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Study abroad

A life-changing and enriching experience

Photograph: iStock

Text: Skyler Bentley Hall

Exploring the world through a different lens can be a life-changing and enriching experience. Academic exchanges and internships with partner universities have grown exponentially over the past few decades, so what is the big attraction to studying abroad?

Cultural appreciation, self-discovery, enhanced employability skills, and getting out of your comfort zone can offer unlimited opportunities for personal and professional growth. Since transitioning to Denmark, my learning curve of local study options has been tremendous, and I am keen to spread the word about a regional initiative.

Broaden horizons globally

A remarkable opportunity for internationals to study in Denmark is the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). Founded as a cultural and peacemaking effort in the 1940s, CIEE is recognised as a premier study exchange programme worldwide.

The Copenhagen Global Institute was established two years ago, located in the heart of the city. University students from the United States can choose to visit Denmark during a semester or customise their experience by combining studies at two or three of the other Global Institutes in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, London, Madrid, Monteverde, Paris, Rome, Shanghai or Sydney.

"Denmark should feel like a home away from home for our exchange students and CIEE staff focus on creating an atmosphere for students that reflects the Danish values." - Karin Klitgaard Møller, Director CIEE Copenhagen Global Institute

Besides an ideal location, there are numerous other factors to consider when studying abroad. What do you hope to gain from the experience? How do you find those ‘aha’ moments that may influence the next step of your career or educational journey? Global experiences can make a candidate stand out through their appreciation of diverse cultures, identification of global trends, or adaptability to new environments. Most importantly, find an experience you are passionate about and stay true to your goals.

Happiness and Hygge

An introduction to Danish culture is a core component of CIEE Copenhagen Institute. Through academic and leisure activities, internationals make valuable connections to the Danish way of life. There’s no better way to get a taste of Danish lifestyle than to rent a bike, rain or shine, and tour this vibrant city. Or what about an authentic Danish dinner hosted by a Danish family? Offering a personal touch, students get to appreciate the customs, traditions and fully embrace the hygge lifestyle.

Experiential Learning

Students can explore six academic tracks with flexible study options: Business; Communications, Journalism and New Media; Global and Community Health; International Relations and Political Science; Language Literature and Culture; STEM and Society. Courses vary by region, but one common theme exists: 70% of core classes are taught at institutes globally, while 30% are local electives. The latter is focused on encouraging students to integrate with local culture, but all courses will have some local component.

Why not explore a Coca Cola facility as part of a marketing course, or experience finance at a national bank in Denmark? How about delving into Viking studies with an excursion to a Viking fishing village, or analyse literature through the eyes of world-renowned author, Hans Christian Andersen? The study of Scandinavian happiness, a popular elective, incorporates sociology and statistics, measuring variables to explain why Scandinavians top the charts in happiness rankings. Author Meik Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge and The Little Book of Lykke, even makes an appearance, inspiring students with his insights.

Achieving university credits while gaining cultural appreciation has its advantages. Take me back in time, and I would sign up for these meaningful experiences!

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