Guest blog written by Ione Mignogna, BA Management, 2011 graduate and now Intern at SurveyBee.
My experience studying and working in Denmark
Two years after graduating from York, I decided I wanted to continue my studies in another country and experience another culture. My interests lie in the arts sector which is why I started searching for degrees that would complement Business Administration with this interest of mine. I found a perfect match at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in Denmark which offers managerial insights into the cultural industry in the music, film and art sectors among others. After my positive experience living in the UK, I decided to give Denmark a try and moved abroad once I got accepted.
I soon found several differences between the two countries in terms of academic life. Whilst the picturesque campus in York made me feel immersed into the student life straight away, CBS has several buildings around an area of the city making the feeling of being at the university less immersive. I missed the lakes and even the ducks I hated so much whilst studying in York!
I realized the value of the college system in place in York whilst I was in Denmark; the college system allowed students to have a sense of collective identity and belonging right from the first few weeks at the university. In Denmark I was no longer part of a community like the one in Halifax college, which made it harder to meet people in the beginning.
The teaching style is also quite different; in Denmark written assignments are usually followed by an oral examination for example. A very positive aspect of studying in Denmark, is that education is free for EU students. Even more unbelievable, the government pays Danish citizens to study at university. You can get this funding as an international student as well, under the condition of working 10-15 hours per week thus contributing to the taxation system, which is quite a fair arrangement in my opinion.
When it comes to the culture itself, it isn’t very dissimilar to the English one, thus moving here shouldn’t result in a cultural shock for English students. This perhaps may not be the same for international students. Customs here are distinctly different from the ones in Latin countries, and coming from Argentina, I needed some time to get accustomed to them. Oddly enough I didn’t feel the same way in the UK and I believe it may be because of the college system in York. Danes are quite reserved and it takes a long time to get to know them. Their homes are usually seen as private places where intimate friends hang out in contrast with Latin countries which usually tend to welcome new acquaintances to the house to get to know them.
Before moving to Denmark I was afraid the language would prove a barrier to my integration. However, almost every Dane is bilingual in English making the transition to the country very smooth. Once you find an apartment, the city provides free language courses for foreigners to help them integrate quicker to Denmark. Having said that, finding a job can be a challenge without speaking a Nordic language. Because I do not speak Danish, I decided to apply to companies with an international environment and I found an internship working at a media company where I write blog posts for Spanish students at www.surveybee.es/blog
If I had to choose again, my choice would still fall on Copenhagen and I encourage current students at the university to consider Denmark as your next destination. Besides, after having experienced the terrible weather in York, you’ll feel right at home here!