Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science

Academic experiences

Being a Bachelor of Science student, I naturally steered towards the more scientific and intriguing courses at the University of Copenhagen.
These included Molecular Genetics and Molecular Cell Biology, both of which were precedents for core subjects in my major.
Perhaps the exception to this was the Danish Pre-Semester Language Course (which you can get credits for).
As the name suggests, this subject was held in August before the official start of the semester and was an intensive 3 week course.
This was such an enjoyable subject mainly because I got to meet a lot of international students from all over the world who were in the exact same boat as I was (and I learned a bit of Danish too), and thus many friendships were formed and kept throughout my stay.
The education system in Copenhagen is a little different to Queensland.
For starters, class sizes are much smaller (at least in science).
My classes consisted of around 30-40 students, which reminded me of your stereotypical high school classroom.
For both my courses, I had 2 or 3 "lectures" a week (in quotation marks because typically that means 100+ students), plus a laboratory or two. Most of the students in the class were Danish, but the courses were taught in English.
This brings me to the social challenge of "breaking the Danish ice".
I found that Danes are quite reserved people, and that I really had to insert myself in order to mix in with the Danes.
I know this was true for a lot of my internationals friends as well.
But after a while of mingling and mixing I formed some solid friendships with a few Danes from my courses!

copenhagen

Personal experiences

Studying abroad is a great way to travel.
Don't get me wrong, I did my fair share of studying, but studying in Europe has its advantages.
The most obvious advantage is that in the holidays and on some long weekends, I took trips with my new friends all over Europe, exploring the niches of the world without delaying my studies.
I learned how to say "could I get another beer?" in 8 different languages, I improved my geography and sense of direction, but most importantly I learned how to be independent.
I had to cook for myself, clean after myself, deal with a heap of bureaucracy on my own, plan trips, entertainment and list goes on and on.. And I came back to Australia a changed man, for the better of course.

Accommodation

Organising my accommodation was probably the most frustrating thing about my trip.
The reason for this is that the University's Housing Foundation was trying out a new program, and like all new programs there were a heap of problems.
But in the end, I got accepted into my third preference for accommodation - a college (named "Kollegium"), which is quite different to the colleges we're used to at UQ.
So of course, all the kollegiums are different to each other - some are more social and involved than others.
Bispebjerg Kollegium, the kollegium which I stayed at, provided a good balance of socialising and privacy for me.
I had my own kitchenette and bathroom, and the building had a common room too which held parties every now and then.
Perhaps the best thing about Bispebjerg is the location.
It was super close to Nørrebrogade; a huge multicultural street full of different shops, flea markets, kebabs, you name it.
The accommodation was also really close to the Nørre (North) Campus where I had all of my classes. So in the end, I was quite content with my accommodation despite it being my third preference. Also, I have to add, throughout my stay I met so many people from a lot of different Kollegiums, so I frequently went to different parties in different locations - which was a huge plus.

Expenses

Every time I told people I'm studying abroad in Copenhagen, their first reaction was: "Oh I heard it's really expensive there!".
Now, I found this to be somewhat true, but only in comparison to the rest of Europe!
If I was to compare Copenhagen to Australia, I would say it's more or less the same.
Of course, I formed a budget and did my best to keep by it, but I found myself being a little more generous as I wanted to get the full experience out of my travels.
Grocery shopping was more or less the same as Australia, maybe even cheaper if you go to Netto or the local Aldi.
Alcohol was definitely cheaper in Copenhagen, and they're big on recycling so if you recycle your cans you get some of your money back. All in all, I would recommend to budget around $15,000 for the trip, including flights and accommodation.

Academic development and employability

As I mentioned before, I really gained my independence while I was on exchange.
And I found that this enhanced a lot of other qualities, specifically my self-confidence, communication skills & negotiating skills, amongst many others.
I believe that these three qualities specifically helped me develop as a person and enhanced my interpersonal skills, which is important both in academia and in the work force.
To build on this, I met a lot of great people from different disciplines including science, law, international relations and so on.
This has definitely helped me build a network of people globally, which I'm sure would prove to be beneficial later in my career.

sea

Highlight

Travelling was definitely a highlight of my experience abroad.
I found myself to be quite the traveller; visiting over 10 countries in my 7 months in Europe (with Spain & Netherlands being the two favourites).
It was amazing to be so central in the world, and to be able to see the world for what it truly is beyond postcards and testimonials.
And just to put the cherry on the cake, I got to share these experiences with some amazing people with whom I'm sure I will stay friends with for a very long time.
So my suggestion to any prospective UQ exchangers is as Nike often claims: "just do it".

Top tips

Some hot tips for Copenhagen, Denmark:
- Definitely buy a bike. This is the cheapest and easiest way to get around the city.
The city isn't that big - you can probably bike from one side to the other in 30-40mins.
I used my bike almost every day and even on my nights out! I strongly recommend it.
- As I mentioned before, I recommend everyone heading to Copenhagen to take the Danish Pre-Semester Language Course.
It's just a great way to meet people and it gives you time to settle in the city before the semester starts.
- Save, save, save. While I think it's possible to go on exchange with the bare minimum, it's always better to have a bit more so you can really enjoy yourself without the worry.
I think that if you're really stressed for money, postponing the exchange for the following semester in order to work a bit more is worth it.
- Check out some of the retro and creative cafes and bars on Nørrebrogade!
At the very start everyone always heads into the city centre for the clubs and bars, but in my opinion some of the best ones are in Nørrebro - specifically Kassen and Mikeller & Friends!
- And finally, I suggest taking on some extracurricular activities such as joining the Uni's football team or playing some tennis.
It's just another way to keep yourself healthy while you're away and to meet some great locals!
By the end of my trip, Copenhagen became like a second home.
Perhaps the worst bit of my trip was saying goodbye to so many people and the beautiful city.
I'm already planning my return trip to Europe to see everyone again and to experience the world for what it really is: amazing.

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