Karen - Technical University of Denmark

B Chemical Engineering
Semester 2, 2017

Academic Experience

The courses I studied at DTU and their equivalent UQ courses were:

  • 12104 Modelling of Environmental Systems = CHEE3007
  • 28121 Unit Operations lab & 28157 Process Design = CHEE3004
  • 28140 Chemical Reaction Engineering = CHEE3005
  • 28852 Risk in Chemical Engineering = CHEE4002

I enjoyed how these courses were taught as the class sizes for some courses were generally around 30-40 students; considerably smaller than a UQ lecture theatre. The lecturers tried to be as personable as possible, they were always very helpful if you had a question or a query. As an exchange student, I really appreciated this. For my courses which had more student, the lecturers still tried to make themselves as available to students as possible. I enjoyed how lecturers were very willing to accommodate students request such as extending submission deadlines if you couldn't submit on time for various reasons.

I found their teaching structure a challenge as they generally teach in 4 hours blocks - 2 hr lecture followed by 2 hr tutorial. There were many times were I was struggling to stay focused in the tutorials. But the lecturers were very understanding and gave breaks quite frequently.

Personal Experience

Exchange has been the best experience I've had and it's something I won't forget. DTU is a very international university and has students from all over the world. I really loved being able to make friends with people my age from various different countries. The social and campus live at DTU was also something I really enjoyed, they hold events almost every week and encourage students to attend.

But most importantly, I really enjoyed travelling all over Europe! I definitely took advantaged of being in Europe and tried to go to as many countries as possible. Travelling and experiencing new cultures and exploring new cities was definitely the highlight of my exchange.

Accommodation

I lived off campus in a share house with international exchange students from Europe and USA. Public transport in Denmark is quite expensive so I bought a bike and rode to University. Most Danish people ride bikes allowing the city to have separate bike lanes which made riding to University very easy and safe.

My share house was old and the facilities could have been better; however, my experience there was still amazing thanks to my housemates. In this house I got the chance to become good friends with people from around the world. If possible, I would have preferred living on campus in college due to the convenience and the ability to meet more exchange or Danish students.

My advice would be to purchase a bike and if possible, try to live on campus.

Budget 

In total I spent around $15 000 on exchange (excluding flights to and from Copenhagen); however, I greatly prioritised travelling which was where majority of my budget went to. Travelling around Europe can be very cheap especially when you fly budget airlines and use buses to get around to different countries (i.e. Flixbus). Book accommodation in advance, this will save you a lot of money! Plan out your assessment so you can travel during the semester. There are less tourists at this time and flight tickets or accommodation can sometimes be a lot cheaper. 

To reduce costs, I would recommend commuting using a bike rather than public transport which is quite expensive. For entertainment, I chose to go to the bars at University which were significantly cheaper than ones in Copenhagen. The social scene at these uni bars was great so I didn't feel like I missed out. I found groceries in Copenhagen to be similarly priced to the ones in Australia.

My total rent for 5 months accommodation came to around $3000 which included all my utility costs as well like wifi, water and electricity.

Professional Development & Employability

Personal independence, organisation skills and adaptability were the two main skills that I developed on exchange.

Having to plan all your own travel whilst meeting assessment deadlines really helped improve my organisation and planning skills. Sometimes it was a struggle finding time to complete assessment tasks; however, it taught me valuable time management skills. Living and studying in a foreign country really taught me how to become more adaptable to new environments. I especially felt this during group assessment pieces when I had team members that were from numerous countries around the world. We all came into the project with our own study/assessment standards and expectations from our respective home universities. Learning to adapt and work with these differences was a really good life skill I got and it will definitely help me in industry.

Highlights 

The highlight of my exchange would definitely be all the travel I did around Europe! I made it my priority to go to as many countries as I could and it was incredible being able to experience so many new cultures and see famous sites. Another highlight would be making new international friends! I really enjoyed group dinners with friends or my housemates where we cooked a meal and enjoyed it together. I was able to form strong friendships during these dinners and they’ve given me some of my favourite memories on exchange!

Top Tips 

  1. Plan what you want to achieve on exchange. For example, I wanted to prioritised travel so I knew majority of my budget would go to this aspect. I also made an effort to plan my semester to find times where I could travel around assessment pieces.
  2. Participate in the DTU social life and enjoy all the parties and event on offer. It’s a great way to make friends!
  3. Buy a bike! Biking is very safe and common in Copenhagen and Denmark.
  4. Join the DTU/Erasmum (ESN) network. They offer fully organised trips to various countries throughout the semester with fellow university students. I would highly recommend going on one of these trips, it was how I got to see the Northern lights!