15 March 2019

"Oh crystal ball, crystal ball"


Is tea tasting related to the international student experience? Answers to this and more in Trine’s blog on the University of Copenhagen’s perspectives on 4EU+, crystal ball predictions, short-term programmes, and strategic partnership models.

A taste for food science?

A few months back the International Education & Grants’ team visited the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH FOOD) as an office outing. At UCPH FOOD, students carry out hands-on study activities that help to solve the global challenges posed by feeding the world in the future. During our visit, we learned from the department how they teach and engage a diverse group of students in the labs with up to 15 different nationalities per class.

As an extra bonus, the students invited us to be test persons in their development of a new hot tea for a large Danish company. They gave us three different samples to taste plus the opportunity to provide feedback. The group of students were from Germany, US, China and Denmark, and they explained how the experience of developing something in close collaboration with a company gave them hands-on experience with applied research, and how their different cultural backgrounds would help understand different taste preferences. As for the hot tea, I will get back to our taste assessment later...

“Oh, crystal ball, crystal ball…

mirror, mirror on the wall”, as Keane sang in 2008, and had we looked in a crystal ball last year, we would have seen the University of Copenhagen join the 4EU+ alliance. The 4EU+ has been founded on the back of the European Commission's 'European Universities Initiative', whose goal is to educate a new generation of creative Europeans who can work together across languages, borders, and disciplines with a view to addressing the major societal challenges Europe is facing. The Commission wants to strengthen the international competitiveness of European universities, and to support that vision, the 4EU+ alliance has applied for EU funding for a range of educational elements. As we have no crystal ball and cannot predict the future of the application, we have planned already from this year to begin the work of sending and receiving more students among the 4EU+ alliance partners.

Moving classic exchange into the summer

From crystal ball predictions to real initiatives; we plan that 2019 will be the year where we succeed in launching a student exchange scheme for our summer courses with select partners. We have been working on this for a while with the encouragement of many of our partners that we expand the traditional exchange models from “classic exchange” to short-term programme collaboration. Our new summer school video is available online along with the summer course catalogue.

Strategic collaborating

For a few years now within student mobility, we have been working on various concepts for impactful partnerships from developing a quality assurance tool to identifying “super partners” and establishing our first priority partnership. Following the university’s Strategy 2023 we have just set up a project group with stakeholders ranging from deans, heads of studies and professional staff. The group will be working with institutional strategic partnership models covering both research and educational projects and I am certain that we will collect inspiration from many of our international partners. If you are curious to learn more about our super partnerships, UCPH will be presenting on this topic at the upcoming APAIE conference.

Is the tea too rich?

Some liked the food science students’ hot teas and others did not. The testing ended in a long discussion on how to describe various flavours in English (and not in your mother tongue) and how the lack of vocabulary will influence the way, you choose to describe flavours potentially leading to confusion. The way the drink looked, smelled, etc. – was it recognisable or different from other hot teas – was debated loudly. I think the food science students liked us debating with them as they have invited us back to test other foods during the spring semester!

On behalf of the University of Copenhagen, I would like to extend an invitation to you to reach out to us if you have questions and comments concerning our international collaboration, student exchanges and our course catalogue – and I can recommend an international learning experience at UCPH FOOD.