"An undergraduate degree from one of the country’s top universities, the London School of Economics, will provide me with the ideal, relevant skillset for my career and a valuable network for the future."
Teodor Andersen, Danish student.
Teodor Andersen – Deciding to study in the UK
Every year thousands of international students come to the UK to study a range of subjects at a wide variety of universities and colleges. What makes a student from Copenhagen want to spend three years in London pursuing an undergraduate degree? The British Council Denmark spoke to Teodor Andersen about his decision to come to the capital.
Were and what are you planning to study, and why did you choose such a subject?
I will enrol in the course BSc Management, which is a broad, yet mathematically rigorous degree that provides students with an understanding of corporate management, economics and finance. I chose a business subject with an international scope because I believe that prominent corporations and global markets have a major say in where the world is going. In the long run, I aspire to influence their development in a positive, progressive way.
I decided that an undergraduate degree from one of the country’s top universities, the London School of Economics (LSE), would provide me with the ideal, relevant skillset for my career and a valuable network for the future. After all, London is the financial centre of Europe and the UK has one of the world’s largest economies. I also love the diversity of London, and I have been there with my family, or on my own, many times.
How did you find the application process via UCAS?
I felt that I was able to grasp the application system UCAS (which every application goes through) and its requirements and bureaucratism after a few weeks of online research. In retrospect, the process can be straightforward provided one dedicates a fair amount of time in advance to understanding how it works.
Does the UK have a good reputation as somewhere to study your subject in Denmark? If so, what makes it stand out?
Yes, it does. This is primarily driven by the prevalent notion that it is very hard to get an offer given the Russel Group’s large pool of qualified applicants from overseas. Studying economics and other business subjects is certainly reputable. Also, the proximity to Denmark is a practical reason why so many Danish students favour the UK over other foreign destinations.
Do you plan to see more of the UK over the next few years?
I have not planned what to spend my leisure time on yet, as I expect having little of it with a heavy workload from university! If I find I have time to spare, I might sign up for some of the endurance races that are held outside of London. In the past, I have completed a marathon and a couple of half-marathons. Running is a hobby of mine, and I find it to be the perfect way to explore new places.
Are many of your friends from Denmark coming to study in the UK?
I do not have any of my close friends coming to the UK to study, although many have said that they are in awe of me because I have chosen to do so! I think many of my peers dream of studying away from Copenhagen and Denmark, but with the University of Copenhagen being just around the corner from where they live, it might be that the willpower and determination to act on that dream is somewhat lacking. Also, there seems to be a misconception that studying abroad is financially difficult. In fact, that is just not true for a range of reasons. Overall, the SU (the state education grant) from the government, one’s own savings, student loans, some financial aid from a student’s family and possible scholarships can cover a full degree without the need to incur significant debt.
What do you think about studying abroad?
Whether it is important or not depends on what you expect to get out of the stay. In my opinion, one obtains a more culturally profound impression if you stay for a whole degree, as opposed to only a few months. That way, one can fully benefit from the countless societies, internships, jobs and hobbies on offer in the UK without being rushed. But academically and socially, a year might be sufficient. Anyhow, it takes a mere two hours to travel from most UK airports to Denmark, so whatever the length of study, one will retain quite a strong connection to home and one’s former life.
Do you think that the Danish education system has set you up well for moving to the UK and getting on with your studies here?
My old high school had amazing teachers, so academically I feel very confident that I will be able to follow the level of the other students at university in the UK. However, back when I did my research on studying there, none of the student councillors could explain me how it works if you generally want an education outside of Denmark. In that respect, I do think that the Danish system could improve. Given the increasing globalization of today’s world, it should embrace a more international model where Danish students are actively encouraged by teachers to explore both non-domestic and domestic options for higher education.
Do you have any plans for using your degree after university?
I know my degree will be a strong proof of my capabilities, especially given the university I am going to attend and the subject I plan to study. After graduation, I hope that management consultants, tech companies, investment banks, and even the political sector might take an interest in my degree - which is recognised in those industries. I dream of making a mark in the world, but I have not decided yet whether I aim for a graduate position in London and begin a career there or go back home to Denmark to complete a master’s degree before deciding what path to take.
Your English is very good. Do you think that having a sound knowledge of the language before you move to study in the UK is helpful?
Wow, thanks! However, I must confess that my ability is nothing out of the ordinary in Denmark. In my opinion an understanding basic English is certainly needed, but it is the eagerness to learn more of it on a daily basis that I believe is imperative if one comes from a non-English background. I read one or two books a month and write down words that I don’t know. This is a habit that, so far, has helped me progress in my language a lot.