Denmark program emphasizes culture

By Kim Harris

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to study in a foreign country?

If so, stop wondering, because NIU’s Foreign Study Program provides students with the chance to experience schooling in a different culture.

Through the Foreign Study Program, students are able to study abroad for a semester or entire academic year in almost any country. One of NIU’s more prominent programs is Denmark’s International Study Program (DIS), which is affiliated with the University of Copenhagen.

DIS was established in 1959 when the University of Copenhagen received a request from an American college asking them to set up some kind of program where students could study abroad. DIS has been offered through NIU since September 1969.

According to Ines DeRomana, coordinator of the Foreign Studies Program, since DIS has been offered at NIU, it has been very successful and has established a very good relationship between NIU and Copenhagen.

DeRomana said the experience of studying in Copenhagen, as with any other foreign country, enhances the student. Students live with a Danish family and are entirely responsible for themselves.

Anders Uhrskov, director of DIS, said Copenhagen is a very safe, honest and hospitable country. DIS is a strong program that takes really good care of the students.

“Staying with a Danish family is very important,” Uhrskov said. “The students get to see local cultures, how birthdays are celebrated, and the relationships between the adults and the children.”

Uhrskov said students should see traveling abroad as an investment in their future.

“Students at NIU know the job market is very tight,” he said. “When they go to apply for a job, isn’t something like this going to look good on a resume?”

Students can pursue studies in Copenhagen in academic programs such as Humanities and Social Sciences, International Business, Architecture and Design, and Marine Environmental Studies.

Uhrskov said all courses offered deal with Europe and are taught by Danish faculty and certified students. Classes however are all taught in English.

“The program is very demanding,” Uhrskov said.

Also as part of academics, students travel to other foreign countries to learn about their cultures and see how their country differs from Copenhagen.

Urhskov said students are encouraged to travel on their own before or after the semester. However, the program does set aside two weeks during the semester for the students to travel.

“Students love it,” Uhrskov said. “Students refer to their family as their Danish mother and father. They also get to meet a lot of other students from other countries.”

According to DeRomana, admission into the program is very fast. Students must have a 3.0 GPA and have a junior or senior standing. However, once a student is admitted into a specific program, the requirements differ.

She said arrangements are made directly through the Foreign Study Office at NIU and students are registered on campus.

The cost of the program is about $7,000. This fee includes tuition, course materials, family stay and three meals a day.

Air fare, visas, passports and spending money are not included. However, discount planning is provided. Financial aid is offered through NIU and students are encouraged to apply for it.

For the first time, the Foreign Study Program will be holding a Study Abroad Fair Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the King Memorial Commons.

There will 14 different tables providing students with information about financial aid opportunities for foreign studies, travel, airfare and student discounts. Former participants also will be present to answer questions.

“It is quite an opportunity for students to meet other students who have already been in the program,” DeRomana said. “We are also raffling off a Eurail pass as encouragement to enroll in the program.”