Exchange at CBS: Success with room for improvement

Skrevet af Sidsel GreenFelix Kasperek, translation - Foto: Mette Foli - 24. februar 2014 - 18:160 kommentarer
Exchange and ISUP students on sightseeing in Copenhagen with the International Office’s intro and welcome crew in the summer of 2013.

 41.6 percent of the fall semester’s 740 exchange students have now evaluated their stay. Apart for housing and contact to Danish students, most criteria of the evaluation are very positive.

A whopping 54 nationalities contributed to the evaluation of the CBS as a foreign exchange destination. There’s reason to be happy and satisfied with the result in the International Office, organizers of the evaluation, as well in CBS as a whole.

89 percent of the students said that they’ve found their stay at CBS either good or very good. Only 1 percent would under no circumstances recommend CBS to other students from their home country.

At the same time, the service from the International Office gets straight A’s.

The evaluation showed in no uncertain terms, that the international students are satisfied with their stay at CBS overall, and it’s a clear improvement over last year’s evaluations.

But before CBS starts resting on its laurels, parts of the report showed a need for improvement in some areas.

Lack of housing still a big problem
‘Housing’ is a word that shows up in the report several times. Like most other students in Copenhagen, exchange students have a hard time finding a place to stay and they find what’s available to be very expensive.

The general lack of housing is hard for CBS to do anything about, but they still try:

- We work in close collaboration with the Housing Fund and we’re currently considering expanding our dormitory portfolio. But since CBS has to pay the rent in the months where no students reside in the rooms, it’s come down to a purely economical consideration, Tom Dahl-Østergaard, head of The International Office, says and continues:

- At the same time, we have an uneven distribution of exchange students, since we accept approx. 200 students more in the fall semester than in spring. With the current housing need among students, it would be unethical to have that many empty rooms in the spring semester.

Use HousingAnywhere!
Since the demand for housing is much higher than the supply of dorm rooms, CBS is putting its eggs in the housing portal HousingAnywhere’s basket. Here, CBS students can rent out their room or apartment when they themselves are abroad.

- I encourage CBS students to use HousingAnywhere that has become much more professional over the last years. If we want to send more and more students on exchange ourselves, we’ll have to find places to stay for those who come here, Tom Dahl-Østergaard urges.

Another point on the evaluation that didn’t score quite as well as the rest, is the contact between international and Danish students. 77.1 percent(!) of the respondents say they’ve had little to no contact with the Danish students.

Although the numbers are a small improvement over earlier years, it’s definitely a challenge that’s being taken seriously by the international office.

Get inspiration from the photo competition
- It’s a well-known phenomenon that foreign exchange students tend to find each other and therefore don’t really get to interact with the locals. Through the buddy system we try to do our part in facilitating contact with the locals, Tom Dahl-Østergaard explains and adds:

- Additionally, we’re in talks with the Housing Fund about initiatives that’ll make it possible for Danish and international students to get rooms in the same dorms.

If you as a CBS student want to contribute to better integration of exchange students, you can find inspiration from this year’s winner of the International Office’s photo competition. (Unfortunately, the link is only available in Danish, but a picture speaks a thousand words in any language, ed.)

- The winning photo shows exactly what an amazing experience being invited into someone’s home can be. In my experience, CBS students are very hospitable, says Tom Dahl-Østergaard and elaborates:

- We always have a lot of people signing up to be Buddies or the relatively new corps of international student ambassadors. I hope that more students in the future will continue the good work and open their arms and homes to those joining us.

Suggestions are welcome
E-campus and the Student HUB are two of the areas where the international students wish to see improvements, in addition to the information before arrival, which also seems to have been lacking a bit.

But CBS wants to make it right, and Tom Dahl-Østergaard is happy to offer a cup of coffee to communication students with good ideas.

The critique shouldn’t overshadow the fact that the report was very positive overall, however.

After having gone over the report, CBS OBSERVER concludes that there’s probably always going to be cultural differences that mean that the grades can’t all be A’s. A comment from a Japanese exchange student, about information he would have wanted from CBS before arriving in Denmark paints a pretty good picture:

”You need to bring your own slippers. It was very hard to find proper slippers for me.”