Thomas - University of Copenhagen

B Law/ B Journalism
Semester 1, 2016

Academic Experience

The thing about studying law in Copenhagen is that you can only choose the English subjects, which are at a masters level. Because of this, a full-time UQ load is only 2-3 subjects in Copenhagen. I won't lie, I chose to study interesting and easy subjects so that I could spend more time travelling. The first subject I chose was Great Trials in Western Legal History, which I would strongly recommend to anyone who can take it. It is essentially a history subject with a focus on what has shaped our legal systems, and how should we learn from that. I also studied an Introduction to Danish Law, so that I could better understand my host country, this subject was more academically challenging than I predicted due to it covering most legal areas in one course (contract, tort, criminal, admin, etc.), so maybe don't do that unless you have completed all core law courses. Finally, I studied Sports Law, which included general contract and compe tition law, EU regulations and US Anti-Trust law. It also touched on broadcasting rights and doping. It was a very interesting comparative subject! Nothing similar is offered at UQ as far as I am aware.

The most challenging thing about this academic system was their focus on oral exams. I had never had one before (except maybe a moot) and was quite intimidated. Fortunately, the lecturers help you along the way and rarely try to trap you. If anything, an oral exam is preferable as it is only 20mins and you get your grade straight after.

Personal Experience

When I went over to Denmark, I fully expected to make a core group of friends and then go off travelling every weekend. Although I did have one big bout of travel over the mid-semester break, I actually spent most of my time in Denmark. This was a conscious decision. I found that I had made a number of friend groups, because the law school does a great job of forcing social interaction during orientation week, and that I was very much enjoying actually living in a different city - not living out of one. The pre-semester language course was great for making friends and understanding how to pronounce words and order food. Not that you need the language knowledge, because nearly every Dane speaks perfect English!

Accommodation 

Copenhagen University made this side of things easy also. There is a designated body called the Housing Foundation which places you in one of the many colleges based on a first-in-first-served basis. This was good because it meant you had a definite place to stay and weren't left feeling stranded before you even arrived. But, it was bad because it felt slightly over-priced and the bureaucracy was sometimes hard to get through. The good thing about Copenhagen is that no matter where you stay it will likely be only a 20min bike ride to the city! Don't sweat it.

Budget

Although Copenhagen is renowned as being an expensive city, I found the groceries on par with Australian prices, and the alcohol was much cheaper (not that I would recommend anybody drink alcohol, I'm just using it as a measure). The accommodation is going to be your most expensive thing, with eating out following closely behind. Copenhagen has a large number of Michelin Star restaurants and various fine dining off-shoots. It is FINE dining and you can expect to pay a lot of money if that is your thing. If not, you'll be... fine. It is hard to put a number on it, but expect to pay around $1000 a month for rent - the rest is up to you.

Also, if you are buying a bike, don't pay more than 600kr. The shops will try to sell you a bike for much more. Just jump on a sales page and buy one privately. If you take care of it, you should be able to sell it for the same price. I didn't take care of my bike though. Three times. So I am an experienced bike buyer.

Professional Development & Employability

I'm honestly not sure which ones have contributed to my professional development, but if I were to predict which ones may help I would say: my ability to organise on the fly, interact with strangers, and ask people for help when I need it!

Highlights 

That is such a hard question to answer. I feel like every week I met someone amazing, or something amazing happened. Although, if I had to choose, I would say Roskilde Festival. I keep telling people it was the best 8 consecutive days of my life. Jumping into the canals was also pretty good. Do that. Oh, and cycling everywhere! That was so convenient and inexpensive. Definitely a highlight.

Top Tips

It took me 6 years to get around to applying for exchange. And even then, it was a spur of the moment decision. Just do it now. Like, right now.