Jack Chen is a 5th year (note: Jack did some of his degree part-time) Commerce (International) Student who studied overseas at Copenhagen Business School (S2 2016, S1 2017).
Edited and formatted by William Cao
What were the highlights of your exchange experience?
It seems unjust to summarise the experiences of one entire year overseas in one paragraph. Exchange is simply one of the best opportunities at your time in UNSW, as there are a myriad of things that you can learn about when you’re placed in a completely foreign environment. Firstly, you do learn a lot more about yourself during the time away from friends, family and familiarity, and I can say with absolute certainty that I have a become a more all-rounded, accepting and mature individual ever since I undertook my student exchange.
I had the privilege of travelling to 20 different countries and made the most of this opportunity to meet people from all over the world, some of which I am sure I will stay lifelong friends with. My travel highlights included: camel riding in the Sahara, climbing the Trolltunga hike in Norway, and exploring London as a solo traveler.
If you’re ready to live life outside of your comfort zone whilst experiencing an entirely new culture, apply for exchange.
Any cultural musts or tips?
If you’re going to live life like a true Copenhagener, please buy or rent a bike. It is simply by far the easiest way to get around town and the benefits are twofold: no public transport costs and free exercise! Second-hand bike groups are ubiquitous on Facebook and several can be found in a matter of seconds.
Danish cuisine does take some getting used to, however smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), frikadeller (small meatballs) and snaps (hard liquor shots) are definitely among my personal favourites.
Unlike Australia’s comparatively stricter drinking laws, in Denmark there are no open container laws so feel free to grab an alcoholic drink or two and relax in the park with your newfound friends!
The campus is spread across 3 different suburbs with the largest and main building, Solbjerg Plads, located right opposite Frederiksberg Shopping Centre and the metro station. There is extensive bike parking around the campus premises. Moreover, the library is state-of-the-art and is a highly recommended area for students to study, since silence is mandatory there. The canteen also offers very reasonably priced meals, and has lunch buffets during certain hours as well.
How was the style of teaching?
The style of teaching was a lot more collaborative and interactive as lecturers at times take a back seat and the lecture at times almost becomes a prolonged discussion about the particular topic being taught. In this manner, classroom participation is a must and there are often group exercises in the same lecture.
What would you recommend for accommodation?
I would recommend Porcelænshaven to any potential exchange student at CBS. It is the closest dorm to the main building Solbjerg Plads and is a convenient 5 minute walk from supermarkets and shops. It is also substantially large, as it includes around 100 rooms and this means that you get to mingle with a lot of different exchange students.The building is quite new and the rooms are extremely cosy. You get your own room and you share your bathroom with your neighbour. (unless you land one of the larger rooms where you have your own bathroom as well) On the basement floor of the Porcelænshaven (colloquially known as PH amongst CBS students), there is also a common area which students can book and host events such as parties or dinners.
Three things you wish you knew before exchange?
- Pack warm. The Copenhagen wind chill is mind-numbingly cold. The weather gauge may say -4C but it often feels more like -10C or -15C because of the relentless Arctic winds.
- Stick by a budget. I managed to keep a Excel file of my expenditures during exchange so I knew exactly what I was spending. It’s easy to splurge overseas on rent, flights, clothing and transport so it’s best to know where your hard earned cash is going.
- Don’t have any expectations. Don’t expect exchange to be a certain way because student exchange is different for every student. Make the most of the opportunities that come your way and step outside of your comfort zone. Do things you never would you have back in UNSW. Meet people from all over the world. That’s how you have a fulfilling exchange.
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