21 May 2021

Student well-being in and outside the classroom


This edition of our newsletter addresses issues of international students’ well-being inside and outside the classroom at the University of Copenhagen. We look at blind spots in the international classroom and learn how the Student House works with bringing local and international students together.

As “guests” on foreign soil, international students can easily struggle with what is expected from them in class. In her research, UCPH PhD Camilla Falk Rønne Nielsen has looked into the challenges or discomfort of being in a classroom where you understand the language of instruction, but the teaching and examination modes and the underlying cultural norms are alien to you.

I remember similar challenges from my own exchange experience in Australia: I was used to one big end-of-term exam, but at my host institution, I had to learn the art of producing a steady flow of short papers throughout the semester that counted towards my final grade. It took some getting used to but also gave me new skills.

Meaningful social relations

Outside the classroom at UCPH, the Student House is a popular meeting place. Here Director Jacob Ørum and his staff are very engaged in supporting both local and international students in forming meaningful social relations. Their work and their approaches to forming friendships on equal terms are very inspiring!

Challenge the roles

Learning that things can be done differently from what you know and appreciating the new skills this may give you are valuable experiences of studying abroad. However, internationalisation has even more potential when we also dare to challenge the roles of host/guest, mentor/mentee, international/local, and create a sphere of interculturality or a ‘third space’ where our different resources, perspectives and skills are brought into play – socially and academically.

By Anne Bruun