What if nobody likes me? – University of Copenhagen

04 March 2016

What if nobody likes me?

At the University of Copenhagen, we launched a campaign with a new approach to motivating students to go abroad. Instead of focusing on geography or academia, we tried to address more fundamental issues which ultimately discourage many from going abroad.   

Being on the mailing list of this particular newsletter, chances are you have a fairly international outlook. Maybe you have lived abroad on a few occasions; you probably travel quite a bit; and you have plenty of international friends, with whom you chit-chat in several languages. Going abroad is easy, isn’t it? It isn’t. For many students, the prospect of moving to another country is daunting. At UCPH, we have tried to address the concerns that students face when considering whether to go abroad – and we have made two videos about it. 

Captain Obvious reporting for duty

A typical way of encouraging students to go abroad is by telling them how great it is to travel. Or to point to the many reputable universities scattered across Europe and the world. Both arguments are true, and both would be convincing - if only the students were not aware of this already. What then, we asked ourselves, is dissuading students from pursuing a semester in another country?

A few steps down Maslow’s pyramid

What appear to worry many students are those small things that seem insignificant when looking back, but immense when looking ahead. Loneliness, money, a place to live. If certain essentials are not present, many students will opt out of going on exchange, no matter the location or academic value. That’s why the University of Copenhagen contacted a number of students who are currently on Erasmus+ exchange, to ask them about what worried them the most prior to their departure, and what they think now.

Don’t worry; it’s alright to worry

With our campaign, we hope to show students that it is normal to be anxious before taking such a huge step. It's perfectly reasonably to be worried about being lonely, how to make ends meet, or what if you just can’t figure out how to queue up properly? But we also hope to show our students that these worries mostly turn out to be unwarranted. We want to show them that beyond the red tape and weird food is a brave new world of experiences and places to explore – and that’s pretty amazing.

To find out more about the Erasmus+ Programme and the campaign please contact Nikolaj Borreschmidt.