Study abroad trip to Denmark


Adrienne Oliva / Clarion

Madison College’s global entrepreneurship class visited Denmark on a study abroad trip over spring break, visiting several Danish communities.

Mary Joan Nastri, Staff Writer

Denmark is a small country with approximately 5.5 million people, about the size of Wisconsin. The Global Entrepreneurship class at Madison College recently visited over spring break. Some of us had never flown before, or traveled overseas. Like many travelers today, we prepared for delays, lost luggage, etc. Luckily, we all had carry-ons, but delays were inevitable. We had a six hour delay boarding our flight in Chicago. But, that did not dampen our excitement, as there were plenty shops in the airport to explore. Our flight took us directly to Copenhagen, instead of changing planes in Amsterdam, so we were grateful.

Once we arrived, we found our home for the next few days at the Ibsens Hotel. Breakfast was included and we experienced very dense, delicious breads, jams, cheese, local ham, and much more to fuel us up for our days of sightseeing. We visited castles and museums, and ate at Copenhagen Street Food, an enclosed space of food vendors cooking ethnic cuisines. The city is easily walkable, or you can rent a bike. Be mindful that Danes use bikes as their normal transportation, so they are serious riders, but they allow enough space between others to make it a good way to commute or check out the city.

The Danes are very proud of their country and are indeed, happy, as many reports say. Our experience bore fruit on that claim. Danes enjoy free healthcare, free education, long vacations, and a sustainable work week. Bikes are common, because the tax on new cars is a whopping 185 percent! Danes are taxed heavily, but it is all for the greater good, for all to have a good standard of living.

After our visit to bustling Copenhagen, we continued on the train to a small, quaint town named Kolding. In Danish you do not pronounce the consonant d, so you would pronounce this as “Kolling.” Danish is not an easy language to pronounce, but we had some pointers from our host, Soren, from IBC, the International Business College in Denmark. IBC has a long-standing relationship with Madison College. IBC has visited our school, and this was the first trip for Madison College to visit IBC.

 The education system is a bit different than ours, but they produce great results. Everyone has an opportunity to pursue an education. After high school, Dane students can choose a direction they would like to go in. For instance, people can choose business, medicine, teaching, or the trades. After college, they go on for further education in their field. Soren said Denmark actually pays for students to study. Imagine that! Most classes are small with students attending all classes together throughout their time there. This is a great opportunity to foster relationships beyond college.

Our field trip to LM Wind Power was another exciting exploration. LM Wind Power, recently acquired by General Electric, produces wind turbines. It is one of the biggest industries in Denmark, even when factoring in pharmaceuticals and food production. The company is an industry leader and recently produced the longest blade in industry history.

On our visit to the port Esjberg, the opposite side of the peninsula, we saw the wind turbine shipping industry. The easiest way to deliver blades to other countries is by ship because of their size. The town of Esjberg was a delightful beach town with small shops and fine foods from the area. The town had unusual homes with thatched roofs. The area was strikingly beautiful.

Our last stop before leaving Denmark was Jelling, where the Viking Museum is located. The Danes have a long and rich history. Many myths surround the story of the Vikings. This place provides a better picture of the early Danish. The Vikings traveled far and wide and were exposed to over 50 cultures in their day, thereby creating a culture that was extremely sophisticated in their time.