By Kyle Bransky, Foster Undergraduate who participated in an exchange with Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in Copenhagen, Denmark
October 12: European lifestyle
After spending a couple weeks in Copenhagen it is interesting to compare and contrast it from Seattle. European cites are designed to be far more compact than American cities and it only takes about 45 minutes to bike from the edge to town to the opposite end. Almost everyone bikes or uses public transportation as well. My host family owns a car, and they said the government taxes the purchase of a new car 175% to encourage other methods of transportation! Fortunately it is incredibly easy to get around with designated bike lanes and lights on every street, and an efficient, but not expansive metro system.
People dress, talk, and act very similarly. I don’t think I truly appreciated how individual Americans are until I’ve been immersed in a homogeneous society. When in public spaces, it is easy to identify foreigners because they are not either: blonde, over six feet, or wearing all black. This homogeneity likely allows for greater social welfare programs because citizens feel a closer kinship to each other.
November 22: Travels to Spain and Portugal
I just celebrated my 21st birthday abroad with a trip to Lisbon, Portugal and Barcelona, Spain. Portugal is an incredibly beautiful country in an ugly economic situation, in other words, a perfect tourist destination. I was able to rent a bed in a hostel with breakfast included and views of the water for about 14 USD a night. The food was incredible with amazing seafood for all less than $5. I met several incredibly friendly Portuguese people who recommended cites to see. The combination of incredible natural beauty, friendly people, and an affordable cost for an exchange student culminated in one of the best trips of my life.
Barcelona is massive. With an urban sprawl that matches an American city, I ended up walking over 12 miles each day to avoid Barcelona’s overcrowded subway system. The weather in Barcelona during November was almost ideal hovering in the low 70’s, making the beach even better. But the best attraction in Barcelona is La Segrada Familia, a church designed by Gaudi, 100 years in the making. This church has been under construction for over 100 years, outliving 3 architects. The outside may leave some to be desired, but the inside was the most beautiful building I have ever been inside. The church is a must-see for anyone who visits Barcelona. Overall, the city was fantastic to walk around in, but was not as unique as the other cities I visited during my European travels.
December 15: Academics at CBS
The Copenhagen Business School (CBS) is known as being one of the best business schools in Europe and the best in Scandinavia. It has connections at top consulting firms like Bain & Co. and Boston Consulting Group, as well as most major banks. The students are incredibly professional, intelligent, and diverse. However, CBS is not even close to the standard of the University of Washington and the Foster School of Business.
The professors, while have impressive backgrounds, are mediocre lecturers at best, and struggle to communicate effectively if English is not their first language. Class is very infrequent, and I would have only about 5 hours of class a week with a full schedule. There are no assignments and your entire grade is based upon one final exam. However, these exams are graded easily compared to UW, and anyone who is succeeding at UW should have great success at CBS. The overall education experience was fine, but the lack of class led to minimal learning, but maximum traveling. I would recommend CBS for an exchange program, but not for a US student looking to go to graduate school in Europe.