Copenhagen was my first taste of Europe. I arrived one morning in January, leaving behind a 40ºC day in Sydney and greeted by a temperature of -3ºC in Denmark. It has now been four months since I left Australia, and I have to admit, I’m not really missing home.
I have been studying in Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark. It is crazy to think that here, I am just a couple of hours away from so many different countries. Back home, a few hours travel from the Sydney CBD will get you to Newcastle at best. When you overlay an outline of Australia over Europe, it is basically the size of Continental Europe, so the distance between Sydney and Melbourne would stretch over a few European countries.
The Danish Language both sounds and is confusing! The first Danish phrase I learned before coming to Denmark was “Jeg taler ikke Dansk,” which translates to “I don’t speak Danish.” I have not used it very often, however, as I automatically apologise in English and everyone immediately reacts to that. I have been teaching myself some Danish, but there is only so much you can do without an actual teacher. Luckily one of my Danish classmates has been incredibly helpful with the intricacies of Danish pronunciation. Gems like “say it again, but pretend you have a hot potato in your mouth” have turned more than a few heads.
Uni life has been great. It is a breath of fresh air not having to deal with several subjects at the same time. That’s right! Only one project at a time. Studying at the Aarhus School of Architecture you get your own space, with a desk and lamp. The school this specialises in Architecture, granting it some luxuries which are not available to UTS back in Sydney, where a limited amount of space must be shared between multiple faculties. I will miss not having my own lamp. So I am definitely making the most of it while I am here.
The facilities at the school are fantastic – wood workshop, metal workshop, cutting machines, a casting area, a 3D printing lab and a robotics lab, all accessible to the students. In my time here, I have used one of three CNC machines, one of two laser cutters, the blade cutter, the casting space, the machines in the wood workshop and the robot arms in the robotics lab. This is an area where UTS is lacking – with the availability of all these additional resources, and the training to use them, students can not only save money but also build some fantastic models.
I am thoroughly enjoying my time in Denmark, having met some amazing people and made some good friends along the way. I have to say, signing up for exchange is possibly one of the best decisions I have made in my life and I wouldn’t change my time here in Aarhus for anything.
Varun Mathew 11980531