19 September 2019

Let’s share stories

Impact

Reflections on impact of study abroad, Greenland and virtual reality

Many of us have built elaborate study abroad and exchange programmes and set ourselves very ambitious mobility targets such as 20% - 50% of a student cohort. We have also seen the emergence of new models for studying abroad, short-term programmes, internships abroad and now the emergence of virtual exchanges and or combinations thereof. Recent years have also seen new partnership agreements to cater for larger cohorts of students such as ‘super partnerships’ and other types of close collaboration.

As we send more and more of our students abroad for a learning experience and invest financial and human resources in internationalising our campus areas, it’s important to show our students the personal and professional development value of these efforts. We now have access to valid data and impact studies which pinpoints the effects studying abroad will have on students’ careers and personal skills.

In fact, today we stand on much firmer ground to make the case for international higher education and study abroad than we did just a few years back. This is all good! The start of the new semester has made me reflect, though, if, in addition to all of the above, we remember to share all the interesting and fun stories of what the students also learn and do to add to the very important skills and capability discourse. Let me share two interesting stories with you, which relate to but are not limited to studying abroad.

Case of virtual glasses

UCPH student, Simon Bruntse Andersen, has recently developed a set of virtual reality glasses to make life better for patients admitted to hospital. Through the glasses, the patient can ‘go for a walk’ with the dog, experience nature and listen to bird song. Simon is a master student of Health and Informatics. He got the idea during his exchange experience in China!

Case of Greenland

As Greenland is on everybody’s lips these days, it seems appropriate to share one of our international students Alina Aiesha Khan’s story. Alina studies Global Health, and she did a project at the American Air Force base in Thule in North West Greenland. The aim of her project was to design an intervention that would reduce admissions to the medical clinic due to arctic health issues. Impressed by the work she did, the American authorities at the base decided not only to sponsor her stay but also to implement her health intervention at the clinic.

Closer allies

With large visions and high ambitions, the University of Copenhagen was selected in June as a pilot ‘European University’ together with five strong European partners under the name of 4EU+. We will initiate a range of new educational interdisciplinary initiatives and are excited about the opportunities that our new university alliance will offer students. We are confident that this will provide our students with international educational experiences, and already next month the University of Copenhagen will be hosting the 4EU+ first student conference. The idea is to bring students together from all six partner universities for a debate on what the 4EU+ alliance should be for students and how students are represented in our various governance structures.

Let’s keep sharing

A large group of international educators from the University of Copenhagen will be present at the EAIE conference in Helsinki and present on relevant topics - and hopefully we will have the opportunity to connect and share students’ stories. I have noticed a lot of interesting sessions on a greener approach to internationlisation in this year’s programme which is a topic of great relevance to all of us. I hope you will enjoy reading about our ambition to offer courses on the Sustainability Development Goals and perhaps feel inspired, too.