Just yesterday, I submitted my 3 months notice of leave to my landlord. Wow, time really does fly when you’re having fun!
Throughout the past 3-4 month of my exchange experience in the small but beautiful city of Aarhus, in Denamrk, I have learnt so much, not only about this city, the Danes or architecture, but mostly about myself.
Coming from Sydney, from am small family of 4 and still living at home, I knew that living on my own will teach me alot of things, but I wasn’t expecting the constant growth of character and the self reflection that comes with this experience.
There are many things that most people would have to face during an exchange experience. Starting from the basics of finding a place to live, moulding around your new way of studying/learning and travelling around to other countries/cities.
Starting from the basic one, finding a place to live is not always so basic. Especially in Aarhus, the ‘University city’ in Denmark, lack of housing is definitely one of the biggest struggles for the new students. The student housing provided by the school is usually too far from the campus which is placed in close proximity to the city centre, making the commute by bike quite difficult in the cold winter! So one of the first challenges I was faced with was finding the best and right place to live. For me having never lived out of home, this was an interesting experience. After many months of looking/advertising on Facebook pages I was able to land an apartment to share with someone else. Now one of the important experiences is living with other people. Not only you start to learn how others live, but you learn more about yourself. Who are you as a person and what attributes and characteristics do you have when it comes to living with others. Do you enjoy a clean home? Or are you a social person and like to communicate? This definitely was one of the big learning curves of my experience so far as I have learnt many things about myself by reflecting on daily actions.
The next important learning concept for me was adapting to the new ways of teaching and learning. Architecture school of Aarhus had implemented a very different course compared to UTS as students only undertake one subject and spend the whole semester perfecting this project. This allows you to experience another dimension of thinking and approach and an opportunity arises to either adapt and engage or reject and continue with your previous ways of learning
And last but not least is the traveling aspect of exchange. Whether travelling alone or with group of friends, travelling teaches you many ways who you are and how you are able to respond to different situatios and people and how flexible you can be in order to get along with others in your group and people in your surroundings. Currently, I have travelled to Morocco and Iceland which have been two amazing but varied landscapes and culturally rich places. I have learnt many things about myself and how I like to travel and the things that interest me, and it has been an invaluable experience.
Overall, exchange has had its ups and downs but after each of these positive or negative experiences, you start to really understand who you are as a person and that has been the biggest aspect of exchange for me.
Fatemeh Mohaghegh // 11402219
Master of architecture
Aarkitektskolen i Aarhus