Caryse - University of Copenhagen

B Science
Semester 1, 2019
It’s such a cliché, but exchange actually changed my life.

Academic experience

I started my studies with the Danish Pre-Semester Language Course, which was a fantastic experience and I strongly recommend it – absolutely worth the 3 extra weeks of study. In the semester I studied International Health, Brain Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation and Introduction to Danish Society. I enjoyed how University of Copenhagen (KU) courses were designed with students’ life and workload in mind. So although my courses had 100% assessment items, they actually allowed me to enjoy life and learning for the whole semester and meant I only got stressed about assessment once! Enrolling for courses can be confusing, especially as different departments have different processes. When you first enrol, you have to select which Faculty you want to apply to – I only selected one but then regretted it as I didn’t receive  updates from any of the other faculties I ended up studying at. When in doubt, just send KU staff an email. Overall, I found my KU studies extremely rewarding.

Personal experience

It’s such a cliché, but exchange actually changed my life. Primarily through the Pre-Semester Danish Language course, I met an amazing group of people and we formed a lifelong friendship group. Having an insight into Danish culture genuinely shaped my perspective on life – how to contribute to the community, to enjoy your surrounds and to spend time with your loved ones. Learning Danish was so fun and I developed an unexpected affinity for this strange, guttural language. I was very lucky to be able to travel with my friends – highlights for me include Iceland, Prague, France, Portugal and London.


Most KU accommodation is off-campus. I lived at Basecamp Sølvgade – once a military facility, Danish railway headquarters, and now student residence. Basecamp is a large residence, which means you can meet lots of people – and coincidentally, my best friends all lived in the residence. It can be hard to make lasting friendships in Basecamp though as people don’t tend to hang out in common areas unless they are already with their friends. I loved living in an historic building, and the location is unbeatable. Living right next door to Kongens Have was absolutely incredible, especially in the summer when all the Danes flock to every sunny space in the city. Basecamp is in short distance of many small grocery stores, the inner city nightlife scene, the Lakes and Strøget shopping mall. That being said, the lifestyle comes with a quite hefty pricetag. University of Copenhagen Housing Foundation is the go-to for housing, and the system is notoriously difficult. Choosing a room is like UQ class signons, except you are randomly assigned a signon time, so the later you are invited to signon to the system the less choices you have. Have many preferences before the signon date. Basecamp is its own company, so if you book directly through them it can be much easier.


Rent was very expensive, even by Australian standards. It seems that Housing Foundation took about 200AUD from everyone in Basecamp’s deposits regardless of the condition the room was left in, so if you book through them perhaps factor that in when budgeting. Transport was free – I bought a second-hand bike off a facebook group for $80 and sold it for the same price after 6 months. Because Basecamp is so well-located, I rarely had to take public transport (only to and from the airport). Groceries were relatively expensive, especially in winter when fresh produce was limited. Travel is as expensive as you want it to be. You can find incredibly cheap flights, and flixbus and other bus services are economical and surprisingly not that tortuous. Under 25s are eligible for SAS Youth fares which are a great option.


Definitely the biggest challenge for me was going through all the bureaucratic processes of moving to a new country by myself, and sometimes in a different language! I found sometimes it is easier just to contact departments and ask for help than trying to wade through all the information yourself.

Professional Development

The ability to live independently and create a whole new life for myself is something I am so grateful to learn from my exchange. It was so valuable to live in another culture and be able to contrast certain values and ideologies. I feel very lucky that I was able to meet so many new people and adapt to my surrounds.


All of it. Seriously.

Top tips

Apply for exchange - you won't regret it. Go to Iceland before it melts! Buy fresh bread from bakeries. Have picnics (you can even buy portable barbeque kits from grocery stores). Do the Danish pre-semester language course to meet fellow exchange students and impress the Danes with your language knowledge.  Embrace your studies, your friends and this incredible city!