Anna - University of Copenhagen

B Science/Arts
Semester 2, 2018
I wish I could relive it everyday

Academic experience

I studied a cellular neuroscience class and a course in danish culture and language. The way of teaching in the science faculty was very different to that of UQ. Firstly, the course was taught over a span more similar to a term, rather than a semester so it was more intense and the laboratory exercises were not completed every week, but we had 2 full days in the lab. We went into the labs in small groups as they were real working research labs and were able to complete tasks that were very similar to the researchers. A large challenge in this course was the fact that the final mark rested solely on a 100% oral exam, a format which I have never done at UQ. Going into the examination I had no great idea what to expect so this was very nerve-racking for me. I felt as thought the teachers treated us more as adults as well during this course. However, this was not as overwhelming as I had feared as the teachers prepared us very well for the exam as they were personal experts in the topic. The enrolment process was very similar to that at UQ, however I was unable to pick my timetable as the classes were only small so there was only one time option. This small class size was also very beneficial to my learning. I enjoyed the feeling that my teacher knew me personally and I was able to know all my classmates too.

Personal experience

I gained an incredible amount from my exchange that it is difficult to put this into words. The friends that I met through classes and also through my accomodation were great. It was amazing meeting other people from all over the world that were all so friendly and fun to be around. I have never made a group of friends that is that close, so quickly, and I know that a bond like that is lifelong. I had never been to Europe before exchange so living in Denmark was great as it allowed me to travel to countries very easily. I never realised how much I loved travelling until I was able to do it so easily. In regards to my personal skills, I think going on exchange has increased my independence markedly. Being solely accountable for my meals, washing, transport and other administrative things was a considerable change as I lived at home before leaving.

Accommodation

I lived off-campus in student accomodation that was run by the University. After speaking with other people in Copenhagen who were living elsewhere, I realised how lucky I was to be living in a Kollegiet where it was all international students. This meant that everyone there essentially knew no one in Copenhagen and were very eager to make friends. Others I know who stayed in housing that was a mix of international and danish students found it more difficult to make friends. Therefore I would recommend living in student accomodation with other international students, not alone as this makes it far less lonely and easy to make friends. The University did have a housing foundation, however this organisation was very difficult to deal with and caused many problems with people I knew.

Costs

In copenhagen, rent is notoriously expensive. I paid approximately $13,000 AUD for 6 months rent of a single room. However this was in a university run college that was close to town. Food can be relatively inexpensive if you are shopping and making your own meals. I think $1,000 a month could cover these costs and other costs such as the odd concert or other entertainment thing. Travel really depends on the person, where you are on exchange and how much you want to do. I travelled to 4 places during the semester where I was able to buy cheap flights and just use carry on luggage. However at the end of my exchanged I travelled with check-in luggage for 6 weeks around Europe. It would be advisable to consider what kind of travelling you would personally like to be doing and budget accordingly

Challenge

My biggest challenge was balancing my life in Copenhagen with my life in Brisbane. I often found it difficult to keep up with things in Brisbane as my life in Copenhagen was so busy and the time difference further accentuated this. In the end I devoted time to face timing my boyfriend during the day when it wasn't too busy for me and setting reminders to keep in touch with my friends back home every few days. I know this seems trivial but for friends back home it was weird that I suddenly disappeared off the grid. At first, I didn't notice this a lot as I was really making an effort to settle myself overseas, but the longer this went on I became aware of how much I missed them and how important it was to keep up all of my friendships

Professional Development

Professionally, I think this has greatened by ability to be adaptable and work in a range of environments. I would like to do Medicine, so I can see this skill working to my advantage enormously. Being able to practice in a range of environments from the city to rural places is very important and many people shy away from working rurally. This is something I would be more than open to doing

Highlight

The highlight of my experience is hard to pinpoint to one moment. I would have to say it was making the group of friends I did whilst over there. They were an incredible group of people and I feel very lucky to have been able to go on exchange and meet them.

Top tips

My advice would be to engage with people as soon as possible. It is very easy to feel lonely if you do not feel you are close with anyone. I would suggest not to go in with expectations as exchange is very hard to predict so making expectations may feel like you are underwhelmed by some things when it is in fact, just not what you expected. I would also suggest being adaptable and not to take things too seriously