• Name : Choe Ji-hye
• Grade : Senior
• Major : Department of Architecture
• School : VIA University College
1. Why did you decide to go to Denmark as an exchange student?
Being an exchange student had been one of wish list since I was a high school student. I think it is the best way to live in another country and it provides a good opportunity to take lectures in a foreign school. I am majoring in architecture, so I wanted to go to Northern Europe which is famous for design. There are two reasons why I chose Denmark. The first reason is because Denmark is famous for architecture. The other one is that it is located in the southernmost part of North Europe, so it is less cold than the other Scandinavian countries. I applied to be an exchange student in second semester, so I could enjoy the mild climate.
2. How did you sign up for classes and make a timetable?
The college that I went to had a designated timetable, so I did not need to sign up for classes. In particular, subjects and lecture times were changed every week of the semester. I took six classes. All subjects were linked to each other, so I felt that I was studying one subject.
3. How was the overall price of Denmark?
The cost of Denmark was the most expensive in Northern Europe. A oneway urban bus fare is about 3,550 won, and the train fare to go to Copenhagen from the city where I lived (it took 150 minutes) is about 50,000 won. A meal costs about 30,000 won for lunch and about 50,000 won for dinner. In addition, a cup of coffee is about 7,000 won, the ticket price of a movie charge 18,000 won, and the delivery charges for 20 kilograms is about 300,000 won. However, the price at supermarkets was cheaper than Korea, so I mostly used to cook.
4. How were the classes in Denmark compared to Korea?
In Denmark, unlike Korea, I thought the lecture room was more like a middle school class room. The most notable difference was the lecture method. The professor gave 30 percent of lecture and the remaining 70 percent was self-study. Therefore, I had to lead the lecture, study my major, and do tasks myself. It was the hardest thing in Denmark.
5. Have you enjoyed any cultural experiences with foreign students?
The college separated foreigners from Danish students, so I could not take lectures with Danish students. However, I could take classes with a variety of European friends. The most impressive things from European friends were that they seemed to be free and more entertaining compared to students in Korea and considered themselves to be the most important. I frequently saw some people who missed classes because of trivial reasons such as a friend visiting from their home country or having a sore throat. In addition, they seemed to be self-assertive and talked in a familiar way with the professors.
6. Did you have a chance to be close with foreign friends?
The class was organized into group projects, so there were many opportunities to get acquainted with foreign friends. In addition, there were school parties held every Friday: international day, karaoke night, and a party with classmates. I was able to participate in such events to make international friends with other classmates and be closer to my classmates.
7. Did you have many chances to travel?
I did not have a lot of opportunities during the semester because I had to work with the group members on the weekend. However, there were about 10 days of fall vacation in October and more than two weeks of Christmas vacation in December. I was able to travel during the vacation and in some days a class was canceled or there was no team project. Furthermore, I had a chance to travel to the Arctic with my school tour program. In addition, I took a long trip following the last day of school until returning home. I traveled
to many European countries such as Denmark, Spain, Portugal, England, Germany, and the Czech Republic. For me, it was the first time to visit those countries.
8. Did you have any difficulties with Danish food?
I think Danish food is neither unique nor exceptionally delicious. There are many fatty dishes such as fried bacon, fried potatoes, and roast pork dishes. It was difficult to find a restaurant that had a nutritious meal, so it was inevitable that I cooked something myself. It was also difficult to cook when I was tired. In addition, there were no Korean restaurants around the campus, so if I wanted to eat Asian food, I ate sushi or went to Korean restaurants in other big cities.
9. What was the most memorable experience in Denmark?
I had two international days of cooking Korean food and sharing it with friends from other countries. I was the only Korean, so I could not make many dishes. I made kimchi fried rice, seasoned chicken, and cheese tteokbokki. However, Korean food was very popular with many foreign friends and the dishes were eaten quickly. In addition, I was invited by my roommate from Poland to a Christmas party. Experiencing the Christmas culture of a country at a foreign friend’s house and eating traditional food were both unusual and memorable.
10. What did you feel after finishing the exchange student program?
I felt the importance of expressing myself after seeing the confidence of my European friends. Many Korean really care about other’s reactions, and I also felt this way. Therefore, I thought I need to emulate Europeans who listen to their own thoughts, and I could also get courage.
At first, I was afraid and worried about living in other countries where I did not know anyone. However, I adapted myself to new circumstances abroad. I think I grew up by living on my own and broke the walls of fear through this experience.
Park Eun-chong, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
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