3 Skills I Learned Abroad

Written by Curtis Howell, Foster School Undergraduate Student


Living in Copenhagen was a drastic change for me. In Seattle, I live with 50 guys in a giant house where we have a full-time cook working for us. I usually take my laundry to Kirkland (because it’s free, not because mom helps! But that’s nice too). In Copenhagen, I lived in an apartment by myself, 20 minutes by bike and 30 minutes by public transportation away from my friends. For the first time in my life, I shopped and cooked for myself. To do my laundry, I had to put my clothes in my backpack and bike 10 minutes. When it was washed, I would bring it back to my apartment and hang it on the rack to air dry to save money on drying costs. Life in Copenhagen has been a drastic learning experience for me, especially because I made this transition to greater independence in a foreign country.


Several times I got very frustrated with the Danish culture. For example, my primary mode of transportation was my bike, like most people living in Copenhagen. One Saturday evening, I was riding home from the bars and got a flat tire. All the shops in Denmark, including the bike shops, are closed on Sundays. Because I wouldn’t get my bike back from the shop until Monday afternoon, I had to be flexible and figure out a different mode of transportation until I got my bike tube fixed.

Awareness of global, economic, and political issues

Copenhagen Business School did an excellent job of incorporating current events into their coursework. I learned a lot about the world economy and current topics of interest in both my international business and organizational behavior courses. I was most impressed with the organizational behavior class. The professor and TA related all the organizational behavior theories to the global financial crisis so in addition to learning organizational behavior theories, I learned a great deal about a pertinent current event that had never been discussed in any of my Foster courses!

My friend, whom I know from Seattle but now lives in Copenhagen, connected me to the Danish entrepreneurial community. I am very grateful for this, as it certainly enhanced my study abroad experience. I am interested and involved in the Seattle entrepreneurial community, so meeting people with similar interests and aspirations in Denmark was a treat. It made me realize that while we are separated by a big blue pond, we are working on solving several similar problems. In addition, I confirmed that work location is becoming increasingly unimportant in the technology field. A great example of this internationalization is Google’s small team in central Denmark developing what they hope is the next client-side web programming language to replace JavaScript. In this spirit, I will likely be able to choose where I work for the duration of my career.