Collective Moments under a semester abroad.
Being in the exchange student program in Denmark, one has the opportunity to travel into different countries in Europe in a practical way.
More than studying hard,
more than the joys of traveling at an early age, Faith has seen more of her ability to connect to people with different backgrounds.
It was a windy and sunny Thursday afternoon when I visited Faith at Café Cadeau, where she used to volunteer once a week for a few hours. I find the place cozy with good coffee and affordable meals. It is located in Frederiksberg Copenhagen.
Café Cadeau is a non profit café . Its surplus is spent on humanitarian
- and integration projects. -Café Cadeau
Sheree: Tell us a little about yourself and in what field you are currently studying?
Faith: I go to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA and I am currently an exchange student at Copenhagen Business School in Copenhagen, Denmark. I study business and accounting at my home university, but here in Copenhagen, I just take business electives that I thought sounded fun, like innovation management and visual communication.
At home, I am part of an organization called Design for America and a Christian sorority called Alpha Delta Chi. I enjoy drinking coffee, traveling, and making ceramics! Although I go to school in Southern California, I grew up in Northern California, and I hope to move back north and live in San Francisco after I graduate next year.
Sheree: How did you learn the idea of becoming an exchange student? Where there options that you could study in other country aside from Denmark /CBS?
Faith: In the business program at USC, there are many opportunities to go abroad in the forms of exchange, summer, or internship programs.
I’ve wanted to study abroad since I was in high school or so, so I actively sought out these opportunities.
My specific program had 36 options all over the world for exchange programs and I knew that I wanted to go to Europe to travel, and my top choices were all major cities (Barcelona, Copenhagen, Budapest and Lisbon).
Sheree: What were your expectations before and after you decide to experience something new and challenging?
Faith: I expected it to be very cold! In California it is pretty warm all year round, so I was a bit nervous about how to deal with the cold. I bought a lot of Uniqlo shirts and borrowed a large coat from my mom that I wear almost every day here. Luckily, it’s not as cold as I had imagined, but it has still been an adjustment.
I expected to travel a lot in Europe, and I have gotten to, but I did not expect to be able to really build relationships and make friends outside of my exchange program. These include friends from church, from the café I volunteer at (Café Cadeau), and also mutual friends from people I know back home.
Faith's mother Adrienne came to Denmark for a visit. She was freezing as what Faith says. And yes, it is spring time now. Danish weather. :)
Me and Jacob had the chance to meet Adrienne (Faith's mom) and two of her friends - who came together to Denmark. We had a little tour in Dyrehaven (the animal garden) in Klampenborg and a short tour around the Danish Military Academy in Copenhagen. Since Jacob has been in the navy and airforce a few years ago, he had thought about touring us around the area and explain a few historical insights. It was very sweet of them to give us a bottle of Cookie Butter from USA. It certainly tastes "lækkert". -Sheree
The Danish Military Academy in Copenhagen
Sheree: Would you like to tell us about your preparation before you were even admitted to become an exchange student in Denmark?
Faith: I did a lot of research about the different partner universities that I had the option of applying to. My program had a few informational sessions where students who went abroad in the past presented about their school.
I had to apply to USC’s exchange program by submitting my resume, transcript, some application questions, and also had an interview with the program’s director.
Part of the application is ranking all 36 schools. All of us applicants were ranked and the first applicant got their first choice, the second got their first choice, unless it was filled up, so they would get their second choice. To be honest, I didn’t do much research about the partner universities themselves, I was more interested in the cities of the schools, but I landed in Copenhagen Business School, which is one of the top business schools in the world.
Sheree: What are the 3 most important learnings that you discovered or what advise could you give to those who wishes to do the same, given or not on the same economy or status as you have. (Like tips or any advise that is possible to be an exchange student or just to a young traveler).
Be on the constant lookout for flights on Google Flights! It’s my favorite because you can use the fare calendar and toggle what the cheapest dates to fly are. I’ve gotten a round trip ticket to London for $31 and Milan for $47. Try not to book 6 or 7am flights, however, because first, you’ll have to wake up at 4 a.m. or earlier. Second, you may end up spending more money on taxi fares (since public transportation in some cities don’t run 24/7, or the airports that Ryanair uses are the ones that are harder to get to).
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
If you know someone who is in the country you’ll be traveling to, don’t hesitate to reach out even if you don’t know him or her very well! Maybe you can score a free place to crash for a few days, but at the very least, you’ll have a friendly face in a new place.
I reconnected with one of my classmates because we are both studying abroad in Europe. I met up with her for brunch when I went to Madrid and she shared with me all her travel itineraries (which have been beyond helpful for me!) and she stayed with me when she visited Copenhagen. Though we didn’t know each other well before this semester, after these experiences we have gone from acquaintances to friends.
Instead of going out to eat every meal when you’re traveling, see if you can prepare a few meals at your accommodation, or even just pick up a few things at the grocery store for your meal. When I went to a grocery store in Brussels, I got a packaged spring roll, some cheese, salami, and a box of fruit and I was set for a simple lunch and snack to go, and it was less than 7 euros.
Faith: Countries I have/will visit until the end of June: Denmark, Sweden, UK, France, Spain,
Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.
Thank you Faith :)
FACT: 6 students in CBS from USC
You can read more about Faith's journey as an exchange student in Denmark through her blog:
Other helpful links:
University of Southern California http://www.usc.edu/
Royal Danish Defence College
The Animal Garden (Dyrehaven)
We grow maturely by seeing more of the other side of the world. :)
Sheree Ann Kratmann Indiongco