Samantha - Technical University of Denmark

Bachelor of Engineering (Hons)/ Masters of Engineering
Semester 1, 2018
I learnt more about myself in the 6-months abroad than I ever had before.

Academic experience

Subjects included:
12701 Introduction to living systems
27034 Fermentation Technologies
47205 Energy Technology
28361 Chemical engineering model analysis
42543 Management of Change in Engineering systems

The academic system at DTU is quite different to UQ. There is typically one class per week, per course which incorporates lectures, tutorials and practicals. Whilst I initially found it challenging to concentrate for the 4 hour contact time, when it came to exams I realized I learnt the content more easily by applying what we were learning and getting feedback all in one session. The exams also typically contained an oral component. Mine were mainly one-on- one discussion style orals with a lecturer to test that I understood the content of the course. Whilst I found the grading and weighting of assessments ambiguous and sometimes frustrating, I believe that the teaching style complimented the way that I learn and I ended up achieving some of the best results in my degree so far.

Personal experience

Whilst abroad I was fortunate enough to travel to 15 countries around Europe. I learnt more about myself in the 6-months abroad than I ever had before. As well as this I made life-long friends from all corners of the globe.

Accommodation

I lived in Campus Village (the containers) at DTU. I found DTU very helpful for arranging accommodation however I had many issues with the quality of the accommodation. The arrangement was 10 people to share a small, unclean kitchen with one stove top and limited storage space, one toilet and one shower. My shower was broken for the first quarter of my stay which meant that I had to run through the snow to an alternate shower. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the containers because of the friends that I made. As this accommodation was only international students, it made it easy to find friends who wanted to travel. I would recommend prioritizing location and found living on campus was perfect.

Costs

I found living expenses in Denmark to be comparable with Australia if I made an effort to cook all meals. My accommodation was approx. $170 a week. My budget was dominated by travel costs due to the frequency of the travel. I would recommend finding tips for cheap travel on arrival. Some that I would recommend are finding flights as early as possible and using websites such as Skyscanner and Kiwi. Utilizing free walking tours in each city and sometimes staying with friends that I met on exchange also cut down costs. I also used the Hostel World site to ensure the quality of the hostels that I stayed at. Typically my return flights for a weekend away in Europe would be between $50-$150 return, accommodation $15-50 a night and under $300 on food, activities and transport.

Professional Development

I was able to develop professionally and increase my networks by attending international Biotechnology conferences in different countries by myself, reaching out and conducting site visits to biopharmaceutical companies and making the most of academic opportunities at DTU.
I have since had a graduate job interview and the first question asked was about my exchange. The interviewers were impressed and noted that they see it favourably in terms of development of soft and technical skills as well as the personality traits associated with relocating and being far out of your comfort zone.

Highlight

There are almost too many to choose from but I think it is hard to top the feeling after I did a polar plunge holding the hands of my exchange friends (on a -20 degree Celsius night) into a frozen lake in the Lapland region of Sweden and looked up to see the Northern Lights dancing around horizon to horizon.

Top tips

Apply no matter what stage you are in your degree! 
Also, research getting your visa when you arrive in Copenhagen to save yourself the unnecessary $400+ by getting your biometric data taken in Brisbane.