University Post
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See my student job: Kathrine interprets Gothic manuscripts from Fyn

Students at the University of Copenhagen work jobs an average of five hours a week, but what do they do when they clock in at a student job? The University Post asked several students how they spend their days.

Name? Kathrine Faust Larsen
Subject? History, 3rd semester
Student job? Student assistant on Danmark’s Kirker or Denmark’s Churches, a set of books from the Danish National Museum. My job consists mostly in reading Gothic script sources for church work, mostly church protocols, accounts and letters. I transcribe the most important information so that editors can quickly scan the transcribed text and extract the information they need.

How long have you worked there? Since April 2016.

How did you get the job? In the second semester handwriting reading course my instructor mentioned that they might be looking for some new student assistants on her work, Danmarks Kirker. So I had got a foothold. I wrote an application, was called in for an interview and was hired the same day. It pays to be ahead of the curve and to know someone!

A day on the job

06:30 My alarm clock goes off. I live in Køge, a suburb south of Copenhagen and I need to get up early to work, as it takes an hour by train.

9:00 – I turn up at the Danish National Museum building on Frederiksholms Kanal. You usually read and transcribe sources at the National Archives, but we have been allowed to use the Marstal church. I spend most of my time at my desk tearing my hair out over the the bad handwriting. When you read manuscript sources, each writing has its own style, and you can never be sure what it looks like (ie how incomprehensible it is) when you open the archive package.

Sometimes an ugly text written in Latin letters from the 1900s can be harder to read than nicely written Gothic text from 1700. In addition, each region has its own dialect, which is revealed in the script. Currently I read Funen (island of Fyn) sources, and sometimes you come across words like “læijnstoel” (armchair), where you have to read the words aloud – and slowly – to understand the word.

12:00 – We eat lunch. I mostly eat with the other student assistants and editors in the studio at the editors’ offices. Here we discuss various topics ranging from politics (particularly Drumpf in the past few weeks) and history to the profanity of Captain Haddock in Tintin. It’s great as a 3rd semester ‘rookie’ bachelor student to be able to associate with other peers and listen in on the jargon. In this way you get a second, and broader understanding of the subject than what you are taught at university.
14.30 – I log off the computer and pack my things together. The tour now goes to the University on South Campus and a lecture on right populism, Europe and Drumpf.

Would you like to tell us about your student job? Write an email where you respond to the same questions asked in this article – and tell us about your day on your student job. Send the e-mail to