My CBS Story

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zoe-toriello

YOU ARE NEVER NOT ENOUGH

The best part of my CBS journey is that I can now look back at it and be amused by telling my own story. But when I started the bachelor in International Business at CBS in 2013, I could not see a very bright light at the end of the tunnel.

I come from a small town in the Northern part of Italy, but I have always known I was meant to go “out there” and “dream of something bigger”. This is how I eventually ended up in Copenhagen at the age of 18, alone, getting scammed on my first apartment. And no, that is not the saddest part (yet, it was awful….).

What was the worst part, then? Not being able to communicate in English like all the others. I was sure my English was great before coming here. I used to have the highest grades in high school, I had travelled, passed the required English test, but relying on English as the language to “live by”, that was another story.

For the first 4 weeks of class, after each single lecture, I would cry in the toilets in Solbjerg Plads because I could not understand a single word the teacher said. I would sit in the library for 8 hours a day, with my dictionary English-Italian (who even uses a dictionary nowadays……..?), translating every single word: Capitalism? Benchmark? Entrepr…enthrepr..entrerp…how to spell that?!.

Besides school, it turned out to be really hard to make new friends. I did not dare to talk to people. Anybody else seemed so good and confident when speaking English, and I just felt intimidated.

All of this while dealing with a cultural shock. It took a while to get comfortable with stuff like lunch at 11am, or wine boxes!

I swear, I thought CBS’ administration would have called me from one day to another, because they would have eventually realized they made a mistake with my admission. I was not enough to be there, on IB, surrounded by all those inspiring, ambitious and successful students.

And then what happened? I don’t really know. I guess I started looking at people around me as a source of inspiration, rather than of intimidation. I surrounded myself with amazing people who would lift me up, patiently teach me and remind me I deserved to be where I was.

This has so far been the most toughening and challenging experience, but also the most rewarding. Yes, I would do it 100 more times.

I graduated from IB in June 2016, with a 12 on my thesis (given the story, who would have believed it, right?). I am currently studying the M.Sc. in Brand and Communications Management, and got accepted into the CEMS Double Degree Master in International Management. After I graduate in 2018, I am ready to take on new challenges, get out of the comfort zone (again), get culturally shocked, cry a little and laugh a lot. I mean, “been there, done that”.

If I had to give an advice to other students struggling at the beginning of their CBS roller-coaster journey, it would be to not give up. Sometimes it gets hard, and quitting seems like the only plausible option. But, I guarantee you, one day the personal reward will overcome any struggle, because the places where we find most challenges are the ones we get the most from.

Happy 100th birthday CBS, and thank you for believing in me when I was blind of my own potential!