Rebecca - Technical University of Denmark

B/M Engineering
Semester 1, 2019

Academic experience

During my semester at DTU, I took the following courses:
•    27034 Fermentation Technology (CHEE4028)
•    28345 BioReaction Engineering (Part N elective)
•    28434 Membrane Technology (Part N elective)
•    28361 Chemical Engineering Model Analysis (CHEE7111)
•    28451 Optimizing Plantwide Control (CHEE7113)
I really enjoyed these courses. The lecturers were great, the content was interesting, and the assessment wasn’t too stressful. On the whole, DTU felt pretty similar to UQ in terms of the type of content and the way it was delivered, and the assessment tasks were similar to the sorts of things I would normally do at home. 
One of the main differences that I liked at DTU was the timetabling. Each course has one or two 4 hour blocks of teaching each week which combines the lecturer and tutorials all in one. I found it easier to schedule around classes when they weren’t in small blocks. The most challenging aspect was that we didn’t get marks back on individual assignments. They just gave an overall grade based on your performance over the semester. I found it difficult to know where I was standing which made me a bit nervous, but I ended up getting pretty similar grades to what I normally get at UQ. 
To decide what courses you are going to take, look up DTUs course base. If you search for courses running in your semester, you should be able to find a lot of courses that are equivalent to UQ's chemical engineering courses. I'd recommend going on exchange before your final year because you have a lot more options in terms of what courses to take, and you have a much greater chance of being able to find enough equivalent courses.

Personal experience

I had a fantastic time on the exchange. I met a lot of people from all over the world and I now have friends in all those places that I’m sure I will catch up with again whether on my travels or theirs. I have some great memories with my core group of friends that I will always hold on to. 
Most of my friends were other exchange students, so were also keen on travelling. I went on a few weekend trips early in the semester, including to Prague, Bulgaria, Sweden and England. All of my classes were scheduled Monday-Wednesday, so I had a four day weekend which made it really easy to travel. If you’re keen on travelling, I’d recommend having a bit of a plan before you go, so you can book flights etc. in advance because you’ll get much better deals. You can get some really cheap flights if you book at the right time, but I often missed those because I’m not very organised. I also had the opportunity to go travelling at the end of semester, before returning to Australia.
On top of this, it was great to really get some independence and live in a place where I really knew no-one. I had to form a new social network pretty quickly, and that process really boosted my self-confidence.


I lived on campus at DTU Lyngby in apartments called Nordvej. These were studio apartments with a personal bathroom and kitchenette. They were new apartments when I stayed in them and had everything you need to live independently. I really enjoyed having my own space to come home to in the evenings and to get some work done during the day. 
One of the downsides of the accommodation was that the setup didn’t really lend itself to a social atmosphere. All of the rooms opened directly to the outside and there wasn’t an indoor common space, so in winter (at the start of my semester), it was really difficult to socialize with other residents. There was a nice outdoor courtyard though so in summer, it was a great atmosphere – there was almost always a group of people outside with a BBQ or something. 
I organised my accommodation through DTU’s accommodation office. They provide you with a form to fill out your preference of accommodation, but once they offer you something, you can’t request a different location. Have a look on their accommodation website to get a feel for the cost of each place and what the living situation is like before you apply. I would recommend going with whatever they offer you though because it can be quite difficult to find good accommodation on your own in Copenhagen.


My rent was about $1000 per month, including utilities. I had a pre-paid sim card with Lebara that gave me 100 GB data for $20 per month. 
On other more variable costs, each week I spent on average:
•    $50-70 on groceries
•    $30-40 on entertainment
•    $30-40 on transport
•    $10 on laundry
I spent a pretty small amount on groceries compared to other people – my meals were pretty bland, so if you want more interesting food, budget more than that. It’s also very expensive to eat at restaurants or get take-away in Copenhagen, so definitely budget more if you plan on doing that a lot. 
The most unexpected cost for me was transport. I initially budgeted about half the amount I ended up spending on transport, and most other people I spoke to found the same. DTU is a fair way out of the city so it costs a lot for a return trip. Also, I lived on campus, so if you live off campus, you will need to spend more on transport to get into class every day. I’d definitely recommend getting a bike if you don’t live at DTU. 
On top of this, I spent about $1300 on return flights from Australia, $1500 on visa requirements and about $5000 on travel throughout the semester and afterwards. 
In total, I think spent about $10 000 on the exchange, plus the $5000 on travel.


The biggest challenge during my exchange was probably making it through the first week. It was my first time travelling alone, and so it was quite daunting arriving in Copenhagen and having to find my way around on my own. Then I had to very quickly make friends, because I didn’t know anyone else on exchange with me. But I made an effort to get involved in the introduction week and get to know people during the week, and it paid off. They ended up being my closest friends and support network for the semester.

Professional Development

I think my biggest take-away in terms of professional development was working in teams with people from different cultural backgrounds. I get this to some extent at UQ, but at DTU, none of my teammates were Australian. It was difficult navigating different priorities and ways of thinking/communicating. We had a really interesting lecture in the introduction week which focused on different societal approaches to time management, power distance, conflict management etc. This was helpful in understanding other group member’s actions and often helped me realise that something I perceived as rude might not have been intended as such. I’m hoping this is something that I can apply moving forward in my career.


The highlight of my experience was definitely the people. I had a really great core group of friends and met lots of people through my classes and various other activities. Between the travel, weekly dinners and other catch-ups, we had a lot of fun. It’s just great to have all these memories that I share with a group who are now scattered all over the world.

Top tips

My best piece of advice would be to participate in the introduction week that DTU offers in the week before classes. This is a week of activities with a group of other exchange students that you will be assigned to. It’s a really great opportunity to get to know other people in the same boat as you, and get a head start on building a social network in Copenhagen. I had a fantastic group who ended up being my closest friends on the exchange.