Study Abroad Student Testimonial

John Rauchenstein  | Denmark 2013

John's blog of his time abroad, "A Danish Adventure," can be found at:

What were some of the most striking differences between being a student at Purdue and at DTU?
The primary difference, in my opinion, was the frequency of assignments. I found there were less frequent, larger assignments at DTU such as reports or projects. I enjoyed this because I had more opportunity to invest time in reading and studying the course material and consequently focusing more on learning the concepts we were being taught. Additionally, it seemed to me that there was more of an emphasis on applying the learning objectives. Two of my courses spent about half the scheduled time in a computer lab. I don't mean to say that Purdue doesn't focus on the application of concepts, but DTU seemed to do this to a greater degree. Most of my courses were actually master level courses because bachelor degrees are usually completed in three years in Denmark (and most of Europe so it seemed).

What were your take-aways?
I think the biggest take-away for me came from how I related to the people around me. I had a few different circles of friends including classmates, neighbors, my introduction week group, and my church. All of these groups were a multicultural mix of people with different backgrounds and personalities which I enjoyed. It was through these relationships that I experienced Denmark and my experience would have been nothing without them. I tried not to have too many expectations going into this experience, but I rightly expected some challenges. For example, finding my way around was difficult at first which was humbling because I usually have no trouble with this, but I blame this on the signs that were in Danish and not always easily visible. The education was similar to what we had been told from the study abroad office and a past exchange student. The oral exams at the end of the semester were no surprise though I didn't quite know what to expect until I completed one.

Tell us about one of your most memorable experiences?
I think the most memorable moments I had were simply the home-made dinners with my friends. Keep in mind that these friends were from all over the world. Apart from tasting cultural foods from my friends' countries, these dinners allowed me time to to develop meaningful friendships and gave me an opportunity to serve them. One dinner that stands out in particular was the first of my Christmas dinners which was with my introduction week group. I was hosting it at my apartment because my building had a community kitchen that would accommodate the 10-15 people that were coming. We all decided to bring or make something from our own country that was common for a Christmas dinner. As my guests arrived we nearly ran out of room to set all the food and we wouldn't have been able to eat it all if it wasn't for some help from a few of my neighbors. We were all able to squeeze around one large table and we had a great time reflecting on the semester (even though we still had about a month left).

Top: The first cohort of students to study in Denmark in the fall of 2013 were (left to right) John Rauchenstein, Margaret (Maggie) Willenbrink, and Matthew Morris. Here they are pictured at the Amalie Garden on the Waterfront in front of the Copenhagen Opera House.
Middle: The Copenhagen Opera House.
Bottom: Christmas dinner in Denmark.