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Arrival

VIEWS: 18 PAGES: 5

									                                        Natalie Burden
                            Exchange Report
                     Copenhagen Business School (CBS)
                                       Summer 2003
Travel, Visas, and Immunization
         I found traveling around to be easy. Copenhagen‟s buses run practically all night long,
and during the day buses run very frequently (i.e. the bus from Valbygardsvej to Copenhagen‟s
center run every 4 minutes). After arriving back in Vancouver I wished the bus system here is
good as it is in Copenhagen! The only difficulty in bussing is trying to figure out which bus to
take, but once you know what bus route you want it‟s easy. Traveling around Europe by train,
even if you don‟t speak Danish or German, is quite easy, especially if you have a Eurail pass
which can be a big money saver. When I was on a train from Germany to Denmark, the train
went right onto an awaiting ferry, which was interesting.
         I didn‟t need a Visa for studying in Denmark because you only need a Visa if you are
staying more than 3 months. As well, when I went to France, Germany, and Norway, a
Canadian passport was enough. However, if you want to go to the Czech Republic (even if it‟s
only for 1 day) you need a travel Visa, which can be a hassle to obtain.
         Before leaving I got a few immunization needles. Some countries require you to have
certain immunizations before entering, but I didn‟t find any to be required for France,
Germany, Denmark or Norway. I did, however, make sure I had Hepatitis A & B and
Meningitis (the combo shot for several forms) because they were recommended.

Weather
          I‟m very glad I knew to bring an umbrella, because it can rain hard in Copenhagen.
The weather there is quite strange in that it can change quickly. One minute it‟s raining, and
then the next minute it‟s sunny. Overall, the weather was quite good when I was there. Some
days we even went to the beach.
          Since Denmark is so far north, in the summer daylight lasts a long time each day.
When I first got there at the end of June, there was only about 4 hours of darkness a night. At
first it can seem a little strange to find it daylight out when you are leaving a club for home!
And, when it is dark, the sky isn‟t black it is a beautiful deep blue.

Money
         It‟s important to know that in Europe bank machines don‟t have letters on the key pad,
so if you know your PIN number because of the word it spells, you‟re in trouble. I‟m glad I
knew that before arriving. Also, if you find that your bank card doesn‟t work in a bank
machine when you first get to Copenhagen, don‟t panic until you‟ve tried it in a machine
belonging to a different Danish bank.
         Also a good thing to know in advance about money is to let your credit card company
know you‟ll be overseas. I‟ve had Visa phone me because I made an “out-of-character”
purchase once (it was a car windshield repair) and had they not been able to get a hold of me to
confirm the purchase, they would have frozen my credit card. I can imagine how purchases in
Europe would be considered “out-of-character”. Some one at my bank also recommended
letting your credit card company know.
         Copenhagen is a very expensive city, but there are a lot of ways to be cheap! For
example: shop at the cheaper grocery stores, don‟t buy pop (pop is quite expensive), don‟t eat
at McDonalds or other fast food chains (also quite expensive- can cost $8cdn for a basic meal
at McDonald‟s), eat at all-you-can eat buffets (there are some really good buffet prices out
there!), go to the lunch buffet right before it ends (around 2:30) instead of going to the dinner
one, bring a lunch to school, go to museums and the like on the 1 day a week that they are free,
and drink at home with your friends before going to clubs.
         I spent $1300 on airfare and travel insurance (this was a huge bargain at the time- but
keep in mind it was more expensive for me because I flew into Paris and out of Copenhagen
and had a longer duration because I traveled first). I spent the same on a bus pass as I would
have spent here buying a bus pass (approx $70). Textbook prices were also similar to Canada
(spent approx $200). Tuition was $600 paid to SFU before leaving. Dorm cost was $900 (also
paid before departure in a wire transfer).

Arrival and Orientation
         Since I backpacked around Europe for a few weeks before coming to Copenhagen, I
arrived at the train station, not the airport. In advance I had signed up for the Buddy Program,
and my buddy met me at the train station and took me to my residence. I was really glad that I
signed up for a buddy, because it made getting to my dorm really easy, and she also told me
about how to get a bus pass and showed me where the grocery store nearest residence was.
However, my buddy didn‟t seem to know much about my orientation on the first day, and
since I didn‟t get any emails about the orientation in advance I had no idea when or where it
was. It turns out that the International Office puts together a useful package of information,
including the Orientation details. This package was in everyone‟s “Pigeon Holes” (mailboxes
that each student has outside the international office). I met a girl in my dorm who had come to
Copenhagen a week early and she everyone about orientation. I suggest attending orientation,
because my orientation was quite helpful. We learned a lot of practical information, such as
where to get printing cards.

Accommodation and Living:
         I lived in Valbygardsvej residence. I had initially also listed other residences in my
priority list when filling out the application forms, but I‟m really glad that I ended up in
Valbygardsvej (also known as 'Valby').

Location & busing
       One dorm is quite close to the school, another is right downtown, and Valby is in the
middle. The other dorm (the cheapest one) seemed quite far away to me. Valby is in
Frederiksberg which is an area outlying from downtown, the area where the school is located. I
thought that it was a great location because it was a short (and direct) bus ride from both
downtown and school. Valby is in a residential neighborhood.

About the building:
         Having lived in dorms at SFU, I was pleasantly surprised about the size of the rooms in
Valby. The building is L-shaped and 3 stories (the bottom 2 stories were for us). There‟s a
small patio in the back. On each floor there‟s laundry (it‟s free!), bathrooms, and a kitchen.
After I left they put all new dishes, etc in them. There‟s also a common room on the bottom
floor.

Phone/Internet in the dorm
        The dorm had high speed internet for free and also phone lines. However, to make a
call you needed a phone card. In this dorm you need a specific phone card – the TDC card with
the PIN number that you scratch. Any other card won‟t work and is a waste of money. TDC is
the Danish phone company, and you buy the card in their stores: there‟s one store on Stroget
(the main pedestrian street) and there‟s another a few blocks away from Frederiksberg Center
(a mall across the street from school). One trick with the phone cards: buy the TDC card and
since it doesn‟t have the greatest per minute rate (about 90 minutes for $20cdn if I recall
correctly) use the TDC card to call a Go Bananas card (sold at 7-11 and has a much better per
minute rate). This will save you a lot of money in long distance calling and is worth it even
though you have to dial many, many digits while dialing home. I used the computers at school
for the internet.

Academic Details
        I was in Global Marketing and Leadership. Leadership was interesting, but not hugely
challenging. Global Marketing reading could pile up quickly because of the condensed
semester, but it wasn‟t too tough. What was difficult about Global Marketing was that it was
the only class on Fridays, so everyone else‟s weekend started Thursday night. Also, the class
ran for 6 hours, which is something I‟m not used to. There were no midterms because of the
condensed semester.

Text books and School Supplies
        At CBS summer school, you have to buy your texts in your first week or two because
the bookstore closes for the rest of the summer. Text prices are similar to SFU. You can also
buy some school supplies there, but I recommend going somewhere cheaper. I bought all my
school supplies (I had no school stuff when I arrived) at Tiger, which is like a Danish dollar
store. There are Tiger stores around the city, but the one I went to is across from
Radhuspladsen on the same side of the road as Tivoli (Radhuspladsen and Tivoli are really
easy to find).

Food and Grocery Shopping
        Grocery shopping is a bit challenging because almost all products have no English on
the label. Prices can really vary between grocery store chains. Netto is the cheapest by far, but
they often have little selection. Nettos are all around the city. Also cheap, but with more
selection, is Prima. The only Prima I saw is close to Valbysgardsvej residence. Fotex is also
common (and very close to school) but is more expensive. At these grocery stores you bag
your own groceries and if you don‟t bring bags, you have to pay for them. At Prima, you have
to weigh some of the produce and print out a sticker for it (like the stickers you see in a deli
department here) before going to the checkout. Also important to know about grocery
shopping, and definitely different from Canada, is that you have to pay in cash (no debit or
credit cards are accepted).

Social and extra-curricular activities organized by CBS
        I‟m glad that the school arranged many social activities. It was a great chance to meet
people that I didn‟t have class or live with. We had to sign up for these activities and pay for
them in advance. Some of these activities included a walking tour, a boat tour, going to the
harbor and jazz festivals, international potluck night, tour of Christiania, sailing on a Viking
ship (in nearby town of Roskilde), a trip to Berlin, and a trip to Oslo. Having just been in
Berlin before coming to Copenhagen, I didn‟t sign up for that trip, but I heard that it was fun. I
did go on the Oslo trip, and am glad that I did even though I missed the tour bus in Oslo. The
ship we took was quite nice- it even had a movie theater. The dinner buffets that we were
signed up for on the ship were the most amazing buffets I have ever seen. However, on the
way back to Copenhagen the water was really rough, so a few others and myself got really sea
sick. I recommend packing Gravol just in case.

Things to see & do in Copenhagen
         Copenhagen has a lot to see and do. The pedestrian street, called Stroget, is fun to walk
along because you never know what you‟ll see and it has some good shopping. At one end of
Stroget is Radhuspladsen (the town hall square) next to Tivoli and near the other end is
Nyhavn, a nice place to sit along the water.
         There‟s also Tivoli, one of my favorite places. It‟s like an amusement park, but without
the Disney element. There are rides, gardens, bars, cafes and restaurants (more expensive than
those not in Tivoli, fireworks once a week and a laser light show each night. Also, every
Friday Tivoli has something different going on, for example a Kool and the Gang or Tony
Bennett concert. I‟m glad that I got a season‟s pass to Tivoli; it‟s defiantly worth the money
and being able to skip the lineup at the entrance.
         I liked the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. It‟s my favorite art gallery in all of Europe, and
even people who don‟t usually like art museums that much liked it. It has a great collection and
the building itself is beautiful inside. Admission is free 2 days a week.
         Another thing to do is a free tour of the Carlsberg Brewery (not far from Valbygardsvej
residence), which ends with free samples. There are also beaches, parks, and palaces. If you‟re
into doing the tourist thing there are several beautiful churches to look at and the Round Tower
to climb. There‟s also good shopping in Copenhagen, I liked H&M and the Fisketorvet
shopping mall. Fisketorvet is on the bus ride between Valbygardsvej residence and central
Copenhagen, and also has a movie theater. Additionally, there are many open air cafes and
great restaurants, as well as festivals such as the harbor and jazz festivals.
         Of course there are also the clubs and bars. A few of my favorites were The Dubliner
(an Irish pub), The Australian Bar (really cheap drinks on Thursdays), Vega (several stories
with multiple dance floors and bars), and Papa Hotel (clubbing on a beach).
         Lastly, Copenhagen is a good transportation point for getting to other cities. For
example Malmo, Sweden is a 45 minute train ride away.

My favorite and worst experiences
         One of my favorite experiences was going to a Kool and the Gang concert in Tivoli. It
was so much fun! Tivoli was a really fun place- a great experience every time I went. I also
really liked walking around Copenhagen, it‟s a beautiful city with lots to see and do. For two
reasons, my least favorite experience was leaving. First, I couldn‟t really think of anything else
that I could say is my least favorite experience (except for maybe getting up for Friday
morning class after partying Thursday night and the time I got really sea sick on the way home
from Oslo). Secondly, I put leaving as my least favorite experience because it was difficult to
leave the good friends and city of Copenhagen itself behind. You form friendships really
quickly because you know no one else, you spend all your time with these people, and also
because most of the people who go on exchange have similar to you (similar attitudes, and are
outgoing and friendly). Every day I had a lot of fun and it‟s hard to be bored when you live
with so many friends in such a fun city.

Advice for other students/ what I wish I knew beforehand:
    Travel insurance! I can‟t recommend this strongly enough. I knew 3 people this
       summer that didn‟t have it and needed it: one guy was sick, one girls‟ family member
       died, and another girl accidentally booked her return ticket for a few days after our
        final exam. My travel insurance (purchased at Travel Cuts at the time I bought my
        plane ticket) would have covered all of these situations. Buy the insurance because you
        never know!
       Keep a journal. It‟s a bit of a hassle, but it‟s worth it. Having been several days behind
        in my travel journal when backpacking beforehand, I decided not keep a journal when
        in Copenhagen. Now I can look back and remember funny things and stuff that
        happened when backpacking that I‟ve already forgotten about, so I regret not keeping a
        journal in Copenhagen.
       Bring a photo with you of yourself (the photo-booth kind). You have to have one to get
        a bus pass (it gets attached to the pass).
       When you use your credit card, you may be asked to enter your PIN number in an
        Interac-type fashion. Your credit card PIN number probably won‟t work in Denmark,
        so if you are asked to enter the credit card PIN number tell them you don‟t have one
        and they will process your credit card differently so that you sign instead.
       In some stores, (such as the TDC phone stores where you buy phone cards to use in
        Valbygardsvej residence), you have to take a slip of paper with a number on it out of a
        machine in order to be served because they serve everyone by number.
       Most places to shop are closed on Sundays. Get your groceries before Sunday or you
        may have to go hungry (or eat take out).

What you've learned most and challenges you faced
         Aside from finding grocery shopping more difficult than it is at home, I didn‟t really
face many other challenges. Not knowing anyone, and having to make an entirely new set of
friends, wasn‟t challenging. It was fun getting to know the other exchange students. It seems
like all exchange students are similar in that they are friendly, outgoing, and wanting to try
something new. I‟ve met some amazing people and learned a lot more about their countries
and cultures.
         It is a bit challenging at first to figure out what busses go where, but after a few days I
was fine. Danish people are very friendly, and they speak English, so you can find help if you
need it.
         One challenge party related to the exchange was the surprisingly harsh jet lag that I got
once I returned back to Canada. I didn‟t have any jet lag when going to Europe (but I was
really short on sleep at the time, so maybe my body probably didn‟t care when it slept). Having
only been away for a few months, I didn‟t expect it to take so long for me to get over the jet lag
(it took about 10 days- 10 long days). When I was wandering around Canada so tired, I found
myself in a bit of culture shock- doing things like accidentally saying „thank you‟ in Danish or
looking for the bus number that I used to ride in Copenhagen while at the bus loop here and
being surprised when it didn‟t come. So, I‟ve learned that even though going to CBS summer
school isn‟t the longest exchange available, you can still face jet lag and culture shock coming
home.

      To conclude, I would definitely recommend the summer exchange program at
Copenhagen Business School. My exchange was a great experience, and a lot of fun.

								
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