Course Syllabus


Semester & Location:

Spring 2024 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

Architecture, Design, Urban Design, Language, Anthropology



Corequisite Course(s):

Architecture Design Studio, Architecture Foundations Studio, Furniture Design Studio, Graphic Design Foundations Studio, Graphic Design Studio, Interior Architecture Foundations Studio, Interior Architecture Studio, Urban Design Foundations Studio, or Urban Design Studio

Faculty Member:

Catharina Rosendal -

Time & Place:

Thursdays 11:40-14:35, F24-303


Description of Course

This course is an integrated language and culture course with a major focus on architecture and design in Denmark and Copenhagen in particular. The class serves as an ideal entry point for your studies abroad as it is based on a high degree of experiential learning by using the city as our class room. We will study various aspects of Danish culture with creative eyes and operate with a complex view on culture through a range of representations. The focus will be on dominant Danish architecture and design supported by national narratives, values, and symbolism, which we will approach from both a historical and contemporary perspective.

When studying the Danish language, we will employ a communicative, functional approach, so you will be able to use the language actively on a basic level, thereby giving you a valuable base for intercultural encounters during your study abroad experience. The course will focus on spoken everyday Danish, reading comprehension, and basic grammar and will explore how culture is reflected in language. By analyzing keywords and concepts and applying appropriate etiquette, you learn how to navigate in a foreign culture.

By openly and critically studying values, symbols, and dominant and marginalized narratives in Danish culture and history we will begin to understand how these continue to shape identities today. With Denmark as your case study, you will develop your ability to understand and study other cultures from an intercultural perspective.


Learning Objectives

  • Acquire an understanding of historic city planning through experiential learning
  • Ability to speak, read, and understand Danish on a basic level
  • Understand how national symbols affect nation building
  • Understand Danish mentality through architecture, design and urban planning
  • Acquire a higher level of cultural awareness
  • Gain an understanding of the connection between language and culture
  • Acquire knowledge and overall understanding of Danish history, culture, and society



Catharina Rosendal is professor of Language and Culture at the DIS Study Abroad Program in Scandinavia since 2015. M.S.L.T. (Master’s Program in Second Language Teaching) from Aarhus University and M.A. in Language and Communication from Copenhagen Business School. Studies in French at the Université de Paris, Sorbonne, France. Art History at Copenhagen University.

Before teaching at DIS, Catharina Rosendal has a background in international communication and design from various communication agencies as well as international marketing from Carlsberg International. She has a long experience with various aspects of Scandinavian culture, language, heritage as well as and design and architecture being a native speaker of all three Scandinavian languages and having lived and worked in all three countries.



Andersen, Hans Christian, The Little Mermaid, Andersen's Fairy Tales, Wordsworth, 1993

Andersen, Hans Christian, The Ugly Duckling, Andersen's Fairy Tales, Wordsworth, 1993

Carlsen, Jørgen, The Folk High School – Freedom and the Living Conversation, Learning in Denmark, The Danish Cultural Institute Copenhagen 1997

Grundtvig, N.F.S., Far higher mountains are in other lands found, Easter Flower! What would you here? Syddansk Universitetsforlag 2013

Kingsley, Patrick, Work Well, Play Well, How to be Danish, Short Books 2012

Kierkegaard, Søren, Either Or, Penguin Books, 1992/2004

Lidegaard, Bo, Prologue 1849-1901, A Short History of Denmark in the 20th Century, Gyldendal 2009

Stræde, Therkel, October 1943, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1993

Tinggaard Svendsen, Gert, From Ice Age to Welfare, Trust, Aarhus Universitet 2014


Online Sources

Andersen, Hans Christian, Denmark My Native Land (Links to an external site.)

De Mylius, Johan, Hans Christian Andersen – A Short Biographical Introduction, H.C. Andersen Centret,

Holberg, Ludvig, Erasmus Montanus, Comedies by Holberg, Project Gutenberg, (Links to an external site.)

Leynaud, Danish Prison (Links to an external site.)

Renee, A Brief Explanation of the Controversial Film Movement Dogme (Links to an external site.)

Reiter et. al, Denmark doesn’t treat its prisoners


Field Studies

Field Study 1 - February 28, 13:00 - 17:00

We will start the day by watching Best International Academy Award Winner at the 93rd Oscars: DRUK or the English translation: Another Round. The movie gives a very good introduction to Danish mentality and takes place at Øregaard Gymnasium very close to the gymnasium we will visit at our 2nd field study, the gymnasium world famous architect Bjarke Ingels attended. DRUK urges us to contemplate the way we give meaning and value to our lives and it based on verifying Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud's theory that humans function better, more freely, and creatively with a blood alcohol level of 0.5.

Jens Vilhelm Dahlerup
Svenn Eske Kristensen
Hack Kampmann
Vilhelm Klein
Carl Harild
N.S. Nebelong


Field Study 2 - April 24, 08:30 - 12:30

We will visit Bjarke Ingel's gymnasium (graduated 1993), Gammel Hellerup Gymnasium in the town called Hellerup a little outside of København and meet Danish students. We will discuss the Danish and American educational systems and how it is to be young in Denmark and in the US.

Architect: Axel Maar (1956) and Bjarke Ingels (2006)

Evening Field Study: May 6, 17:45 - 19:30

We will visit the beautiful Christian VII's rokoko mansion at Amalienborg Palace from 1750. The four identical rococo palaces form, with the corner pavilions, an octagon, which Nicolai Eigtved presumably found inspiration for in unrealized plans for the square in Paris which later became known as the Place de la Concorde. The appearance of Amalienborg’s palaces is a characteristic, very light rococo style which combines German and French stylistic elements. Today Amalienborg Palace is the residence of the Danish Royal family.

Architect: Nicolai Eigtved


Course Resources

Audio Files and Online Worksheets

In the Canvas course Danish Language Resources, you will find audio files and online worksheets that you can use to practice vocabulary, phrases, pronunciation, and grammar throughout the semester. In your textbook DIS DANSK I, the texts with complementary audio files are marked with a headphone symbol. 


Online Dictionary:

DIS has a subscription to Ordbogen, a Danish-English/English-Danish online dictionary. Go to and follow the instructions that you have received directly from


Approach to Teaching and Expectations of the Students

The teaching style of this class is interactive. You are expected to actively participate in class discussions, to have done the readings and other homework, and come to class prepared with notes, questions and relevant observations.

Learning a language is hard work and requires a lot of commitment. The ambition is to create a classroom culture in which everyone feels at ease trying to pronounce the unfamiliar Danish sounds and words.

Engaged participation is an integrated part of class and will be a large part of the course evaluation. Participating in class discussion requires a high level of preparation and a voluntary contribution of knowledge and ideas. In addition, when speaking Danish or discussing the connection between language and culture, it is important to meet the level of preparation required to be an active participant.



Through the semester there will be different quizzes, worksheets, presentations and assignments that will be graded and will be part of the overall evaluation of your work and participation in class.

Besides presence, the engaged participation grade (30%) includes quizzes, worksheets, daily level of preparation, interest in class discussions, field studies and the use of Danish in class.

Furthermore, the cultural assignment consists of 2 different assignments:

Assignment 1: Historical and cultural observations of Copenhagen

Assignment 2: Analytical Essay


Formal Guidelines for Cultural Assignments

The cultural assignments consists of 2 assignments:

Cultural Assignment 1

The first assignment is an experiential group assignment, where each group will present a district of Copenhagen. Focus will be on the historic city planning and contemporary use. The objective of the assignment is to become culturally aware by observing the surroundings, researching facts and identifying significant differences and similarities, which will serve as a foundation for later analysis of values in Danish society. Furthermore, each district will be assigned a Great Dane.

Cultural Assignment 2

The final assignment is individual and a combination of architecture or design with an intercultural perspective. The objective of this assignment is to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to combine their acquired knowledge from the Danish Language and Culture class with personal reflections from the Study Abroad experience.





Engaged Participation


Cultural Assignments


Online worksheets 


Oral Exam


Grading is based on the rubrics found in the Canvas course Danish Language Resources.


Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details Due