Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Visiting with College Students in Denmark

Dr. Nichols has been traveling in Europe to build partnerships for the Vol State International Education program. Here is his latest blog entry from Denmark:

Started off Monday morning with a visit to the Basic Health Care College - Fredericia Campus. All students at this college (and over the entire country of Denmark) attend for free and are in fact given a salary while attending school. In spite of this, their retention rate is less than desired. So they are creating many initiatives for increasing retention and success, such as early alert notifications, phone calls to students, and a open learning lab. Their student counselors do both academic advising and crisis intervention counseling. Much like at Vol State.

As soon as we entered the college, we were met in front of the President's office by four students who have been selected to visit our college in October. After visiting with these four, we took a tour of the campus. By the time we returned to our beginning point, all 7 of the students coming to our campus wanted to see us. All 7 students speak English very well and are looking forward to their visit.

Since I had expressed an interest in attending a Rotary while in Denmark, the president of the Rotary in Fredericia (Torsten Leonhard) came to the college and picked us up. We were taken to his home where Chris and I had coffee and Danish with him and his wife. Upon our return to the college, we returned to our hotel around 5 and at 5:30 we went downstairs in the hotel conference room and attended the Horsens Rotary. We were greeted very warmly and then they proceeded with the meeting, in Danish.

Before the meeting we had told them that we had a dinner meeting so we would have to leave the Rotary meeting before it was finished. Considering the entire meeting was in Danish, we didn't really miss much.

Picked up at the hotel at 6:15 for a short ride to the marina where we had dinner with the President of the College, the Chairman of the Board, and several members of the college.

Did I mention dinner? How about a 5 course traditional Danish meal complete with a different wine for each course. The Chef came to our table to describe each course and why that particular wine was selected to match the cuisine. I wish I could tell you what each course consisted of, but honestly, other than a lot of fish and seafood, none of it was identifiable. Except for asparagus. We had a different type of asparagus with each course, including desert. In case you are wondering, this "typical" Danish dinner began at 6:30 and we left at 10:30 p.m. And yes, it was still daylight outside.

Tuesday morning Chris slept in while I visited the Basic Health Care College Horsens campus. Coffee and Tea reception followed the tour and I was then introduced to their exchange program in Europe. Picked up Chris at the hotel and headed for lunch and a tour of Learnmark, Business and Technical College of Horsens.

Then off to visit the town hall and a meeting with the city mayor, Jan Troejborg. He may be joining the 7 students, along with the President Hanna Helleshoj when they visit Vol State in October.

Returned to the hotel for dinner and packing for an early morning train to Copenhagen. Have several meetings there on Thursday, including another possible Rotary meeting.

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