Hannah - University of Copenhagen

B Environmental Science
Semester 1, 2015

Academic Experiences

You'll find that the Danish academic system just makes sense. I studied the pre-semester Danish language course, Sustainability in Denmark and Cool Climate Viticulture and Enology (grape growing and wine making - would recommend for any wine lovers!) and all of these courses had a very moderate workload compared to my courses back at UQ.

I was exposed to forms of assessment that I'm not used to in my course, which was both refreshing and challenging. Oral examinations for final exams are pretty common over here, but moderators are so nice and help you along the way so don't let it intimidate you! The lightened work load also allows you to do a spot of travelling here or there, or just hang out with new friends!

Personal Experiences

You've probably heard all the classic lines from exchange students about how they "experience the best 6 months of their life" and "make friends for life" in "a city that ends up feeling like home". But they're all so true. It took a couple of months, but I fell in love with Copenhagen and all its quirks. I met people from all around the world, many of whom became like family. 

Making friends with Danes is important too! Not only do they provide you with cultural knowledge and actually speak fluent Danish to help you in times of crisis, but they're also damn awesome people. The personal skills you develop are amazing too. You learn to adapt, function as an independent adult, solve problems, navigate your way around foreign cities, communicate with people you don't share a native language with and maybe even build up your alcohol tolerance a little bit. All highly employable skills, for sure.


I lived at Bispebjerg Kollegiet, a 10-15 minute bike ride from the city (depending on traffic lights) and a 10 minute bike ride from my uni campus (Frederiksberg Science Campus). When I first arrived it looked so bleak and it seemed as though nobody socialised, but within the month we were hosting parties and had formed a tight bunch of people from all around the world. The building was half international students and half Danes, which was a great combo. It's located at the tip of Nørrebro - one of the most happening neighbourhoods with no shortage of kebabs and some great parks nearby. For future exchange students, I'd definitely recommend Bisp, along with Østerbro Kollegiet, Kollegium Juris and Signalhuset. And Tietgen - definitely Tietgen.


There's no doubt Copenhagen is one of the more expensive places to go on exchange, but in times of desperation I also found out you can survive on very minimal. Eating out is around the same as Brisbane - maybe a little more - but groceries can be cheaper if you play your cards right. Keep your eye out for your local Netto, Lidl, Føtex, Fakta or Irma. They'll meet your every need. Dumpster diving is also pretty common if you're feeling adventurous. If you're going to spend a little extra and eat out, I'd definitely recommend Copenhagen Street Food market (similar to Eat Street Markets but better pulled pork sandwiches). Also hit up Torvehallerne (glass markets) for a good meal or free cheese & chocolate samples.

Transport is a breeze because there's only one way you should go. BUY A BIKE. Rain, hail or snow the bike lanes in Copenhagen are kickass and you save money AND get your exercise - win-win! You can pick up a very decent bike for 700dk (~AUD$140) and get most of it back when you sell it before you leave. 

You should also account for some extra travel money - so many friends wanting to travel to so many places mean that you can always find travel buddies. I was able to go to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Finland and Russia within the semester and made some incredible memories.

Academic Development and Employability 

Studying abroad really opens your eyes up to the world around you. It makes you so much more adaptable and broadens your mind. It's the first step on the way to taking your career around the world, something which is increasingly common and even sought after in this globalised world.


It's very hard to distinguish a singular highlight, but the best days were the days when the sun was shining and you were outside with friends. One day the weather was so gorgeous that we hired a boat, grabbed some beers and went down into the canals and harbour. 

Traveling was also a highlight. Would have to say my favourite place was Bruges.

Top Tips 

  • Buy a bike. Seriously, as soon as you get there try to find one - there are plenty of Facebook groups and even dba.dk (Danish version of Gumtree)
  • Lock up said bike. Bike theft is a thing, trust me. It's not a nice feeling having your bike stolen 
  • Do the pre-semester language course. You make so many friends so quickly and it's nice to have a few phrases up your sleeve
  • Do your residency stuff in Copenhagen - you save almost $300 and get your stuff delivered before everyone else
  • Don't stress too much. Things work out in the end. So many things go wrong, but there's always a new and often better solution. 
  • Save a lot in advance. Try to have more on hand than UQ recommends so you can splurge a little here and there and/or go traveling. Makes the experience so much more relaxing
  • Embrace the "hygge" - a Danish concept that relates to cosiness and is one of the significant factors in making it the happiest place on earth.
  • Have coffee in tiny shops on Istedgade or Vesterbrogade, hit up bars in Nørrebro (Mikkeler & Friends and Nørrebro Bryghus were my favourite) and just have fun!