Pre-Departure Letter to Myself: Hello Copenhagen!

Hey Bud,

You just love it, don’t you? The feeling of adrenaline rushing through the body as you frantically attempt to pack an efficient yet complete luggage just 5 hours before your flight. Hopefully, you didn’t forget anything important like contact lenses, legal documents, or soccer cleats … but if you did, no worries, it’s not like that hasn’t happened before. It’s been a while since you last went to an unfamiliar country for an extended period of time, so let’s use your unnecessarily long route from Foz do Iguaçu to Copenhagen, with layovers in São Paulo and London, to make sure we know what we want to achieve abroad!

My first goal is to head back to the United States knowing that Copenhagen became another home for me. In addition to learning about and understanding the Danish culture and history, I also want to create many meaningful and life-long relationships with my homestay family, new friends, and teachers. It is important to create a strong and large network globally to maximize the opportunities and experiences that should present itself to you as you travel around the world in the future.

The second goal is to continue to grow as an individual by pushing myself outside of my comfort zone to improve my confidence and independence. The process of getting acclimated to a new environment is great for realizing my strengths and weaknesses, to then work on those weaknesses. Being responsible, making smart choices, and continued work on time management will be key to be successful this semester and will help me to grow both as a student or as a professional.

My final goal is to continue to perform well academically while enjoying my stay in Europe. I want to make the most out of the unique opportunity that McIntire offers through the online classes and online group projects with classmates in different countries, and from the classes that DIS offer that isn’t available at UVA such as “Sports Economics” or “Psychology of Peak Performance”. I would also like to visit countries I haven’t been to before like Portugal and Netherlands.

Coming to Copenhagen to study business cases with hands-on experiences and activities offered by local companies is a great way to notice a difference in business approaches around the world. We learned that a country’s unique culture heavily affects what a successful business plan or model should look like; there are certain underlying rules and approaches that are specific to each region, and I would like to learn as many of these distinctions as possible to add it to my tool-chest. I want to learn the key aspects and business approach that lead companies to succeed in Europe in order to potentially create a business plan to help my father’s electronic or cosmetic brands grow internationally towards the European market.

Let’s talk about one of your biggest potential obstacles in Denmark, shall we? The language! You might have a couple of languages under your belt but Danish is most definitely not one of them. All the Danish you know is from “Duolingo” … and you didn’t even get past level 3. Unfortunately, I know you will be fine because many Danes speak English, but I really hope that you would be somewhat proficient speaking Danish in 4 months, it would be nice to add Danish to your “arsenal” of languages. Advice on how to achieve it: Max out “Duolingo”, watch a ton of Danish-speaking shows, and speak as much Danish with your new friends, teachers, and family as possible.

It seems like Denmark is one of the happiest and greenest country in the world, which kind of explains the huge biking culture there. I’m excited because I’ve explored cities like Taipei, London, and San Francisco by bike, and hopefully I can add Copenhagen to the list. I’m also intrigued to learn the secret that makes Denmark such a happy country, and if I can do it while learning how to help and protect the environment, that would be even better!

I hope that after this semester, you will have a better understanding of international business and have more new tools in your tool-chest that will help take dad’s brand to the next stage successfully. I also want to leave Denmark knowing that I made the most out of this incredible experience and opportunity, and as a happier and more mature person.

Pick good airplane movies and enjoy your semester abroad.

Kenry Lin

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