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Things I Didn’t Expect…

My experiences getting to Denmark, Aarhus and my first day there.

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A grey day in Aarhus, it looks like the model railway buildings I used to have as a kid.

It was far easier to apply and be accepted for exchange than anything else to come.  This process, at the time felt a little full on with meetings, various hoops and forms, not to mention the worries of where I would be accepted.  This was really nothing compared to the difficulties and expense in actually getting myself over here.

The visa was very expensive to apply for.  When planning your expenses, the first real thought will be, I need to get my plane ticket, early – so I must have some money from somewhere before my government loan comes through.  While it was around $1500 for a return flight to Denmark, the visa application process for me (applying for a new passport too) ran aver $1000 – a rude shock and somewhat unplanned for by myself.

It takes foooooorrrrrreeeeeever to get overseas.  We live in a country far away from anywhere it seems, well except Asia, but that can still be a 7 hour flight.  I, as you probably do know this, its something else to experience.  I had the joy of a flight split into 4 legs, Sydney > Bangkok > Dubai > Copenhagen > Aarhus, equalling roughly 40 hours of travel.  Yes thats right 40 hours!  I am not an easy sleeper too.  On the plus side this actually helps get over jet lag, as when you do sleep your body clock is pretty much shot.

Being organised when traveling is a must. Seriously, it is. This means if you’re not typically organised (like me) you have to be a little over the top.  This means printing copies of travel flight docs, maps of terminals and I even wrote a cheat sheet with flights, locations and times.  This was not only helpful when navigating around (particularly when languages are not always in English) but the process of making such a cheat sheet allowed me to better recall and memorise flight details.  I have missed a flight before in my life.  This is incredibly expensive, even if you’re allowed to go on standby (still costs some $$$), but if you have a series of flights to catch it is a huge deal.  Don’t under estimate how much this will ruin your trip.

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A wifi enabled cafe, plus I found a model railway! See the little buildings? They’re also featured at 1:1 scale outside on the street

Free wifi is everywhere.  Use it!  One great feature on my phone with google maps the is the fact that it will continue to work after i have lost wifi signal.  It won’t be able to search for locations or plan the trip, but the pin that is me on the map works off satellite.  This means you can plan a journey while at a hostel, or Starbucks and then follow the maps.  Be careful it can clear from time to time randomly, so I would advise taking screen shots of starting and finishing locations and an overall.

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Take screen grabs of locations when you have wifi so you can find your way back later.

A Visa alone was not good enough.  I needed to register for a kind of citizen number upon arrival to get a card.  You get used to finding out the is more and more red tape in the way of things.  Roll with the punches and learn to love queuing up.

Coffee in Denmark is waaaaay expensive.  anything between $7-$10 a cup.  They think its quaint if you complain about it, actually complaining generally isn’t a great idea when you arrive in a new country.

You sometimes have to pay to use toilets.  They have a coin slot in the stall doors or in some cases a subway style turnstile to get in at the front door. I’ve encountered these at railway stations and in the shopping centres.  Carry coins (for busses too)!

English is almost universally known here, older people less so than younger.  But everyone seems to understand me when I launch into english at the shop counter.  I am pretty sure this is okay to do as I’ve heard that asking if they speak english can be considered a rude assumption.  Not 100% on this yet.

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Yes its a little basic, and lets call it for what it is, depressing to arrive in an empty, worn room – but you’d be amazed how far some furnishing will go and check out the green outside!

Student dorms are basic but do the trick.  Get a thick skin, add some personal touches and you’ll be fine.

Thats it for now!

And more of that model railway for you fellow buffs out there!

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My new favourite cafe!

Jeffrey Tighe

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Master of Architecture

Aarhus School of Architecture

Denmark

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