Frejdahl: International IT Week Project

I saw an article on my university’s website describing an International Marketing Week where a group of students get the opportunity to travel to a university in another country and work on a live brief set by a real company. Solent had only ever sent students to do marketing tasks, however, the lecturer running it found an IT related task at the IBA in Kolding, Denmark for me to go to. I then talked to my course leader who publicised it around the IT department at Solent. Only one other person came with me in the end.

Travelling Day – Day 1

We left Stansted early in the morning and arrived at Copenhagen only an hour and a half later. My camera bag got stopped at security as it had so much stuff in it. Whilst flying over Denmark it very much reminded me of America, with houses and streets laid out in grids and the countryside very sparsely populated. We met up with some other people from Solent going to do the marketing tasks in Kolding. The bus wasn’t for another 3 hours, so we got the metro from the airport into central Copenhagen which stopped underneath a shopping centre. A couple from our group couldn’t get off the train and ended up at the next station! Luckily, they managed to get back.

It was a short walk to the bus stop and we stopped to look at Christiansborg Palace. It was very pretty, and we had to be careful not to take our luggage on the polished marble floor. We found where the bus stop was but still had a few hours to kill.

We went for a wander to try and find some lunch and ended up in the Tivoli food court; a sort of indoor food market which turned out to be lovely. They served burgers, pizza, beer, sushi, Thai, literally anything imaginable. Tivoli is a famous 19th Century amusement park right in the centre of Copenhagen. We didn’t quite have enough time to visit though, and it was quite expensive. There was, however, a marching band. We all sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine; even sunnier than it was back home in England!

Tivoli Marching Band

After soaking up all the sun we walked to the bus stop. It seemed like a never-ending road of coaches and buses; which we walked the whole way, twice, before we found the right bus, which was just about to leave. There was no air conditioning for the first part of our journey as it was broken. Luckily, the driver pulled over and fixed it so we could enjoy the rest of our journey without sweltering.

We arrived in Kolding on time and had a walk past the river to arrive at Kolding Hotel Apartments where we would be staying. It looked amazing from the outside, with big glass windows and intricate architecture, however, inside was nothing to rave about; a simple sofa, three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a microwave. We then went to the supermarket to get some essentials such as coke and pizza, before retiring to our apartment for the night to get some well-needed rest. Well… by rest I mean watching Season 2 of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which had released that Saturday.

Moon Day – Day 2

We rose nice and early at 7:00 (6:00 UK time!!!) to get ready to go to breakfast at the IBA at 7:30. We all met outside the apartments and walked to the IBA in a group. Breakfast consisted of bread, cheese, ham, and coffee, not to my liking particularly; so, I decided to skip it for the rest of the week.

We were then divided up into IT, marketing, and finance students. Then we went to separate rooms and had an introduction by the lecturers that were running the project where we were tasked with implementing a system to promote the Frejdahl brand. The scope of the project was pretty wide which I liked. The group of IT students were separated out into 7 teams. There were only 3 from the UK and the rest from Belgium, along with some IBA students, in the IT group.

As a team building activity we had a competition to see which team could build the highest tower out of Spaghetti and Marshmallows.

A representative from Frejdahl then came in to speak to students from all groups about the brand. The brand is much more focused on the story, and the theme of Vikings themselves rather than the beer, which is emphasized in their current marketing strategies which don’t usually include the beer as the main feature.

After that we were left to work on the project. After initial brainstorming, our group decided upon making a website that teaches people around the world how to make beer in the form of an interactive story where they get to choose their own ingredients. There will then be a competition for whoever makes the best beer gets to have it made by Frejdahl.

We were served lunch which was cafeteria style with chicken legs, pasta and potato salad, bread, and water. Again, nothing to rave about.

At 3:30 we stopped working on our project and instead went downstairs and met up with marketing and finance students and we all made a real Viking shield in our groups. We also played a traditional Viking game of seeing who could throw a shoe the furthest with their feet.

Viking Shield “Baldur”

A Viking dinner was then put on by the university which consisted of a hog roast among other meats. This was very enjoyable.

Viking Dinner Hog Roast

Tyrs Day – Day 3

We skipped breakfast and went straight to work on our task. I felt a bit better on Tuesday as I’d had a longer sleep, recovering from the long journey on Sunday.

Just under an hour after we’d began working on the task we left to visit the Trolden Brewery in Kolding for some beer tasting at the ripe time of 11:00. There was a heavy alcoholic smell as we walked into the brewery. We sat down for some beer tasting and I got some nice photos from inside the brewery and of the different types of beer that were served. We also met our lecturer from Solent, who had arrived later on Monday. The beer was very smooth and tasty. We were then shown the warehouse and label making process, before going back and trying their liquor and gin.

We walked back to the university to have some lunch and then worked on the project a bit more.

At 13:00 we went on a tour of Kolding, during which I took lots of photos. The weather was very nice and sunny; however, it was freezing, a stark contrast to when it’s cold in the UK. We saw the castle; Koldinghus, and we learnt that Kolding was instrumental in protecting Denmark from invading southern countries.

We got to finish early that day at 15:00 so we walked to Lidl and McDonalds on the outskirts of the city, 20 minutes away. But boy was it worth it. I’d been craving a McDonalds all week.

Odin’s Day – Day 4

We had a quick sit down and discussion about our project before getting on the bus to Jelling for the day. In Jelling there was a Viking Museum. When we arrived, we were taken into a lecture theatre and taught about the origins of Denmark and how Vikings came into that. There is an old large stone with runic symbols on that is a memorial to the first king of Denmark’s parents. This makes Denmark’s royalty the oldest in Europe. There was also a burial mound, and another fake one, built by the second king of Denmark once the country had turned Christian to prevent the pope letting Germany invade. As the country now had royalty it meant the small raids performed by farmer Vikings could now be turned into invasions of other countries such as Sweden, Norway, and England.

We were then left to look around the site. First off, we visited a church, but couldn’t go inside. There was a very pretty cemetery with flowers and blossom trees. We climbed to the top of one of the burial mounds but nearly froze so ventured back inside the museum for a coffee. We then looked around the exhibits which consisted of Viking jewellery and attire. It was very dark in there and I got to use my F/1.8 lens to try and get some nice close up shots of the intricate works of the Vikings. The museum had a very modern trendy feel which was nice. You could go to the roof of the museum to look out across Jelling.

The university provided sandwiches just before we headed off back home where we continued to work on our project for the rest of the afternoon. Most people in the IT group went to Koldinghus, the castle in Kolding, however, my group wanted to carry on working, so I stayed with them and we were going to go the next day. This didn’t quite work out as there was terrible weather the following day, and the lecturers didn’t come to collect anyone for the visit.

Thor’s Day – Day 5

We spent the whole of Thursday working on our project and finishing it off as we’d have to present it Friday morning to lecturers from around the world, and we might win a prize if we came in the top 3 out of 7.

Busy at work

In the evening we had pizza in the university bar. The pizzas were gigantic but had got a bit cold by the time people sat down to eat. We also got two free drinks, but most people only managed one.

That night the university threw a party for us at Mørks cocktail bar. Every team signed up to participate in beer pong too. I managed to get two shots in and we won our first game but were completely annihilated in our second with the opposing team scoring all of their shots.

Freyjas Day – Day 6

We started at 9 today so got a slight lie in. We also had to check out of the apartments before we got to the university, so we packed up our bags and made the beds before handing back our key.

Once we arrived at the University we had a short time to prepare before presenting our work from the week. Below is the PowerPoint we used to present. Our team came second which won us each a bottle of the Frejdahl beer. You can view the website here.

The university provided sandwiches for us to take on our journey’s home. We sat at the university and ate them and tried to drink the beer as we couldn’t take it on the plane.

Frejdahl Beer

We then walked to the bus stop by the train station in Kolding where we joined a few others from the UK. The bus journey was uneventful, and we arrived in Copenhagen on time.

It was 16:00 by that point so we stopped in the Tivoli food court for dinner. I had some fries from the same place as before. We then walked to the Metro station and searched for a ticket machine before taking the Metro all the way to Copenhagen Airport where we queued up to check our luggage in before going through Security, where my camera bag got stopped again, but they let it through.

We had a drink in Joe’s Juice and I felt very business like because I was writing this blog post on my laptop. We then went through passport control before finally boarding our plane. The plane left 5 minutes late but arrived in the UK 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

We had to go through passport control again which I found ridiculous. They checked my passport in Denmark, and before boarding the plane. Were those first two times not enough? Could I have made a fake passport on the plane? In addition to that passport control abroad takes about 5 seconds because you see a person and they scan it and let you through. In the UK there are E-Passport gates which held everyone up because a large majority of people couldn’t get them to work so they had to see a person anyway. And when they did work it took about 5 minutes for the machine to recognise the person. This meant that there were queues of people waiting to get into the UK, and many more people had lost their jobs to these E-Passport gates that don’t even work. This definitely needs to change.

If passport control didn’t annoy me enough, Stansted funnels people out of it because it gets so busy, and the exit I ended up at didn’t have any buses to the Drop-Off and Pick up point, so I had to walk 30 minutes down the main road just to get out of the airport and to see my dad. They should definitely make a path to connect the car parks to the airport, or even just include more signage for buses. At least I was finally home.

Apart from the bumpy start and end to my week I had an enjoyable time abroad. I gained confidence in myself as this was my first ever time abroad by myself. The people I worked with were very friendly and it was nice to mix with different cultures. It really made me appreciate how much space there is in Denmark, and how most people on the continent can speak a second language almost fluently.

I will definitely consider participating in this week again next year.

Here are some blog posts by other students that went on the trip:

Cassandra Algerstedt Roos from Solent Univeristy

Fady Elabed, Mohamed Yassine and Harvin Sharma from Brussels, Belgium