts of the world and went swimming. I highly recommend the mac and cheese. We also were able to learn about the history of Denmark through visiting few different castles, including Frederiksborg, Kronborg, and Rosenborg. Kronborg is also known as Hamlet’s castle while Rosenborg is where the Danish Crown Jewels are held. A little less specific to Copenhagen, I spent one Friday afternoon indoor rock climbing with a few of my friends. Perhaps the coolest experience during my entire time in Denmark was attending the victory parade and celebration for Jonas Vingegaard, the Danish cyclist who won the Tour de France this year.
My best piece of advice for anyone planning on taking the Unit Operations Lab in Denmark is to find a balance between working on the lab reports and spending time enjoying Denmark. Don’t forget that exploring a new place and learning about a new culture is part of the study abroad experience!