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Meaning of LIFE proved elusive

To this reporter, who didn’t speak Danish, the meeting to explain budget cuts was as clear as mud

It started with a change of rooms. The name of the new department, which now had to be sought out, was as long and complex as the route through the driving snow to get there.

When finally the location of the Faculty of Life Science’s budget discussion was found, the crowd milling outside were grumbling in a language which is now so familiarly unfamiliar. That is when the old feeling sank in, that heavy consignment to prospective ennui, as I realised that the next hour will be about as enlightening as a glow-worm’s fart.

As expected then, a thrilling debate was consequently conducted, in Danish entirely. As members of the crowd stood up to make their voices heard about the impending cuts to Life Science, none of it was discernable to this University Post reporter.

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Ignorance is not bliss

They were clearly experiencing a difficult time, and had travelled here to find answers to the questions that directly affected their livelihoods.

Meanwhile, all that a non-Danish speaker could do was sit and ponder the possible translation of “afskedigelser effektueret”. (It turns out that afskedigelser’s, the possible layoffs, are effektueret at the end of January, by the way).

The situation was exacerbated when enlightenment was sought out at the end. Sources proved as elusive as the meeting’s conclusions, when they hurried into the 5 pm twilight.

Read our related story: No point in learning Danish

The Source of Life

However the person sat next to me was successfully cornered. She was able to give me a run-down of raised concerns, which I subsequently misconstrued.

Read a corrected version of the story here.

It seems as though the debate just didn’t translate as simply as I had hoped.

The range of views and opinions expressed was impossible to discern. As the topics got more heated the vocabulary that I have picked up in my short time here was of less and less use, until eventually I succumbed to the calling of the internet. I made a note of websites from a power-point accompaniment (also in Danish), and tuned myself out of the still raging debate.

In future, when considering my attendance at a conference in Danish, I will think twice, and Google many more times, before braving the storm.

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