I had just concluded my second week of classes at VIA, and I am slowly settling into my new life in Denmark. Many of my initial concerns have faded since starting class and getting used to my new surroundings. I have been able to gain a better insight into Danish culture and the international culture that VIA strives to facilitate.
The educational system at VIA is fairly different from what I have experienced before in Canada. The courses are more structured to facilitate constant group work and an open discussion between the professor and the student. I enjoy this system as it pushes the student to think more critically and not just remember facts. This style of learning reflects the higher stages of Bloom’s taxonomy which is taught in several of NWCC’s business classes. The goal of my courses is to push students towards the analyzing stage in the pyramid and to go past simply remembering facts and formulas.
The idea of pushing students to be able to analyze and contribute new ideas and solutions to real-world problems is a significant part of the curriculum at VIA. This is demonstrated through the requirement of a minimum 12-week internship with a company in the final semester that can be done either locally or abroad. For this reason, my classrooms are located in the newest addition to the University which is a joint space that houses many different company offices.
Outside of class, I have been able to experience and learn significantly about many different countries and their economic, political and social climate through discussions with various peoples around the campus. Danes are the minority in my program as most students in my class and around campus have come from varying parts of Europe. I believe this is a great learning experience as it will allow me to gain further insight into the world outside of western culture. This will be a significant asset in my future as businesses continue to expand across borders and demand that employees have a globalized view.
I hope to make the most of my time in Denmark through the various extracurricular courses and clubs offered to students. As an international student, I am given the opportunity to receive free Danish lessons through the local municipality. These lessons are very flexible in time and can easily fit around my main courses through evening or Saturday classes. This is something I look forward to taking as my Grandfather is Danish, and it would be great to speak to him in his native language.
One organizational that I am particularly interested in, which is also in Canada is AEISEC. This is the largest youth-run organization which focuses on developing leadership skills, networking, and volunteer experience. Through this organization, I will have access to a greater amount of opportunities to possibly intern or volunteer abroad. I believe it is important to be active in organizations like this as volunteer experience is becoming increasingly important when searching for a job after school. I would encourage all NWCC students to fully take advantage of the many extracurricular activities and events offered at the campus and surrounding area. The benefits of participating in your local community will defiantly compound and have a positive impact on your future.