From Spain to Denmark: looking for new opportunities

Hi guys,

Today I would like to introduce you to Sara, a Spanish girl who is studying ICT engineering in Denmark. Even though she is only 18, she traveled a lot and made some great experiences.

Hi Sara, where do you come from and what did you do before coming to Denmark?

Hi Georgiana, I come from a small city in the north of Spain, Valladolid.  I have been living in this lovely city my entire life until last August I came to Denmark to study in bachelor degree.
Before I came to Denmark, I was studying a science degree in high school.  However, I felt like the Spanish educational system wasn’t for me. I wanted to study somewhere where critical thinking was more value than memorizing. In my opinion, testing memory is not the best way to measure intelligence, and I was totally opposed to this.
Thus, if I had something clear was that I wanted to study abroad. My main priority was the United States because I had spent three entire summers there with a family that although they weren’t my blood family, they became my heart family.
However, we all know that studying in America if you aren’t American is quite difficult. For this reason, I had another option: Denmark, that turned out to be the right one.

Why did you choose Denmark? And why ICT?

I have to say that Denmark was my second option. I applied to several universities in America, and unluckily I didn’t get accepted. I applied to Denmark without any hope, I was totally devastated because of the previous applications, and I thought that I wasn’t good enough for studying abroad.
However, unlike America, education in Denmark is free, which means that I had a higher chance to get accepted because I wasn’t applying with a scholarship.
You might be thinking that I chose Denmark because I didn’t have another option. However, this decision didn’t come from scratch. I knew that America was hard to achieve, so I started to study a couple of Scandinavian countries that are known as the “happiest countries in the world.”
In the end, Denmark turned out to have one of the best educational systems in the world, a system which primary objective is to encourage students to think by themselves, and that was exactly what I was looking for.  Definitely, the weather was a drawback, and my friends thought I was totally crazy, and I was going to die from cold. They were wrong 😃
The reason why I chose ICT was that the first summer I spent in America I stayed with a family, and one of the family members was one of the creators of Gmail. He told me thousands of histories about what he did and how he did it. That arose my interest in the field of ICT. Thus, during the next summer (2015) I took two online courses in Python at Rice University. I wanted to ensure that ICT was really my thing and I wasn’t going on the wrong path.
Needless to say, I loved it. And I knew that I wanted to become better and better on it. That required studying ICT in the future.

What documents did you need to apply?

To apply, I needed three things:
-          An English certificate: Most universities ask for the CAE, TOEFL or IELTS. I applied with both the CAE and the TOEFL.
-          A copy of my educational background. Which was basically my grades for the last two years of high school.
-          A copy of my passport.  In general, applying was easy, I managed to do it on my own.

Where do you live and how do you maintain yourself?

I am currently living in a charming city in Jutland central called Horsens. Horsens is a small city, and most students live here, so, as you can imagine finding a GOOD apartment can be pretty hard.
I didn’t complicate myself that much, and since I had to go to class every day I booked an apartment in Student Village, a student residence in front of uni. The rent is quite expensive, but in the end, it’s worth it because you have a lot of privileges such as living 2 minutes away from uni 😃
As I said before, the rent is expensive, that’s why when I came here I started looking for a job. Finding a job in Horsens can be difficult since it’s a small city and in most of the decent jobs Danish is a requirement.
However, one month after my arrival to Denmark, luck knocked on my door when I found a brochure at university saying, "Spanish students are required." It was totally unexpected, I never imagined that I would work using my mother tongue in Denmark.
I applied for the job, and here I am nine months after that working as a country marketing manager for a Danish fashion company, Trendhim. Thanks to this job I met wonderful people, that I now can call friends, such as Georgiana 😃

How was your first semester?

My first semester was great, I met a lot of new people from all different nationalities. The fact that I was in a different country, alone, didn’t make it too complicated. Maybe only for the first couple of days, but then is just about getting used to it.
Regarding my studies, I started learning new things, in a new, different way. I changed individual projects for group projects, written exams for oral exams, and memorizing useless things for actually learning and enjoying what I was studying.

How about the exams?

The exams were oral. In some of them, I had to present a project we elaborated during the semester and others where live coding and explanations of what I have learned during the semester.
The exams usually last around half an hour, including presentation and grading. You go in a room, talk, and right away you get your grade.
I had four exams, HTML, LEGO, JAVA and the semester project.
We have a semester project that lasts three weeks, and our task was to develop a single user system for a BUS company. Once the project period ends, there is an exam where all the team members have to present what they have done and then an individual presentation where you get asked questions.

Would you advise Denmark to other students who want to study ICT and why?

Yes, I would totally recommend it. Although there is only one university that teaches ICT in English, there are many other around Denmark that has different kinds of ICT programs.
The one that suited me the most was the program at VIA University, Horsens.
The reason why I recommend it is because here in Denmark you learn practical things, and you get to develop real-life problems, unlike other countries.

What are your dreams and work aspirations?

One of my passions has always been working in a fashion company so I could say that I am currently living a dream.
However, in the future, I would like to finish my degree in computer science and study a master degree probably in Aalborg university or in Copenhagen. I would like to work as a software developer for a big company, where I could contribute to doing small things that along with others can make vast improvements in life.

Any advice or suggestions for our readers?

If you are one of those who loves traveling and you are thinking of studying abroad, my advice would be to be as prepared as possible before making such an important decision if you want to maintain a good lifestyle. When it is the time to go abroad you have to take into account many factors, for example, the weather, or if you really need a change in your life, you should consider the ease of finding apartments and living standards, the quality of education, the job opportunities

You can always undertake this adventure having no idea of what is going on and learn over time. However, it is much easier to have everything planned to avoid surprises.
In short, I could say that since I moved to Denmark my life has been a dream, and I wouldn’t change anything.

If you want to know more about Sara visit her blog, Sara Lopez, or contact her on her FB page
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