<>Coming SDC students prepare for going to China
More than 40 new SDC students from the 2016 cohort will get their final preparations ahead of going to China underway when they attend the annual seminar in Middelfart, Denmark

Every year the SDC office in Denmark invites all of the new students to Middelfart to take part in a two-day seminar with the purpose of preparing them for their imminent departure for China.

"It takes a lot of effort"

During the 24 hour gathering the students and SDC staff will have the opportunity to get to know each other at meals and in between presentations. Among the presenters are a group of students from the 2015 cohort who will share their own first hand experiences with studying at SDC in China. Assistant Professor from Aalborg University, Ane Bislev, will elaborate on some of the cultural differences between Danes, Westeners and Chinese that might create interesting situations within and outside of the classrooms.

Deputy Director at SDC, Morten Laugesen, believes that the seminar in Middelfart is of great value to the students, and wants the SDC office to help prepare them for the challenge they are about to take on as well as possible.

"We host this seminar every year, because experience has taught us that going to China to study is a radical change, and taking the time to help prepare the students is well spent. Preparation is not just about practical matters, it is at least as much about making it clear that it takes a lot of effort on the students' part to make sure they get the best possible education and experience at SDC," says Morten Laugesen.

After the seminar is over on Thursday the 11th of August, the students will have exactly two weeks before they meet again in Beijing on the 25th for a ten-day intro program..

Meeting the other students

Mie Kristine Just Pedersen, who will be studying Neuroscience & Neuroimaging at SDC for the next two years, has already put a lot of effort into preparing for her upcoming challenge, by talking to professors and former students from the Neuroscience & Neuroimaging programme. However, she still feels it is very important to attend the seminar and can't wait to do so.

"I am looking so much forward meeting the other students who have made this crazy decision like myself. I can't wait to meet them and find out what kind of people they are, and afterwards it will give me a great sense of security to know some people when I arrive in Beijing," says Mie, who will spend the final couple of weeks in Denmark relaxing and seeing friends and family.

Taking a career turn

Taking a career turn
The perfect opportunity to give her professional profile a sharp turn towards natural science. This is what went through Camilla Pedersen’s mind, when she found out about the Master’s programme in Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Southern Denmark, Camilla was originally determined to become a psychologist. However, over the course of her studies, she got more and more interested in the brain, and even neuropsychology was not sciency enough for her.
Surprised by the sense of community
“To be honest, it was 100 per cent the academic content of the programme that attracted me. The fact that the education took place in China was not important to me,” says Camilla Pedersen.
When she left for China she saw the experience as an opportunity to lose herself in a field of her interest, and she expected that being far away from friends and family would leave a lot of time for the studies, but the great sense of community surprised her. Most of the Danish and Chinese students stay at the dorms, which means that they naturally spend a lot of time together.
“It was not quite what I had expected, but today I am not sure whether I would have stayed in China, if I had to do it all by myself. Both socially and academically, it has been of great value to share the experience with the other students,” Camilla says.
Collecting data in China
She has really benefitted from the technical, physiological and biological courses. Even though she has struggled with mathematics, programming etc. she sees a great value in the new opportunities she now has due to the competences she has gained.
At the moment, she is finishing her Master’s thesis on addiction and attention. More specifically she looks into drug and internet game addictions and how sensitive the addicted persons are to stimuli in their surroundings. To do this she uses a method based on a theory and a mathematical model, which has never been used for this purpose before. In her Master’s thesis she combines her interest in the brain with her wish to deal with it in a very scientific way.
“My Danish supervisor has strong competences within attention, while my Chinese supervisor focuses on addiction. I have taken part in the programming and instructed researchers from my Chinese supervisor’s research group in using the program. Now they collect the data on drug and internet addiction, which I use in my thesis,” says Camilla.
She explains that it is much easier and faster to gather a valid data set in China as the population and thereby the number of people addicted to drugs or internet is higher than in Denmark.
More research on the horizon
Camilla will hand in her Master’s thesis this summer, and afterwards she hopes to continue the research within addiction and attention as a PhD student. The brain is still the focus area, but she has given up the idea of becoming a psychologist in favour of a future within research.