Jonathan Falciani, US Fulbrighter 2022/2023

DTU: My Fulbright Experience

I became acquainted with DTU during my internship in the United States, where I was involved in a project utilizing an ecosystem model developed by researchers at DTU Aqua, Denmark’s National Institute of Aquatic Resources. Serendipitously, a number of my supervisors had previously completed brief stints at DTU, and the Fulbright program presented an ideal opportunity for me to follow in their footsteps. As an undergraduate majoring in mathematics and biology in the US, I was drawn to DTU’s strong focus on mathematics and emerging technologies, which aligned well with my research interests in mathematically modeling climate and ecosystems.

DTU’s department proved to be a perfect fit for me. I have even established new professional contacts back in the US, one of whom will serve as my Ph.D. supervisor upon my return, allowing me to continue collaborating with my colleagues at DTU. The Fulbright program is helping me achieve my goal of contextualizing global ecological change by applying computational methods to biological problems.

Experiencing Denmark

My most significant surprise regarding Denmark as a whole is the striking cultural similarity to my home country. Almost everyone watches the same television programs, more or less listens to the same music and has an impressive command of the English language. However, what struck me the most was the Danes’ unwavering adherence to rules and regulations. Even in the middle of the night, with no cars in sight and snow falling, almost everyone dutifully waits for the pedestrian lights to turn green. Denmark is a charming place with a strong emphasis on community well-being and ample support and resources available to those in need. The fact that Danes are known for being the “happiest” people on earth did not surprise me. Overall, the people here are incredibly curious about the similarities and differences between our cultures.

DTU - Technical University of Denmark

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DTU aims to develop Europe’s best engineering education where students can realize their full potential and master technologies for the benefit of people and society.

My favorite travel experience has been to Bornholm, one of the most unique islands in Denmark! The island is packed with history like its famous round churches and the gigantic cliffside ruins at Hammershus. The physical environment was so unlike the rest of the country. Students from my department went there for a writing retreat, so I discovered Bornholm doubles as an excellent place to relax, remove distractions, and work next to the sea.

Fulbright - More than a grant

In many respects, I have found that Denmark and Fulbright have provided an ideal environment for personal growth and development. Prior to arriving, I had been cautioned that Danes are reserved and introverted. However, after establishing friendships with locals, I was able to gain access to a wide range of cultural and communal experiences. Denmark’s strong sense of community is evident in its lively celebrations, rich traditions, and reliable train schedule, which ensures safe transport at all hours. Additionally, Denmark is a highly international country, and I have been fortunate enough to make academic and personal connections with people from all over Europe. I look forward to maintaining these connections, continuing to collaborate with them, and potentially meeting with them in the future. In fact, some of my future Ph.D. program colleagues come from DTU Aqua, so I am confident that we will be able to work together effectively in the years to come.

If you are an American who wants to apply for a Fulbright grant to study in Denmark, please click here to learn more.