Master of International Economics and Finance, 2nd year
Master of International Economics and Finance, 2nd year

Academic experiences

AØKK08095U Pricing Financial Assets:
It requires basic knowledge about financial derivatives - which is taken for granted.
Contents are well defined.
Personally, I found it interesting and useful, in the sense that, it teaches you models and formulas applicable in the real financial world.

AØKA08204U Fixed Income Derivatives:
Risk Management and Financial Institutions: it requires found basic knowledge about financial derivatives and a good command of Excel and – but only marginally – computer programming language (which all were taken for granted).
Personally, I found it interesting, but I found the way that it was managed by the lecturers difficult.
First of all, despite there being two, the lectures were often cancelled without even being recovered the days after.
Secondly, I felt unprepared for the final: although problem sets were assigned during the semester, going through the previous final exams would have been a way more worth it.
Moreover, the notes were too reduced: they consisted of only seventy pages.
A deeper self-“look into” was required.
Later, I suppose was not a case when it has turned out that, during the first examination session, not even one third of the class submitted the final.
Yet, overall, I am happy to have taken this course because of its syllabus.

AØKA08212U Financial Markets:
The good aspect of this courses was that, it built up from zero. There are no tutorials, however, at least one out of the three hours that we had per week, was spent on solving exercises.
It was nothing like what I expected.
In fact, rather than focusing on markets per se, the course was centred on liquidity of the markets and the approach was almost exclusively theoretical.
Chapters did not start to become appealing to me until after the third or fourth time that I read them.

AØKA08006U Macroeconomics C:
During my previous Macroeconomics course, in the end all the topics boiled down to the IS-LM model.
Here the arguments touched were way more fragmented, and the use of graphs was restricted to the first part of the program.
The course was mainly about properly setting up problems and maximising or minimising restricted functions accordingly.
Sometimes, I was even feeling like taking a Microeconomics course.
The syllabus relied on four different textbooks.
However, in tutorials – done with a good tutor – problem sets and assignments have been enough for me to perform quite well in the final.
What I enjoyed the most was finally having the feeling of learning something that I could use in the world of work.
What I enjoyed the least was the complete absence of tutorials in my financial courses.
Whereas UQ still tend to take you by hand throughout the semester, I cannot say the same about KU, where we were asked to solve problems, sometimes even without being followed by a dispatched solution, or maybe dispatched, but not explained.
However, you can always ask to lecturer during the break or fix an appointment with them.

Ales Stenar (Sweden)

Personal experiences

As soon as you get there, you will get to know many, many other students.
It is going to be like your first day at university.
Moreover, you will realise how easy it will be making new friendships.
Everybody is in the same situation as you: dragged away from their comfortable home town and thrown into the crowd.
Of course, they are looking for somebody to rely on, just like you.
Not being my first experience abroad, I am aware of it, but every time I cannot stop wondering at how fast you create such connections.
With those new friends, I went exploring the city and the surroundings.
We joined trips to castles, such as Frederiksborg Slot, and to some Viking burial sites in Sweden.
I was not really looking forward to learning the local language, but I reckon that knowing a few key words would have been useful to break the ice, especially when attending classes where most of the students were Danes.
An exchange lets you personally grow.
You are plunged into a culture new to you which can be more or less different from yours.
And not only that.
You also come into contact with all the other backgrounds that the people you will get to know over there, bring in themselves.
This has made me capable of not being stuck with one single point of view, but able to analyse issues from more different perspectives.
I'm already 25 and I think the older one is, the harder it is to change ones opinions.
Nonetheless, the greatest lesson, for me, has been to be more patient and tolerant, let other people express their convictions, without feeling like I have to impose mine, and accept them and their minds, even when I do not agree with them.
I feel more flexible and curious towards what there is outside my boundaries.

Nyhavn

Accommodation

I was living, like all the other students I met, off-campus.
I opted for a solution that was the most suitable for me.
I booked a single room in a shared flat with three other single rooms, two bathrooms, and one open-space with a kitchen and a living room.
Another possible arrangement was an individual studio with the possibility to benefit from a common kitchen per floor.
In such a framework I might have felt a bit lonely on some days, and I could not have stood the level of mess that – I was already aware from my previous exchange – a common area can reach.
On the other hand, at my place there was only a common area in the whole block.
Moreover, it was used just as a party room.
Except for the evenings over the weekend, it was always closed.
All things considered, I reckon myself lucky about my flatmate – I did not decide who I was going to live with; it was just random.
We had a cleaning roaster and quite a good house ménage.
With some, I got along very well becoming good friends.
With others, I would have liked to get to know each other better.
About the neighbourhood.
The flat was located down in the city centre, 15-20 minutes by the 24/7 metro, in what was defined as the modern part of Copenhagen.
Therefore, it was not exactly in traditional Danish style; not at all.
However, I enjoyed the surroundings.
There was much green all around: a park with playground and playing fields just behind our place, another one more natural not too far away, a natural reserve with some farm animals a bit further to the south, and a golf club nearby.
However, I have to admit, by being on the first floor and having a shopping centre in front of us, we could surely not enjoy the same astonishing view they got on the ninth floor: on the sunny days, it was possible to see the Swedish coast.
Although, there was much more going on as far as social events and night life.
These were mainly concentrated in the north part, and it would usually take me between forty-five and sixty minutes to get there.
My personal suggestion to other students is, therefore, to check and get information about the different neighbourhoods first (for example, by contacting the tourist office if you do not know anybody living or having been there) and then decide accordingly to what you think you might prefer.

Langelinie Park

Budget

Being from Europe and not from the other side of the globe, like you Australians, I did not travel while I was over there, except for a day spent in Malmö.
So I cannot make recommendations about it.
Instead, concerning living costs, I was paying around 800AUD per month for the rent (all the bills included), 75AUD monthly plus 2.40AUD any time I travelled further in the north part (and other 2.40AUD to go back of course) and between 60 and 80AUD each week for the grocery shopping.
I ate out only when I was out with somebody as I'm used to cooking at home and bringing my food with me when I have to stay at university, so as to save money.
For entrainment during the semester, I was spending around 35AUD per week but, when I went out at night, I mainly joined student parties.
Going to night clubs is more costly.
During my last 2-3 weeks, I spent way more, simply because I had finished my exams, had a plenty of free time and there was always a farewell party on.

Kronborg Slot

Academic development and employability

Thanks to this experience, I have been exposed to another way of teaching.
By not having any tutorials for my financial classes, I have been forced to have more severe self-discipline in regularly making the problem sets by myself.
Under the employability aspect, employers simply look at two possible candidates – one with experiences abroad and the other without – differently.
The former carries a heavier wealth of experiences than the second.
It is not hard to grasp the reasons why.
Everybody experiences troubles during that semester abroad, problems that need a solution.
This finally enhances our problem-solving skills.
Secondly, the more you learn, the more you realise how little you know.
I have learnt a lot from the other international and local students, about different attitudes, behaviours and reactions in front of certain situations.
And this just makes me more curious about the reality they come from.
It may be paradoxical but staying with them made me even realise some aspects of my own culture that before I always reckoned as “normality”.
Just to pick up one, as Italians, we tend to be really loud and talkative.
Those aspects can result in impoliteness in some other corners around the world.
We jump into another’s sentence, without letting them finish formulating it.
We are not discreet.
When there is a family discussion in some house, all the neighbours know about it, whereas in Denmark, they do not even use curtains!
Going back on track and getting to the point, all this make me aware that I should be more elastic and keep different acumens according to the person I face and the context in which I am, so as not to be disrespectful.
My wealth of experiences will be filled by more qualities such as adaption ability, curiosity, intuition, flexibility, in comparison with the others' one.

Frederiksborg Slot

Highlight

One early evening we went to the beach for the so called Sankthans and we stay there until late.
In the afternoon I had my last exam.
More precisely, my last exam of my whole masters.
From the moment I walked out the examination room, all the way up to the Metro, I felt a strong sense of relief.
I went back home and got ready to go out.
Once we got there, there were several fires along the beach, and we could see others burning to the side of the shore, on the Swedish coast.
It was really surreal.
This image is and will remain firmly impressed in my mind.
This is how I will remember the end of my studies and the beginning of something new.
I will miss that kind of life, and I will always remember it with a smile opening on my face.

Top tips

Find the right balance between studying and enjoyment.
Try to join as many events as you can, especially at the really beginning.
First of all, you need to feel comfortable and familiar with the new environment in which you are. Just then you will be able to properly concentrate on your studies.
Do not look for your own culture!
I was a pre-departure meeting last year and I found myself astonished when a guy asked whether there were some Australian spots where he was going.
You are not supposed to go there to seek Australia in another country because, you could just simply stay home.
Try to mix with people of all backgrounds: that's the beauty of going abroad, seeing another reality.
As I have already stressed, get information about the different neighbourhoods around the city before deciding on accommodation.
You are going to live there for the months ahead.
There will be ups and downs, as in everyday life.
If it is your first time away from home, it will be hard to give to them the right size and weight. Attempt to distance yourself from your problems and analyse them rationally.
They may be not as huge as you think.
 

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