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Goodbye exchange trip: “It was my last chance to study abroad”

Nicki Ingemann Iversen and Emidio Asquino were supposed to go to Taiwan and California this semester, but coronavirus decreed otherwise. Now, they are facing an entirely different semester with lost opportunities.

News |   19. Aug 2020

Anne Thora Lykkegaard


Nicki Ingemann Iversen knew from day one at CBS that he wanted to go on an exchange trip abroad. The title of his bachelor’s degree program – International Business and Politics – kind of implied that would be the case.

“Before coming to CBS, I had only traveled for vacations, I had never spent any length of time in a country or city, so even before my first day at CBS, I had decided that I wanted to do that during my studies,” explains Nicki Ingemann Iversen, who is on his fifth semester and continues:

“And I knew I wanted to go somewhere far away. I wanted to experience something completely different from what you can experience in Europe. I thought about South America, Africa and Asia, of course. But in the end, I chose Taiwan because the culture is completely different, it has really interesting international politics as Taiwan is a part of China, and it is not currently viewed as an independent country.”

Nicki Ingemann Iversen was supposed to arrive in Taiwan on September 12, but coronavirus is keeping him in Denmark.

“It’s really unfortunate. I have been looking forward to this semester so much. Semesters two, three and four, I just had to get over with, so I could go on exchange. Now, I will just take electives at CBS,” he says and continues:

“And that’s how it is. A lot of people have missed opportunities during this crisis, and when I view my situation in that light, it’s not the worst thing that could have happened.”

Although there is a chance he can go on exchange during his master’s degree, Nicki Ingemann Iversen is not planning on it.

“Instead, I’m hoping to go abroad to live and work in future. The IBP program is international, so I think I’ll get the chance but it’s not the same as being on exchange at a university,” he says.

I was excited about studying at a high-quality university

Nicki Ingemann Iversen is certainly not the only CBS student who has had exchange plans cancelled.

This semester, only 234 students are going on exchange abroad, which is far fewer than last year, when 1,088 students exchanged CBS for a university stay abroad. The low figure is due particularly to the shutdown of universities in North and South America, Australia, Canada and Asia.

Emidio Asquino, who is studying for a BSc in Business Administration and Sociology also had everything well planned out. He had been accepted at the University of California in Los Angeles, just as he wanted.

Guy in white shirt

Emidio Asquino was supposed to leave for University of California this semester. It was his last chance to study abroad. (Photo: Private)

“Going to a university in the U.S. is really expensive, so going on exchange was a great opportunity. Moreover, it’s a really good university, and I was excited about studying at a high-quality university in the U.S.,” he says.

Emidio Asquino was lucky to be accepted. This year, the criteria for getting a spot had been changed and would count towards student citizenship in terms of involvement in CBS activities and communities – as part of the GPA.

“I think it was at the beginning of January that I got my acceptance email. I was super happy, as I didn’t expect it,” he says.

At the end of February, the coronavirus started to spread through Europe, and Emidio Asquino quickly became pessimistic about the situation and his chances of going on exchange.

“When I talked to my friends, they still believed that exchange trips wouldn’t be cancelled, but by the end of April, I had completely accepted that I wasn’t going to the U.S.,” he says and continues:

“It was my last chance to study abroad. I won’t have another chance, as I’m not planning to go on an exchange trip later on. And that’s what I’m most sad about.”

As Emidio Asquino has had credits from previous studies transferred to CBS, this semester he does not have to take electives at CBS and instead he will spend time working and collecting hours for SU.

“In that way, I can work less next semester and focus on writing my bachelor’s thesis,” he says.


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