It’s been almost two months since I became an udvekslingsstuderende (that’s Danish for exchange student) and I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by!
Cold weather aside, Denmark is a brilliant place to live in: everything is clean, efficient and the Danes are really nice, once you break the ice a little. I arrived at the start of January and saying it was cold is a bit of an understatement: the first week I was here we experienced -7 degree C weather with a -13 degree wind chill, not the nicest of weather. But it has since started to warm up and I saw the sun again for the first time 2 weeks ago! I share an apartment with three others in a building that rents to students so I am always surrounded by foreigners like me and Danish students too.
When I arrived, I took an intensive 3 week Danish course before the semester started which was really helpful and I learnt lots of useful phrases to help integrate here a bit better. During these three weeks I also made lots of friends from all over the world and even from other Australian cities (mostly Sydney).
Right now, I have just finished the 4th week of the main semester here at KU and the workload is significant, but it’s not so much that I don’t have time to think about other things like socialising. It’s more like a constant workload throughout the semester rather than having lots of assignments due all at once.
The biggest differences though are the exam and lecture formats: exams here are often oral exams, where you discuss a topic relating to the subject being studied with the lecturer, and any written exams are open book. The lectures here are 3 to 4 hours long and are not recorded, which means going to all of them even if they start at 8am on the other side of the city to where I live. But the good thing about them is that we have frequent (at least 1 per hour) and long (15 to 20 minutes) breaks during the lectures.
Being in Europe, it’s easy to get around and I have already taken advantage of Copenhagen’s proximity to Sweden and went to Malmö with a few of my friends. The city there is quite similar to Copenhagen but as it has a smaller population, it’s not as busy and it’s a very nice place. I’m also planning to go to Hamburg in 3 weeks with my cousin when she comes to visit me which I’m excited for and during my mid-semester break in April, I plan to travel south and visit four countries to relax after working hard.
The student life here in Copenhagen is like nothing I’ve experienced back in Adelaide: each department (the KU equivalent of what we call Schools at Flinders) has its own student run “Friday Bar” which have cheap beers and a great atmosphere (one of the faculty of science Friday bars is sponsored by Carlsberg!) and there is always an event for students or international students being organised by the international student mentor program or a student bar in the city called Studenterhuset. I’ve been to a few salsa nights, movie nights and parties there with friends and I’ve always had a great time.
All in all, I’m having a great time here so far and I can’t wait to see what’s in store these next 4 months.
Alex Gheorghiu, Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Nanotechnology)/Bachelor of Letters student, Semester 1 2017 exchange at University of Copenhagen, Denmark
- Read Alex’s 1st post here