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Building bridges

Connecting international students with Danish culture.

Photographs: iStock

Text: Skyler Bentley Hall

Fascinated by Nordic mythology and culture, Angel Fernandez moved to Denmark a few years ago to embrace a new and challenging study environment. Originally from Venezuela, Angel was raised on two beautiful islands, Aruba, and Tenerife, before settling in Copenhagen. Angel has had a very enriching study experience at Copenhagen Business Academy, initially pursuing an Academy Profession (AP) degree in Service Hospitality and Tourism, followed by a Top-up Bachelor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

I crossed paths with Angel volunteering at International Citizen Days last year, and we discussed the unfortunate news of these valuable English-taught programmes being eliminated in August. As an ambitious leader and dedicated volunteer, Angel is focused on building bridges between internationals and Danish culture. He is an ideal example of how an international student studying in Denmark can positively influence university life and the local community.

"A 'better together' mindset can bring growth to Copenhagen on a more individual and personal level."

Lead to success

As the Chairman of Copenhagen Business Academy’s Student Organisation, Angel has focused on understanding the big picture of challenges students face while establishing a long-term strategy to address ongoing changes. He appreciates the value of building trustful relationships with CBA students and staff consistently advocating for his peers. Many volunteers have helped the school by being Intro Tutors (Welcome Buddies) for new students, supporting Danish and international students settling in Copenhagen. They try to inspire new students and encourage voluntary involvement in the organisation. As a result, internationals may feel more empowered to join a Danish network, whilst Danes can broaden their international mindset of culture and life.

Better together

Through collaborative efforts with Vice Chairman Jana Bubáková, they were invited to represent CBA at DESO, a Student Organisation for all Business Academies. Together with student representatives of other Business Academies, they address student concerns and strengthen positive interactions.

Angel shares his perspective, “It is important not to limit ourselves but to build bridges among those who can influence their future such as educational institutions or local companies. A ‘better together’ mindset can bring growth to Copenhagen on a more individual and personal level. Our talent gains value and growth when we build it with others. Education impacts life; therefore, it is smart to appreciate this and try to bring back the given growth to a community.”

Giving back

Angel appreciates what Denmark has offered him as an international student, a quality education with invaluable personal and professional growth. One of Angel’s most notable experiences was his internship at Copenhagen Municipality within the international department. Angel was willing to provide empathetic, honest, and realistic feedback about the target audience of the international experience. Additionally, in his role as Project Assistant for the Internationalisation Department (CIBB), Angel shared his ideas with important stakeholders, and one of his main projects was volunteering for International Citizen Days (ICD). He designed a communication station for the ICD with International House Copenhagen and promoted this event to Copenhagen Business School, University of Copenhagen, UN City and Microsoft. Angel has also been responsible for the planning and execution of The Living Library (TLL), a concept where expats who have been living in Denmark for an extended period share tips and knowledge to newcomers. Angel thoroughly enjoys contributing to his community, and ideally, he would like to remain in Denmark longer term, but if his future has different plans, it is Angel’s hope, “to leave something meaningful behind since wherever I go, part of Denmark and its people have grown inside of me and will always be with me.”

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