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Hej hej from Århus | a semester at DMJX

So you’re considering a study exchange to DMJX, Aarhus, Denmark?

What can I tell you about Aarhus…

While few have heard of Aarhus, it’s Denmark’s second largest city and the capital of Jutland.

It’s a beautiful little city of about 264,716 people, the cultural and economic core of the region, and is heavily populated by students.

For a small city, Aarhus is packed with culture and activities, including the famous ARoS Museum of Modern Art which houses the iconic glass structure on the roof,Your Rainbow Panorama by Olafur Eliasson (pictured), Den Gamle By (The Old Town), the Moesgård Museum which specialises in archaeology and ethnography, and is the home of some amazing festivals including SPOT festival, the eight-day Aarhus International Jazz Festival, and Northside festival.

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ARoS Museum of Modern Art

As much as I love it here I can’t say much for Danish weather. After hoping off a flight from Sydney, I dropped from 30 degrees to -12 degrees, and it stayed that way for months.

They keep saying “wait for spring!”, but spring arrived with a fresh layer of sleet. At first the snow was exciting with the streets covered in a beautiful layer of white, but with the days ending at 4pm and my will to be outside defeated, it’s was rather dreary. We Australian’s spent many hours inside the tropical greenhouse to feel warmth on our skin.

It is now May and the great winter has ended, but please bring your warmest coat and warmest boots, you’ll need them!

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Biking to school – they cover the footpaths in salt to melt the snow

DMJX – the Danish School of Media and Journalism – is a school of about 1100 students, and is Northern Europe’s largest centre for journalism. In english they offer several courses, including studies in print journalism, television journalism and photojournalism.

School is good but challenging. The expectations are high and the assignments are coming in thick and fast. At times it feels like being back in high school – the classes go Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm, with an hour break for lunch which we all eat together in the cafeteria.

The students I’m in class come from all over – Germany, US, Lebanon, Hong Kong, Greece – to name a few, and each of us come with a unique set of skills to contribute. The great thing about being together so often is how quickly and easily you can make friends. The school in the first week really encourages us to meet the other international students, and provides us with Danish mentors who introduce us to life in Aarhus.

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Conflict Reporting class, DMJX

But most importantly the people I’ve met are so lovely, both my fellow international students and the Danes.

I live in a dorm with 12 Danes, each with our own room, but we share a large kitchen. It’s very cosy (hygge) – we have group dinners once a week & they teach me so much about Danish culture and language.

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Borglum Kollegiet

I thought I’d share quickly with you 10 QUIRKY FACTS ABOUT DENMARK to get you excited about your exchange semester —

  1. Most typical Danish cheap meal — the French Hot Dog. You can buy these at mini-street-stalls across the city. The worst quality produce is a must.

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2. Fastelavn (Carnival) — Danish celebration includes beating a barrel with a cat on it and dressing up in costume.

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3. Swimming in Winter — for some reason Danish people love to go swimming in negative degree water. You must join a club, go naked, and sauna after.

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This photo is taken by one of the international students in the Photojournalism course.

4. Cinnamon (Kanel) — when you turn 25, if you’re not married they pour cinnamon on you.

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You should also know that according to the European Union, Danish people eat too much Cinammon. In 2013 they even considered placing a ban on the spice, a move which provoked a furious reaction from Danish bakers.

5. Children wear winter onesie suits — it’s completely adorable

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6. Handball is the Danish national sport. They go nuts for handball.

7. Danish people are incredibly patriotic and they seem to have a real love for their country and the system. Denmark is known as the ‘Welfare State’ and people pay up to 50% in taxes without complaining. You’ll often see Danish flags lining the street and at birthday parties.

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A very typical Danish birthday cake

8. Danish fashion — a typical Danish girl will have three items in her wardrobe. A pair of black sneakers with white soles, skinny black jeans, and a fjallraven kanken backpack. If you want to fit in, leave all your colours at home.

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9. The Friday bar or fredagsbar — the Friday bars are held each week on a Friday from mid-afternoon till late by each faculty of the university. You could almost say the Friday bar is the focal point of student life, especially because going out and drinking at regular bars in Aarhus is so expensive. You can tour around to each faculties bar, drink cheap beer, play beer pong, and meet with all kinds of students.

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Fredagsbaren på Danmarks Journalisthøjskole

10. Kapsejladsen / Aarhus University Boat Race – each year, five members from each of the 12 selected friday bars compete to become the fastest team to row across the University Lake, empty a bottle of beer, run around the bottle ten times, row back across the lake and hand on the baton to the next in line – this is possibly the biggest event in Aarhus and they take the race very seriously…

That’s all from me. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to send me an email, I’ll be happy to answer any questions – emma.rapaport@gmail.com

Hope you enjoy your stay in Denmark!

Emma Rapaport, 11028065, DMJX Aarhus, Law

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