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Denmark summer program gives students unique global perspective

Aug 18, 2023

Richard Yang and Emily Peng at Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen (1)

Richard Yang and Emily Peng at Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

HBA ’23 candidates Emily Peng and Richard Yang recently returned from Copenhagen, Denmark, where they took part in the International Summer University Programme (ISUP) – a six-week program that draws more than 2,300 students from all over the world to the Copenhagen Business School (CBS), one of Europe’s largest business schools.

A highlight of the Ivey student experience, Ivey’s international programs offer students the opportunity to not only put the skills they’ve learned in the classroom into practice, but to also explore new cultures and experience different perspectives, helping them to develop into future globally minded leaders. 

“Our trip to Denmark was an integral part of our HBA experience due to the cultural exchange, academic enrichment, and memorable connections it brought us,” said Peng. “ISUP exposed us to new teaching methods and allowed us to learn from our classmates who come from all around the world.”

This past year, COVID-related travel restrictions resulted in a few cancellations for students’ prearranged exchange trips. Fortunately, Ivey’s HBA Program Services team was able to pivot and, for the first time, offer the ISUP as an alternative international opportunity for HBA students to receive a half-credit upon completing a course throughout their six-week stay.

In the classroom

During her time at CBS, Peng took the course, Personal and Household Finance, which emphasized culture and its impact on people’s financial decisions. Peng said the global perspectives of the course fostered a deeper understanding of finances, whether for an entire economy or just a single person.

“I believe that Personal and Household Finance was a crucial course that taught me how to manage my own finances and enriched my knowledge about finance and public policies around the world, especially the Danish economy,” she said. 

Yang completed the course, Introduction to Circular Economy, which included case studies tailored to Denmark. He said learning from a Danish professor as well as Danish students added new perspectives on the topic of circularity.

“Learning about such a topic in Denmark, a country that is renowned for living green, was a truly unique experience,” he said. “One key takeaway was regarding the emphasis on prevention of waste as opposed to waste reduction, as well as the challenges surrounding that.”

Copenhagen culture

Outside of the classroom, students had a fun-filled cultural and social schedule, introducing them to Copenhagen and the Danish culture. As part of the program, CBS organized an event where all the international students learned Danish folk dancing.

“Locals were invited to teach us their traditional dance and there was even live music that went along with it,” said Yang. “We were able to learn and immerse ourselves in Danish culture while having a lot of fun.”

While on a canal tour to admire the architecture around Copenhagen, students also learned about green kayaking, a program that invites people to kayak the beautiful waters of Copenhagen for free as long as they’ll collect trash along the way.

“We were equipped with a bucket and tongs and then set off to explore the city through kayaking. At the end, we logged the amount of trash collected. This experience allowed us to have fun while also contributing to a better and more sustainable city,” said Yang.

Both Peng and Yang, who will graduate at Ivey’s fall 2023 convocation ceremony, undoubtedly made the most of their summer in order to gain a unique, global outlook.

“The experience has opened my mind to new perspectives as a result of interacting with a diverse group of people,” said Peng. “In our careers, we will be interacting with new people all the time, all of whom share different views. And, we got to better understand the European culture, which will come in handy if we decide to work there or even conduct business with European parties.”