From culture shock to improved self confidence 

Collins Duodu Prah, Danida Alumni
Collins Duodu Prah, Ghana. PhD studies 2014-15 at Technical University of Denmark, DTU. PhD student, 2014-17, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

I was completely shocked barely a week after my arrival in Denmark when my Danish supervisor asked me not to call him by his first name, not his title. But it bridged a huge gap of tension and helped to build my self-confidence. It developed my thinking and approach in issue solving.

Just call me Peter
I recall how my supervisor said "...just call me Peter. I'm good with my first name." I soon realized that this applied to all the professors and scientists at the institute. In Ghana, most superiors love to be called by their titles, so I asked myself “Would this be possible in my country”? It was an initial culture shock.

However, later I found out that the more I called my professors by their first name, the more friendly and relaxed our conversations became, and the more I gained confidence in myself. It was as if a huge gap of tension was bridged. The feeling of inferiority evaborated and my thinking and approach to issues developed. It became an outcome much spoken about after I returned to my home country.

No fresh fish by the coast in Hirtshals
By the way, I was more shocked to live by the coast in Hirtshals for 9 months but being unable to find fresh fish to buy despite countless effort.

Opportunity to brainstorm
The most important experience from my stay in Denmark is that I had so much opportunity to brainstorm and bring up ideas that I never before would have thought could have come from me. Today, I am in a position where I have the experience to run some of the state of the art laboratory equipment at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology . This is a result of the hands-on training I received from my study stay in Denmark.

Connected by the warm reception
I feel connected to Denmark from the warm reception I received throughout my stay both at the institute/research station where I was based and the motel where I lived. Also, I enjoyed all the parties I attended. It appeared, there was a party almost every evening. So much fun despite the workload! Danes always find a way to enjoy themselves. 

I have to mention my favourite food as well; Lasagne!

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