A Year in the Land of Hygge!

Marcus F. Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Creative Industries
Copenhagen Business School (Semester 2, 2017) and University of Copenhagen (Semester 1, 2018)

For the past year, I have embarked on a two-semester exchange in Denmark, the home of Nordic Noir, Danish design, pleasing pastries, and the omnipresent ‘hygge’ – or cosiness. Slightly unusually and thanks to QUT’s Exchange Office being very flexible, I was able to attend classes at both Copenhagen Business School and the University of Copenhagen. This allowed me to experience units relating to both halves of my double degree.

At both universities, the classes and standard of assessment I took was relatively similar to what I’ve experienced at QUT. However, in Denmark there is a much greater focus on independent learning and conversational input during class whereby students are encouraged to contribute their opinion on the content raised. Something to note is that the majority of classes are not recorded and so it’s a good idea to try and attend lectures and tutorials as much as possible! Specifically, while away I studied Visual Communication, Marketing: The Essentials and Trend Drivers, Consumer Behaviour and Statistics at CBS and Scandinavian Film and Television, and Digital Strategic Communication at KU.

One real difficulty for many exchange students, particularly in Copenhagen, is sourcing accommodation due to the limited availability of rooms as well as financial cost. Fortunately, I made sure to get onto the booking system as soon as possible and during my first semester I lived at Kathrine Kollegiet in Frederiksberg and Bikuben Kollegiet in Islands Brygge during the second semester. Both rooms were located in close proximity to the universities and were very spacious, containing a small kitchenette and en-suite bathroom. It was really interesting to be able to live with both a mix of different exchange students during the first semester as well as primarily Danish students during my second semester.

Upon arrival in Copenhagen the city’s beauty really struck me, with clean streets and a striking mix of contemporary and traditional buildings stretching as far as the eye could see! After a long and chilly winter, the city really comes alive with everyone leaving work early to enjoy the long summer evenings by the canals or barbecuing in one of the many parks or at the beach.

Like Amsterdam, Copenhagen is a very cycle-friendly city and I would really recommend purchasing a bike at the start of your stay. It’s a worthy investment in the environment and overall fitness (to work off those Danish pastries) with the added bonus of reducing reliance on public transport. One of my favourite experiences was when my friends and I completed a 50km circuit around the outskirts of city to see the ‘Forgotten Giants’ an installation by Danish artist Thomas Dambo consisting of large wooden giants dotted around in a number of spots in the forest.

In my opinion, Copenhagen is a highly liveable city and you are never short of things to do. However, a benefit for me and many of the other students I met was also the ability to travel easily to other destinations in Denmark and Sweden as well as wider Europe. A couple of real highlights for me were an Easter cruise to St Petersburg, via Helsinki which was organised by the Erasmus Student Network as well as a holiday on the small Danish island of Bornholm.

Whilst it may sound clichéd, my year in Copenhagen has truly been the experience of a lifetime. The opportunity to meet such a variety of people and experience life in a completely foreign city has been invaluable to me and undeniably been beneficial for both personal and professional development. I’m really looking forward to going back in future!

A World Class Fashion Experience in Paris

Ashleigh Hobbs, Bachelor of Creative Industries

Short-term program: IESEG ‘Fashion Business in Paris 2018’

France (July 2018)

My name is Ashleigh Hobbs, a second-year student at QUT, majoring in fashion and film. In June/July of 2018, I had the opportunity to go on exchange to Paris, France, and study fashion and business at IESEG School of Management.

The institution I studied at, IESEG School of Management, was in La Défense; the business sector of Paris. We had student residency, only a five-minute walk from the school, and this was shared with other students taking our classes. The residency was fantastic, we each had individual apartments containing a fully equipped kitchenette, bathroom, queen sized bed, TV and wardrobe. In addition to this, we had access to complimentary breakfast, including on the weekends.

Life on campus was incredible; because the program is international and immersive, you connect with amazing people from across the globe. Having these friendships made the course even more so engaging and enriching; not only were you immersed in the Parisian fashion culture but also learning about different international cultures and traditions at the same time.

The program allows you to connect with people from across the globe.

The academic structure was incredibly smooth and well organised, making it easy to follow, but nevertheless, there was a high work ethic and heavy participation expected from each student. The opportunities granted to us students were world class. Not only did we receive tours of major fashion exhibits, but we also got a tour the Ecole Lesage – the company whom work with customers such as Chanel, Marc Jacobs, and thus forth. We got to watch the women hand make the tweed samples for the upcoming SS19 Chanel show; it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The Louvre.

I had the most positive experience at IESEG and was exposed to so much industry practice thanks to this wonderful school; I could not be more fulfilled or happier with how the program was.

As one can imagine, the French capital is vastly different to Brisbane, and Australia in general. It is always important to remain extremely aware in the streets, and personally, I would always advise being with company when venturing away from the student residency and university. It makes it that little bit less stressful having two pairs of eyes and ears and is far more enjoyable in company. Site seeing in the main tourist areas is perfectly safe in your own, however make sure you know the areas you’re in and always take caution.

The streets of Paris.

Nevertheless, Paris is world renowned, and for great reason. During our stay we were able to visit places such as the Louvre museum, the Chateau of Versailles, the Louis Vuitton foundation, endless fashion exhibits (including Dior, Museum of Saint Laurent, Maison Martin Margiela and Hermes, etc.) Paris itself was everything I dreamed and more. Generally, when it comes to ‘experiencing’ Parisian culture and the city, Paris can be very costly. Despite this, Paris can still be enjoyed on a budget. There are a large array of grocery stores and local markets, and due to having a kitchenette, it is easy to cook your own meals, and the difference in price is huge. You will save a lot of money by doing this, but I still recommend doing some research and choosing some amazing spots to eat out; for the atmosphere if nothing else.

Versailles.

The Eiffel Tower.

When it came to the cultural aspects of living in Paris, I wasn’t affected too much by culture shock. As you are surrounded by friends from all over the world, you are all able to communicate on your experiences and go through the journey together. Out of respect for the country, however, it is nice to learn a few French phrases to get you by (even if it is just: ‘desole, parlez-vous anglais?’ Meaning, ‘sorry, do you speak English?’).

After partaking in the IESEG School of Management Fashion Summer Academy, I feel so inspired, motivated and refreshed to start back at QUT, and understand further the amazing career pathways that can be undertaken in my industry. Choosing to partake in the program not only made me more academically inspired, but made me so much for worldly, and confident in being associated in the international fashion industry. I cannot recommend doing this program, and going on exchange in general, enough.