Sunday, November 7, 2010

Study abroad in Denmark

The Danish Ministry for Science, Technology and Education has launched a campaign to substantially increase the number of Danish students studying abroad. Charlotte Sahl-Madsen, Minister for Science, Technology and Development, said she wants studying abroad to become the rule rather than the exception.It is important that as many Danish students as possible study abroad. At the same time I wish to attract talented foreign students to study in Denmark and hopefully work here, upon completing their studies, she said.In 2008, only 2.7% of Danish students awarded a degree had studied abroad as a part of the degree. The number taking a full degree abroad has fallen by 25% since 2002-03.Data just published by the ministry for 2008-09 show that 8,466 Danish students were studying outside Denmark, while 16,657 international students came to Danish institutions. The number of foreign doctorate students has increased 80% in three years.I have just launched the campaign Grib Verden which focuses on inspiring Danish students to go abroad, Sahl-Madsen told University World News.At the same time we are marketing Denmark as a great place to live and study through. I am currently discussing with relevant parties in parliament how to alleviate some of the bureaucratic barriers that Danish students encounter when they wish to study abroad.

The campaign is being fronted by a prominent Danish television personality, Clement Kjersgaard, and the website features interviews with him and the well-known designer Stine Goya who have both studied abroad as part of their training.The website is planned as a motivational and inspirational portal, where the young can see how a global view and experiences from abroad are rewarding both personally and professionally,Sahl-Madsen said. Companies are increasingly looking for candidates with an international competence, so if the young are to be equipped for the work place of tomorrow, such an element is important.

Danish students are able to take abroad the money allocated for their study place in Denmark and use this to pay for tuition fees.John Edelsgaard Andersen, director of international affairs at Copenhagen University, said:All study programmes shall have a mobility window, where there is room for studies abroad that will be recognised at Copenhagen University.Through attractive exchange agreements we can offer our students places at, for instance, New York University, University of California, Columbia University and so on.He said his university had not yet got the balance right.We still have 1,000 more incoming students than we send out, and that creates a balance problem. We are glad that Copenhagen University is attractive abroad, and we are intensifying our work in having our Danish students going abroad,he said.Four out of five exchange students in Denmark come from another European country, but only 49% of Danish exchange students are studying at European institutions 28% went to the US, Canada and Australia.Of the incoming 5,634 students funded by the European Union exchange programme ERASMUS, half came from Spain, France, Germany and Poland.

Sahl-Madsen writes a blog to communicate directly with Danish students. But it sparked a heated debate, with 83 comments, many reporting difficulties in planning studies abroad.Many also report difficulties in finding work in Denmark on returning with a degree from another country, and some have emigrated.

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