It is a long way from Pranav’s hometown and the colourful crowds of people by the Ganges river in the holy city of Varanasi to AAU CPH which, on a spring day in March, offers a cold colour palette looking over the Copenhagen Sydhavn harbour front. An essay on the differences between Danish and Indian higher education has awarded Pranav a ticket to Denmark. During his one-week stay, he was introduced to the AAU study programme IT, Communications and New Media, the innovation workshop Wofie and also found time to do some sightseeing in Copenhagen.
Why did you choose AAU CPH?
“I’m already studying Electronics and Programming, and I was looking for universities who excel within my area of study. Aalborg University was a clear favourite of mine, both because it has a strong profile in the field and at the same time, it matches my interests really well – the study programme IT, Communications and New Media in particular seems a good match for me.”
How do you think that higher education in Denmark differ from higher education in India?
“The biggest difference is the learning approach; here, the focus is on problem based learning, while in India we take on a more theoretical and subject-based approach. We start by learning the basics through a vast number of theoretical courses, and if we wish to work on projects, this must be extra-curricular work. Normally, we have very little opportunity to pursue an issue, so we rarely work in this way. In comparison, half of the time here at AAU is spent doing project work, and students are working on projects right from the beginning of their studies. I think this is really interesting.
Another big difference is that AAU CPH provides group rooms for students where they can discuss issues or work on their projects. Such facilities are not available at my university. If we need a space for discussing something, we will have to use the library facilities.
However, the differences between Danish and Indian students are not great at all. The topics I discuss with my fellow students at home are very similar to the issues I’ve discussed with the Danish students – at least in terms of our studies. In short, I’d say that the differences between the students are not nearly as great as the differences between the educational systems.”
How would you describe a typical day at your university?
“Usually, the first courses start at 8 o’clock in the morning and end at about 5 o’clock. During this time, we will attend various courses and perform lab exercises, and we have a one-hour lunch break. When the courses end at around 5 o’clock, we’re expected to study in preparation for the next day or perhaps work on a project. We rarely leave the campus area – primarily because it is located in the outskirts of Kanpur making it time consuming to go to the city centre. On the other hand, the campus is huge. You’ll find everything here: we live here; we do our shopping here and so on. If we didn’t miss the odd bit of entertainment once in a while, we wouldn’t have to leave the campus area at all.”
What has made the greatest impression on you while you’ve been in Denmark?
“When I wrote the essay for the competition from the Innovation Centre Denmark in New Delhi, I did some research about Denmark and found that, according to some studies, Denmark is the happiest country. And I’d have to agree. In Denmark, a great many things are very simple and pleasant. Take the traffic in India, for example. The traffic lights never work, and the roads are always crowded, so crossing the road as a pedestrian is not an easy task. Here in Denmark, you’ll find roads without traffic; where only pedestrians are allowed. I appreciate the Danish lifestyle, which is more simple – and all the beautiful old buildings and the city centre of Copenhagen. Copenhagen is a really cool city.”
You’ll soon graduate as a bachelor from the Indian Institute of Technology – what are your plans afterwards?
After I’ve completed my bachelor degree, I’d like to study for a master’s degree abroad – and perhaps also a PhD degree. AAU would be a great place to do so, and I’ve already talked to my contact person here, Professor Samant Khajuria, about the master’s degree in IT, Communication and New Media, but I’d like to consider all my options first. I’m still open to ideas.
About the competition:
- The competition is part of the Top Talent Programme which was organised by Innovation Centre Denmark in New Delhi. The aim is to create more awareness of the opportunities available to Indian students within higher education in Denmark.
- The competition was open to undergraduate students, and participants had to answer a quiz about Denmark and write an essay on how Danish universities differ from Indian universities.
- Three participants could win a week’s stay at a Danish university of their choice.
- This year, the three winners chose to visit Aarhus University and Aalborg University. Further information about the competition is available here
Innovation Centre Denmark New Delhi
- The Innovation Centre is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. The Centre provides assistance for Danish companies in creating long-term partnerships in India and other services. Further information about Innovation Centre Denmark New Delhi is available here