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Cathy from USA, Life Science


Born: May 20 (I would prefer not to have a year here)
Field of study and education institution: Erasmus Mundus Sustainable Forestry and Nature Management (MSc), University of Copenhagen, Life Science
Nationality: USA

Why did you choose to study in Denmark?

I received a scholarship from the European Commission to study Sustainable Forestry and Nature Management. When given the choice of studying in Denmark, the UK, or Germany I chose Denmark because the programme was the best fit for my interests and having been to Copenhagen once on a short visit I knew I liked the city.

What do you like most about studying in Denmark?

I think the quality of education that I am getting at University of Copenhagen's Life Sciences Campus is top notch.

What don't you like about studying in Denmark?

In the beginning it can be difficult understanding the Danish educational system. In my programme we have had a lot of oral exams and this has not been a part of my previous educational experience. Additionally, sometimes it is difficult to understand the professors when they translate English directly from Danish.

What do you like the most about Denmark and the Danes?

Danes: I like that all the young people I know speak English quite well and don't seem bothered if they have to speak English. I also don't feel they are annoyed or judging me because I have not learned Danish yet. Denmark: I like the weekend brunch culture. So many great places for a meal at midday, and often they are cafes with seats outside in the sun.

What don't you like about Denmark and the Danes?

Danes: In the beginning I felt a bit isolated here. My experience was that Danes are very polite and helpful if you ask for help but often are not proactive about offering help (until you get to know them better). Denmark: It can be a bit difficult managing the language when it comes to issues related to getting the CPR number and dealing with the city hall. I don't read Danish and generally can't read the notices I get from the Kommune (city municipal).

Tell us about your best experience in Denmark

My best experience in Denmark was after completing the second semester of exams. By that time I had gotten to know several of my Danish colleagues. After I finished my exam I joined many of them at a pub near the campus and we celebrated the end of the term. I was the only non-Dane but I felt part of the group. We drank beer, ate pizza and watched handball on the tv for hours. It was a great night.

Do you have some advice on Danish student life in general?

My advice for new students is to give Denmark and the Danes some time and a chance to grow on you before you snap to judgement. It takes time to settle in and you many need to invite a Danish colleague 2 or 3 times to do something before they will say yes, but keep asking! I think Danes can be a bit shy so be patient. Although sometimes it may feel much easier to hang out with foreign students or others from your home country, it is worth making the effort to get to know your Danish colleagues. Most of my Danish friends are wonderful people and my life is much easier and more fun in Copenhagen in large part due to their friendship.

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