Where and when did you study abroad?
abroad at Copenhagen Business School in Copenhagen, Denmark during my spring semester of my junior year (Spring 2017).
What are two things you learned from your time abroad that you may not have learned otherwise?
One important thing I learned while studying abroad was how to embrace the culture that I’m living in, despite it being different from my own. The Danish people and culture are beautiful and I think it’s important to embrace all of these differences. For example, the Danish people tend to be very reserved and quiet. There isn’t much conversation on the public transportation, in stores, or walking down the street. But this doesn’t mean that they won’t talk to you if you need help. It’s just their way of respecting your privacy. The Danes also bike everywhere in all types of weather so one way of embracing the culture is to buy a bike to travel around the city. Biking in a busy city was completely out of my comfort zone but doing so was well worth it!
Another important thing I learned during my time abroad was how to be independent. There were only four other BU students who attended CBS during my semester. So I essentially traveled by myself to a country I’ve never been to. But I think that this challenge made me a stronger and more capable individual. I took advantage of some of the opportunities to socialize early on in the semester and make friends as a result. I learned how to navigate large European cities and plan trips with these new friends. I also became comfortable with being by myself. Sitting in parks listening to music was one of my favorite things to do (Copenhagen has so many beautiful parks!). Coming back to BU, I now feel more open to new experiences and more confident in my ability to take on future challenges.
What surprised you most about your ti me abroad?
What surprised me the most was how quickly I fell in love with Copenhagen, despite it being so different from other cities I’ve lived in or traveled to. Even though I felt a little uncomfortable the first few weeks (especially navigating the supermarkets), I quickly grew out of the early stages of being a tourist and into the feeling of being a true Copenhagen resident. Even though I’m not Danish, Denmark and the Danes will always feel like a part of me and I look forward to visiting in the future!
What was the hardest part of your experience?
The hardest part of my experience was prioritizing my studies while also taking advantage of all that Copenhagen and Europe have to offer. The academics at CBS are very different from BU and Questrom. Your grade in each class is entirely based on the final exam, which can be scary. But they do give you sufficient time to study and prepare. Attendance isn’t required so it can be easy to postpone studying until before the exams. However, if you devote time for your schoolwork each week and attend class like you would at BU, you should still be successful. It’s also very rewarding to know that you were able to balance your studies while still being able to explore and go on amazing adventures!
What was the best part of your experience?
By far the best part of my experience were the friends that I made. I was fortunate to make friends early in the semester. Because of how international the CBS exchange program was, my closest friends weren’t from the US. As a result, exploring Copenhagen and traveling to other parts of Europe with these friends made it all the more exciting!
What are the best tips for those planning to study where you did?
My best tip is to try becoming friends or strike up a conversation with Danish students! Take advantage of the minimal language barrier since they all speak English very well. It can be easy to only become friends with other exchange students and travel with them. However, you learn so much about the Danish people by interacting with them! They’re very friendly and they have a crazy sense of humor! I met my Danish friends through participating in the Buddy Program where they pair you with a CBS student, so I recommend participating in that program.
Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?
One of my favorite spots in Copenhagen is called Islands Brygge. You can sit along the water and have a picnic when the weather is nice. I would also recommend eating at some of the street food markets in Copenhagen. My favorite is Paper Island. There’s a huge selection of food and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to eat out in the city. Also walk into any bakery and try the pastries because they are absolutely delicious!