More interaction between students and teachers than back home
Mauricio, MSc Student, from Columbia
I applied to Copenhagen because the University has some of the best teachers in the world in Operator Algebras, which is my field, perhaps the very best. I can only say that my dreams were fulfilled a hundred per cent.
Originally I got a taste for Scandinavia as an exchange student in Norway. Sure, I was in my teens with all the problems and conflicts that period of your life is full of. But not more so than I was responsive to the people around me. I was able to drink in and appreciate the natural beauty of the countryside and the Scandinavian lifestyle. But I must admit that before I got to Copenhagen I was worried that Scandinavia was academically isolated, despite the really good teachers in my on field. Now I know better.
The teaching is also different from the teaching in Columbia where I did my bachelor at a public university in Bogota. There is more interaction between students and teachers in Denmark. Back home there is more emphasis on exams and good grades. In Denmark there is more joy of learning than pressure of passing, although of course you have to meet your deadlines as regards exams and assignments. But there is more of a collective feeling than an individual race to get the best grades among the students at Copenhagen. And the contact between the professor and students is very close. He can give me good advice, but I can also give him good advice in connection with solving mathematical problems.
As regards the social side of life in Denmark, I've made Danish friends. Friends I can trust through and through. In South America you can make friends with somebody in just one day. In Denmark it's more step by step, although you shouldn't go thinking that the Danes lack spontaneity. It just takes a bit longer, that's all.
Another good thing about Denmark is that 98 per cent of the population have a sense of civic responsibility. This rubs off on the way people get along together. It means that Copenhagen is a clean city and crime is at a low compared to many other places in the world. The city is also beautiful architecturally, with many lovely buildings from the end of the 19th century. It's a city with plenty of opportunities to cycle around in green spaces. Living in Copenhagen is like living in a small town with the advantages of a big city. And one more thing I really notice: sexism or machismo as we call it in Latin America is pretty well non-existent in Denmark. I like that. There is more equality of the sexes than in many other places.