During my bachelor in the US, I had the opportunity to study abroad in New Zealand where I lived and backpacked with a few Danes. We all seemed to share similar values (namely, an appreciation for the outdoors and its preservation) and before long, the Danish candle-lit culture grew on me. By the end of my trip, they had convinced me that I belonged at DTU, and ought to consider it for graduate school.
With their encouragement, and after combing through every DTU MSc. description listed online, I applied to the Master’s in Materials and Manufacturing Engineering. Despite the straightforward application process, living in Colorado and corresponding with the International Office during their open hours wasn’t easy— nonetheless the faculty were more than patient with me and my sleepy English in the wee hours between 4 and 6am.
Students coming from non-EU countries ordinarily pay a tuition fee at DTU, though it hardly amounts to that of some US institutions. However, the University does extend aid in a limited number of cases. I was fortunate enough to receive admittance with aid, which made the decision to attend even easier from the financial perspective.
I’m now beginning the second year of my studies and I couldn’t be happier with DTU, as the University’s provided an unparalleled experience. Some of the most exciting aspects off the top of my head include: DTU’s close ties with numerous industry partners which I see both in class, and in opportunities that arise around the school (like DSE MESSE, the most extravagant technical career fair I’ve ever seen); quick, free access to research journals and research/educational resources including equipment on campus (manufacturing in SkyLab, analysis equipment, plotting printers, etc.) and free software licensing to pretty much anything I can dream of; small class sizes with personable professors; an active student body hosting various events; and of course, the awesome bike-commuting culture. In Copenhagen, bikes run the city.
At the master's level, I've found that my program involves a lot more group work than I’m accustomed to. At first it came as a shock and took some getting-used-to for everybody. But the benefit quickly became clear— in my bachelor, I spent four years taking the same classes as my peers so we all developed essentially the same skill sets. But at the DTU MSc. level, because students in my study line come from various backgrounds (engineers, physicists, chemists, etc.), everyone's equipped with their own expertise. Now, the group work that may have been arduous in the past has become an opportunity for students to share their own unique skills/knowledge, essentially turning each student into a teacher of sorts when working on projects outside the typical lecture hours.
Similarly, coming from the US to such a culturally diverse campus, I’m also able to justify an extra beer or two after class on Fridays because I know I’ll learn something new from just about every conversation I’m involved in. One of the simplest metrics illustrating DTU’s appeal, however, has got to be the frequency of Erasmus exchange students who return to DTU to either complete their studies, or continue education (as is the case for many of my close friends).
My advice to potential or accepted students is to not only apply, but be persistent and get yourself involved! Even if it means stepping outside the comfort zone. After applying last spring, for instance, DTU’s IAESTE organization connected me with a summer job in Switzerland at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) where I worked alongside physicists investigated complexes that prevent MOSFET transistors from reaching their theoretical efficiencies— a far cry from my mechanical engineering roots, but an incredible learning experience nonetheless. DTU opens doors everywhere, but first you’ve got to get here!
Patrick, MSc in Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, US