Copenhagen, Denmark Spring 2004
The best information about CBS can be found on their website for the international students,
http://web.cbs.dk/intoff/. All intro information can be easily accessed here. As for social events,
the international office is really great at keeping the students informed via email as to what is
going on in Copenhagen. They regularly send out emails once the students are in Denmark
telling of shows, concerts and other venues that might be of interest to attend. As for maps and
tourist information, look for the Wonderful Copenhagen website or once in Denmark, visit the
tourist information office located a few minutes away from Central Station.
The international office at CBS is very friendly and informative, especially in the beginning of the
stay in Denmark. They are always available to meet in person if any concerns need to be
addressed, and they also are very prompt and courteous when replying to emails, so that is
another way to contact them. The people I had the most contact with were Niels Henrik Larson,
the undergraduate coordinator (mostly for scheduling purposes) and Anne Stoltenberg, the
The reception at the airport I received was great. My buddy was waiting for me and helped
transport me to my apartment. She helped me get acclimated to the city and find everything I
needed in the beginning. After I was settled, I had much to do for the next couple weeks, as
CBS organizes many social activities for the incoming exchange students. I would recommend
doing as many as you can because this is most definitely the best way to meet people when you
first get there. The activities ranged from ice skating to folk dancing to salsa lessons, all of
which were really fun. Be a joiner and you’ll have a blast!
The international perspectives class was somewhat helpful. It allows you to take a more in
depth look at your country. You learn basic facts as well as current information by doing the
news article reviews. It’s not too much work but worthwhile to have as a tool before going
CBS offers specializations in wide variety of subjects in both business and language. Most
students coming from Madison will only be taking classes in the business part of CBS.
However, if students are interested in learning the Danish language, these classes will follow
the language track. There are 14,000 students that attend CBS, both undergraduate and
graduate. They have around 1,000 international students each year.
The lecture format I had was 2.5 hour classes, with multiple breaks. Some professors lecture
more than others, with some putting greater emphasis on group presentations or class
discussion. The professor is available via email as well as during breaks and after class. I
never attempted to contact my professors in person outside of class, but I got the impression
that they are less available. They do not schedule office hours like the professors do at
Madison. I do not think this will pose any problem for students though, as the classes are quite
direct in terms of expectations, grades, etc.
Homework is not regularly given at CBS. There is reading that goes along with each class that
students should do if they expect to do well in a class, but it is not mandatory. Many of my
classes did have group presentations throughout the semester, which would be the closest thing
to homework because you do have to work outside of class.
The exams are given at the end of the semester (typically in May, a few people had exams that
ran into June) and they count for 100% of your grade. I had three different types of exams at
Copenhagen, Denmark Spring 2004
CBS. Two of my exams were in the format of 4-hour written exams. These are pretty self
explanatory. Another exam I had was a case study that was done throughout the semester in a
group followed up with an oral exam based on the group’s research. This seemed to be the
most effective form of exam and the least pressure because the work was spread over a long
period of time. My final exam was a 72-hour case exam. This was similar to the exam I
referred to previously, but the group was assigned a case on a Friday and had to turn in the 10
page paper presenting their conclusions on the case on Monday. The exams are completely
different from what I had at UW, but I don’t think that made them necessarily more difficult.
Once you take the classes, you’ll know what to expect, so the exams are not something to worry
The grades are given on a flat-scale. They are based solely on the final exams at the end of the
semester. CBS has a 13 point scale that will be thoroughly explained to students when they
arrive in Denmark.
The campus as of right now is not centralized. There are two main buildings where I had class,
however, I believe they will not be using one of them in the future years. CBS is constructing
another building that will be built in 2005. The main buildings that CBS works out of are
Solbjerg Plads, the business school, and Dalgas Have, the language school. The international
office is in Dalgas Have. At school students congregate at the cafeterias and also at the student
bars. The bar/café in Solbjerg is called Café Nexus and in Dalgas it is La Cable. These bars
are also popular nighttime hangouts, Solbjerg on Thursdays and La Cable on Fridays. There
are computer labs in both buildings, but they are always very busy. There are also libraries in
both buildings. I didn’t study at them, but you can if you’d like. I did use the library computer
labs all the time, nights and weekends being the best time because they are the least hectic.
Food: $80/month (considering I didn’t eat out much at all)
Local Transportation: $50/month (using monthly metro pass, good on the metro, the s-train and
Denmark does require a visa for your stay abroad. Students are actually applying for a
temporary residence permit. My only advice on this is to apply for the visa as soon as you know
that you will be traveling to Denmark to study. It can take a long time to process and you have
to send your passport to New York, so you want to have ample time to get that back before you
have to leave the country. I believe I sent mine in around September and I got it back in
December. Students will receive an informational sheet in a study abroad packet describing in
detail all that has to accompany their application for the residence permit.
As I mentioned in the cost section, the main public transportation includes the buses, s-trains
and metro. You can get tickets right at the station, but to buy a monthly pass, which I found
highly worthwhile, you purchase this at Central Station. It is very expensive to buy singular
tickets. The Danish people also use bicycles as a form of transportation. Many of the
international students bought them, and I did get one for the last month I was there. I regret
Copenhagen, Denmark Spring 2004
now not getting one sooner because it’s cheap and a very practical way to get around town-
more efficient than the public transportation.
I would not recommend opening a local bank account in Denmark. Everything you need to do
can be done with you credit/debit/ATM card from home. It is a big hassle to open up an account
and is really quite unnecessary. Cash cards are accepted at all stores except the grocery store.
You must have cash there, so keep that in mind.
Health and Safety
I felt extremely safe the entire time I was in Denmark. No precautions other than common
sense need to be taken. There were no health concerns to be aware of in the country. If in the
event you need medical assistance, you will get a medical card while you’re over there that
covers you free as a Danish citizen. I didn’t get any prescriptions refilled while I was abroad. I
would recommend bringing a supply that will last you the whole time when you’re abroad, as I
would guess it might be difficult to get the exact prescription you need in Denmark. Basically,
Denmark is a little utopia…no health or safety concerns to be worried about when going there!
CBS arranged the housing for international students. You have the option to find a place on
your own, but I would not suggest this because housing is very scarce in Copenhagen. There
are three options to you for staying in Denmark- private housing, shared apartments and
student residences. I stayed in the shared apartments and was very happy with my choice.
While the actual apartment was not the nicest or newest, I had a great location and wonderful
people that I met there. I lived in the Waterloo apartments, Sankt Jorgens Alle 6. They are
definitely the most centrally located, between the school and the downtown area. If you want a
bit nicer of a residence, then consider the dorms, but these tend to be located further out, which
was not very appealing to me. I would not recommend the private residence. I had a friend
who lived in one and she felt that it was socially isolating and also hard to deal with the landlord,
so be aware of this if you’re considering a private living situation.
There are two student travel agencies, STA Travel and Kilroy Travels. I only booked one of my
travels with STA, my first actually. They are quite expensive and if you’ll willing to search on
your own, you will find much better deals. The best travel deals I found were by looking into the
low cost airline carriers, Ryan Air and EasyJet and then booking hostels in my destinations.
EasyJet flies right out of Copenhagen but only goes to Germany and England. Ryan Air flies
out of Malmo (20 minute train ride from Copenhagen) and also multiple places in England. I did
a few of my trips flying first to England and then on to my destination from there. It’s a bit of a
hassle but quite cheap. I also took a bus called Eurolines to both Berlin and Stockholm. This
was not bad at all because when you’re in a group of people, the trips go very quickly and this is
a very affordable way to travel. Finally, I took the train to many cities within Denmark, and I
found this to be a nice way of traveling as well.
For phone plans, Telmore is by far the cheapest. There is just one catch-you need to have your
own Danish phone. I was able to get a used phone from my Danish buddy. If you have a
phone, then all you have to do is sign up for the Telmore service and they send you a sim card
for the phone. It’s a pay as you go plan and very cheap. Other people had phone plans through
Vodafone and Orange, which will probably be cheaper if you cannot get a used phone. Some of
the past study abroad participants may have Danish phones, so try and contact them to get one.
Copenhagen, Denmark Spring 2004
To call home, I used a phone card that can be purchased at the post office. However, I had my
parents call me most of the time, so I only had one phone card the whole time I was over in
Denmark. For me, it was definitely worth having a cell phone. Our apartment did not have an in
house phone, so it was necessary and most of my friends stayed in touch by calling cell phones
and sending text messages (something I never did in the US), so I found it very beneficial to
have my own phone.
Mail is quite unpredictable overseas. I think it took about a week to receive packages, but it can
take up to a month if your package gets stuck in customs. Fortunately for me, I did receive all
the packages and letters that were sent. It costs 10 kroner to send a letter home, which is about
$1.50. Sending packages home is not overly complicated; the post office is very helpful in all of
your overseas mailing.
What to bring:
Clothes for all weather (especially warm clothes for the first few months if going in the spring),
umbrella, toiletries, voltage converter, small pack towel for traveling, padlock for hostels, reading
material, money belt (good for safety, though honestly I didn’t use mine ever), travel backpack,
people’s email and regular addresses, etc. This is really all a personal judgment, most anything
you forget can be purchased in Denmark. I forgot to bring a backpack for class, so I had to buy
one. All I had was my large travel backpack, so consider bringing a small one too if your travel
backpack doesn’t have a day pack on it. There wasn’t anything else that I felt I should have
brought and like I said, Denmark has most everything you need, so don’t worry too much about
bringing everything you can imagine over with you.
During the week, stores are open from about 9-5, with grocery stores staying open until 8 or 9.
On Saturdays, stores are open basically the same hours and the grocery stores stay open until
5. On Sundays, everything is closed. Keep that in mind when planning your shopping
excursions. Stores are not open on public holidays.
The grocery stores are all very different. There were 4 stores that were pretty close to me. ISO
has the most selection but is very high priced so I rarely shopped there. Fotex has a lot of
selection and also includes a clothing and toiletry department and is moderately priced. The
cheapest stores are Netto and Fakta, which offer a much more limited selection. I found these
stores to be fine for my shopping, but many people preferred the more high-end grocery stores.
The quality was quite good at all of the grocery stores, regardless of price. As mentioned
before, none of the grocery stores take credit cards, only cash. The prices of food in the
grocery stores are not too different from the US, once again contingent on which grocery store
you choose to shop at. They have many fruit and vegetable stands throughout the city which
are very good but extremely expensive, so I wouldn’t recommend shopping at them on a regular
basis. Everything you need will be at one of the grocery stores.
The best store for toiletries is Fotex. There is one right in the Fredericksburg Mall, across the
street from Solbjerg Plads. For house wares, I would recommend Jysk. Both stores are
moderately priced, and since they don’t have big stores like Wal-mart or K-mart, these are your
Copenhagen, Denmark Spring 2004
As mentioned before, payments are pretty easy. Your credit card can cover purchases in all
shopping stores except the grocery stores. You can use your credit card for all your traveling
purchases, and I used it to book all my flights and many hostels online. As for the payment of
rent, I paid the first installment via bank wire while I was still in the US and the other two
installments in cash while abroad. I would not recommend doing this because the ATM
machine only allows you to take 2000 DKK out per day, which is equivalent to about $340 and
so to pay my installments, I had to do 4 transactions each time. It would be much easier to do a
bank wire with all the rent money before you come abroad if this is financially feasible.
I did not have any language problems with the faculty at CBS. All professors and advisors
spoke fluent English. I didn’t have problems communicating with the other students because
international students are following an English speaking program at CBS. I feel that I got a
good picture of the country simply by my day to day living experiences in Denmark. The local
culture was observed in general more from a distance, but I did get a good idea of what the
Danish lifestyle entailed. The school culture was a little harder to observe because the
exchange students do not interact much with the Danish students. Most classes are with other
exchange students and not with the Danes, as very few of them are following English-speaking
programs. I had no problem communicating with people in everyday life either. Danish people
are quite impressive in that they speak impeccable English, so there are no communication
barriers to worry about. I would recommend taking the Danish Crash Course when coming
abroad, not so much for learning the language, but rather because this is where you meet the
most people in the beginning of your program. Unless you continue taking a Danish language
course while you’re over there, the crash course doesn’t do much for your learning the
language, but definitely do it for the social experience!
The relationships among students are incredible! I have met so many wonderful people that I
studied with that I hope to keep in contact with far into the future. You are able to meet students
from all over the world and this experience is amazing. I did meet some Danish students, but
not too many, as the program is mainly focused around international students. I didn’t get
involved in any student organizations while abroad, however, I think a semester is a bit too short
to really immerse yourself in an organization and with all the traveling and excitement, it’s
unlikely you would have time for one. As I mentioned earlier, there were many special activities
arranged for the exchange students. They are all really fun, so when the emails are sent
informing students of the opportunities, take advantage of them. Overall, I loved the exchange
atmosphere. It was so unique and enlightening, really a once in a lifetime experience.
The exchange experience changed me in so many ways. It made me realize how much more
there is to the world beyond the US and how much I have yet to learn. It taught me how to
better accept others opinions and learn from them, even if they are in opposition to my own. It
allowed me to see my life through a different culture’s viewpoint and that was an interesting
perspective. I believe that Europe and the US are dynamically different, but we both can learn
so much from one another through experiences like this international exchange. Studying
abroad also opened my eyes to the possibility of living in another country for an extended period
of time and perhaps pursing future endeavors overseas. I have even considered returning to
CBS for graduate school because I had such a positive experience while abroad. This journey
was absolutely amazing and unforgettable. I will always look back upon my experience in
Denmark with very fond memories. The friends I have made while abroad from countries
ranging from Singapore to Ireland to New Zealand to Iceland to Thailand and beyond and the
experiences I have had with them will remain part of me forever. Studying abroad was one of
Copenhagen, Denmark Spring 2004
the best choices I have ever made in my life, and I hope that everyone will take the opportunity
to have such an amazing experience for themselves.