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Hej! Tak! and the rest

Aarhus

After 2 months in Denmark, you’re probably wondering if I’m:

a) now fluent in Danish

b) white and without a hint of tan

c) never returning to Sydney

d) all of the above

Denmark is pretty cool. ‘Nuff said.

They know how to get around. They know how to eat. They know how to architect. They know how to IKEA. And I thought Australians were good – but the Danes know how to drink.

I’m studying at the Architecture School in Aarhus and I predicted, I am living, breathing and sleeping architecture. I live with architects, I go into uni 5 days and all my friends are architects. I did start to wonder if there were any other people in Aarhus…Although everyone around you speaks Danish, my classes are (supposedly) 100% taught in English. That being said, there may be moments when you find yourself stuck in a Danish lecture titled, “Materiale Tekonik Teknik”. My classmates like to make the most of these situations;

“what did the lecturer say?”

“Everyone can go home, unless you’re Australian.”

“…um…”

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You can’t escape being a tourist even if you’re living in Aarhus…

I’ve heard the Danish language being described as if they have a ‘potato in their throat’. (A Dane told me that!) I’d say that’s a fairly good description of what I hear. I’m definitely not yet happily stringing together insightful knowledge about architecture in Danish but I have taken up Danish classes! They’re free and a great way to meet more students from different courses and nationalities. Sure, it’s not the most useful language in the world, but why not pick up something new?

Weekends here back in Denmark are currently filled with adventures in and around Aarhus. A couple of the other exchange students and I cycle off in one direction with a picnic and a map, have a walk around for a while and stumble across random playgrounds, beaches and forests. It’s not a bad life. Just the other day we went to the deer park for a walk around before having lunch on an ikea blanket whilst looking over Aarhus Bay. Sureee it was still only 7 degrees, and locals may have laughed at us – well, we’re not sure what they were saying to us to be honest, we just smiled awkwardly – but it was a day well spent.

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Aarhus weekend adventures

A few fun facts and tips about Denmark!

– Danes swear in English. I haven’t quite worked out why yet, but don’t be surprised when in the midst of a completely incomprehensible conversation the one word you understand is not one you’d use in front of your Gran

– Danes know how to party. Screw the Sydney curfew. If Aarhus introduced such a thing there would be (small) riots. An early Friday or Saturday night ends at 3am and if you’re a true Dane, you’ll write off your Sunday and still be out after the sun is well up

– You will wonder where everyone is in winter, but as soon as the sun comes out, the streets are alive

– Black is the new black. The rumours are true: the Danish look in terms of fashion is black on black

– Danes are pretty darn good at English. They can even pun in English

– Danish homes (or at least the ones I’ve experienced) lack fixed lighting. This leads to some nifty and particularly stylish IKEA designs, but don’t be surprised if you have to purchase a lamp to light your whole bedroom

– They also lack curtains. Maybe it’s because I’m living minimally, and I have to say that in early spring I’m not affected by this, but come summer I might consider investing in a blindfold

– Architecture School in Aarhus is super social. Movie nights, Friday bar, Thursday arvo beers in the sun (because hey, the sun is out, let’s go and soak up the vitamin D while we can). Everyone is super friendly and everyone seems to know everyone

– Get a bike. You’ll feel like a peasant without one. Bikes are #1 on the streets and it makes it so easy to get around (once you remember to cycle on the right hand side of the road)

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The Iceberg building in mid winter – the weather was as cold as it looks!

– Saying ‘ja’ and ‘nej’ will get you around supermarkets and other small talk situations – such as “Do you want a receipt?”. Just hope they don’t ask you anything else.

I’m pretty happy that I’ve ended up in Aarhus – it’s an amazing student town and although the school hours are pretty full time, all the students are super keen and it’s weirdly enjoyable. I’d 100% recommend it to anyyyone wanting to find out what architecture is like outside of the UTS bubble!  

Megan Meredith

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