I’ve been in Copenhagen for about a month now – and am absolutely loving it! It’s the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to, and is full of historic architecture, cobblestone streets and canals. However, if you’re thinking of beginning your exchange in February, (during the Danish winter), bring a big, warm coat! The temperature shift was a bit of a shock, and I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been.
I completed orientation at the University of Copenhagen’s law school during my first week here. It included a tour, a brief overview of the faculty’s teaching style, a pizza lunch and student drinks. While orientation isn’t compulsory, it’s a great way to start the semester! You’ll get the chance to meet other students in your course and figure out where everything is – so I’d definitely recommend it.
The University of Copenhagen is much larger than UTS and has multiple campuses all over the city. If you’re studying law, you’ll have most of your classes on the South, or ‘Sondre’, campus in Islands Brygge, (which is a 10 minute metro ride from the city centre). This campus looks quite a lot like UTS – and is relatively modern. However, it also has water features and plants in various parts of the building and is surrounded by student dorms.
Teaching styles and assessment
The teaching style at the University of Copenhagen is relatively similar to that of UTS. I thought this was quite interesting, as I’m taking Masters courses at the University, (as Bachelor of Laws subjects aren’t offered in English).
However, I don’t have any huge lectures for my subjects – so far, all of my classes are seminars and mini-lectures containing 20-40 students.
While students are still expected to participate in class discussion, there isn’t an assessable ‘participation’ component in any of my subjects.
At the end of most of these subjects, you’ll have to submit a thesis on a topic that you choose. You’ll have the opportunity to take some really interesting courses here, (that aren’t offered at UTS), so pick a couple that you’re passionate about!
LIFE IN COPENHAGEN
During my exchange, I’ve been staying at Basecamp Solvgade, (a hall of residence in the centre of the city). It used to be a military barracks, and is right next to the metro, a couple of parks and lots of cafes and supermarkets. If you’re interested in staying in a hall of residence, book a spot as soon as the accommodation becomes available! The affordable dorm rooms are taken very quickly, and there’s a housing crisis in Copenhagen, (making it difficult for students to find sensibly priced apartments).
If you want to meet other students, I’d definitely recommend staying in a hall of residence or dorm, as they’re quite social. At Basecamp, there’s a big communal kitchen, a gym and a common area. There are also regular trips to nearby cities, (like Malmo in Sweden) which are really fun and a great way to meet other students.
Transport – bikes and metro
I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to get around Copenhagen. Most of the locals ride bikes everywhere! If buying a bike seems like too much of a commitment, you can easily rent one in the City. However, try and learn the road rules before you do. I nearly got hit by a car because I didn’t understand that you had to turn corners and signal in a particular way.
If you aren’t comfortable on a bike, the metro and bus systems in Copenhagen are fantastic. I have noticed that getting a student card metro-pass is a bit difficult, (and still haven’t gotten mine). Since public transport can become a bit expensive, walking is also another great option.
Food and Nightlife
There are lots of great food and nightlife options for students in Copenhagen. At the start of the semester, you’ll probably do a faculty pub crawl, (or two)! You should be introduced to some places that do great student meal and drink deals. Be sure to check out the meatpacking district if you’re keen for a boogie!
However, Copenhagen is, in my experience, one of the most expensive cities in Europe. The best advice I can give you is to cook about 90% of the time– as groceries are reasonably priced. Making a meal roster with your friends, or cooking communal dishes 2-3 nights a week, is a great way to keep things interesting.
There are also lots of bakeries and hot dog stands that offer delicious, affordable bites to eat. The cinnamon scrolls in Denmark are amazing and are something of a local delicacy – so try one if you have the chance.
Travelling around Europe
If you go on exchange to Copenhagen, try and go on a few weekend trips to neighbouring countries. There are regular flights from Copenhagen to Berlin, London and Bruges! I recently went on a 5 day trip to Stockholm. I was able to travel there by train, and had a great time.
If you’re thinking about going on exchange to Copenhagen, and have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I’m still getting settled in, but am absolutely loving it and couldn’t recommend it enough!
Bachelor of Arts / Laws
University of Copenhagen
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au