'Studying in Aarhus has been one of the best times of my life'
Marco Kunst, 20, is from Holland, where he is studying a Bachelor of Business Administration for his fourth year at Inholland University in Alkmaar. He is an exchange student for five months, studying Marketing Management.
Marco got the urge to study in Denmark after being recommended to go there by a friend who had been abroad on an enjoyable exchange stay in the Danish capital Copenhagen. His friend told Marco all about the social life, the parties, the studies and the bicycle helmets. Marco applied for an Erasmus exchange abroad and got accepted into Business Academy Aarhus, which is a partner institution with Marco’s educational institution in Holland.
Being abroad, and yet feeling at home
Marco expected Denmark to be different from Dutch society but realised that there are several similarities: the welfare system, the higher educational system, the infrastructure and even the language has similarities. The Danes also get around like the Dutch – by bike. At one point Denmark is different, though: the energetic and friendly teachers and the free and easy atmosphere in the classroom.
'I clearly remember my first day in class. The teacher entered the room and said: 'hey good looking people' and everyone replied: 'hey good looking teacher.' I was surprised. We can call them our friends, we are on Facebook with them, and we do not address them as Sir or Madam. The teachers are very committed to the students. They even bring us coffee. It is a pleasure to go to school in Denmark because we have so much fun together. In Holland we are not at all that friendly with our teachers,' states Marco, who is the only Dutchman in his class. The other exchange students come from Belgium, Spain, Slovakia, Germany, France and Italy.
'I meet people from all over the world and get an international network. After only a few months here, I have got so many new friends.
Striving for straight A’s
Studying at Business Academy Aarhus is very practice-orientated and many of the assignments are done in groups with four of five fellow students. This is a challenging task for Marco who is very ambitious.
'My aim is to be the best and I always strive for top marks. Working in groups calls for matching expectations. It is both very challenging and a lot of fun to get everyone in the group to work hard and contribute the best they have.'
The exchange family
Marco lives in a huge dormitory for young students called Skjoldhøjkollegiet, seven kilometres from the Academy. He has his own room and bathroom but shares the kitchen with 12 people. At home in Holland Marco lives with his parents and younger brother. And although he is away from his family living by himself, he does not feel alone at all. There is a lot of social contact at the dormitory.
'We always meet for dinner or spend the evenings together, watch films and take turns cooking. I cook on Tuesdays.'
Furthermore, the exchange student network organises a lot of activities and Marco spends all his spare time together with the international exchange student group.
'We are like one big family. We do a lot of activities and experience the country together. Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday we go out together. We have had trips to Skagen in the north of Jutland and travelled to Oslo in Norway and Stockholm in Sweden. We have so much fun and have already decided to get together for a reunion in Luxembourg next year.'
Like his friend, Marco will advise anyone who has the opportunity to study one semester abroad.
'This has been one of the best times of my life. Being abroad really contributes to your personal development and improves your English skills,' says Marco, who looks forward to his parents and brother visiting. They will spend the Christmas break with him in Aarhus.