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Experiential learning in Denmark

A valuable dimension of any university experience is ‘learning by doing’.

Photographs: iStock

Text: Skyler Bentley Hall

This unique concept is structured through field trips, internships, or studying abroad. Students not only gain valuable book knowledge but, more importantly, life knowledge. Experiential learning extends far beyond the classroom, and what better place for internationals to study than in Denmark. Take Global AWAKEnings, a first-year curriculum offered in Copenhagen through Wake Forest University (WFU) and the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS).

First-year abroad

Up to twenty candidates travel to Denmark annually to experience their first year as a Global AWAKEning student. Studying abroad is a core part of WFU’s culture, a university recognised for global commitment. Available in over seventy-five countries, students can broaden their intellectual horizons while studying a unique curriculum. In Copenhagen, first-year students are hosted by Danish families as they attempt to learn the local language (which is undoubtedly a challenge in one year!). Celebrating Danish traditions is a great way to appreciate the quirky activities that we have all come to cherish. Whether it be hitting the cat out of the barrel at Fastelavn, burning a witch on Sankt Hans Aften, or observing celebratory graduation trucks with students dressed in iconic hats - these traditions may only make sense to the Danes. Still, it sure is fun to join the excitement.

"Students have a unique mix of a traditional WFU experience with a global flair. WFU owns homes in Vienna, Venice, and London where (upperclassmen) students’ study for a semester-long programme. The students who participate in Global AWAKEnings visit these houses as part of their coursework while meeting fellow WFU students. This programme offers a unique approach to studying abroad and beginning the university experience." - Nicole McInteer, Associate Dean of International Admissions, Wake Forest University

The curriculum

Most courses are designed to be wide-ranging so students can fulfil Liberal Arts credits as part of WFU’s curriculum. Semester themes include European Humanities and Global Perspectives. Danish language courses are compulsory for the entire year, but elective offerings also include Politics, Communication, Religion, Art, Film, Sociology, Environmental Studies, etc. This partnership allows students to engage in challenging coursework led by professors from Wake Forest University and the Danish Institute for Study Abroad.

Learning by doing

A Global AWAKEning participant will have multiple ‘real world’ experiences to explore through faculty-led study tours. For example, visit a women’s mosque as part of an Islam in the West course; consider a day trip to Dragør to learn about the escape of Danish Jews while studying Danish Language and Culture; travel to Møn and observe the chalk cliff landscapes and quaint little churches as part of Art History. Other options for hands-on learning include Masterworks of Nordic Cinema, Sustainable Development or European Politics with expert guest lecturers. ‘Learning by doing’ - what better way to appreciate a year abroad while making meaningful and memorable experiences in the Nordics.

Enriching programmes such as Global AWAKEnings promote academic engagement, cultural awareness, analytical skills, and career development. If this experiential learning program has awakened your senses, learn more:

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