Oh Denmark. Where do I even begin…
As I sit on the plane making my (long) journey home to Australia, I can’t help but think how incredible the last five weeks have been. Over July and into August 2017, I was lucky enough to go on exchange to the beautiful city of Aarhus (pronounced or-hus), attending the Aarhus University Summer University, to study Sports Marketing and Sponsorship.
Prior to my departure I was a ball of nerves. I had no idea what to expect! Would I make friends? Would I like my course? Would I like Denmark? The questions were never ending, but boy oh boy am I glad that I pushed myself to go on the adventure of a life time. My five weeks in Denmark surpassed any and all expectations that I had before leaving Australia.
Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark and is located on the island of Jutland. To put it frankly, the city is extremely welcoming, homey, lively and beautiful. The cobblestone streets are lined with coloured houses of all hues and trust me when I say, you’ll end up with around 2000 images on your camera of houses by the end of your time there! But honestly, they are beautiful and nothing like you’ll see in Brisbane. With such charm and positive energy, I really couldn’t get over the city.
And the city even has a Deer Park where wild deer live and you can go and feed them carrots – I highly recommend!
During my time in Aarhus, I stayed in student accommodation that looked out over Aarhus harbour – I mean, how lucky was I?! It was a two bedroom modern apartment, that was about a 30 minute walk to my class and a 20 minute walk to the city centre. It was fantastic! Before going to Aarhus, I was expecting that I would catch the bus every day, but how wrong was I! I joined in with all others living in Denmark and walked everywhere! Whether that was to class or on a one and a half hour trek to the nearest ‘beach’. That is something I found so amazing about the Danes; they walk and bike everywhere! No one relies on a car or a bus, and just uses their body to get anywhere. So in the end I was walking about 14km every day and I loved it. Let’s hope I can take some inspiration from the Danes and integrate it into my daily life back in Brisbane.
Now, the university. Wow. What a month it was. So, as I said before, I studied Sports Marketing and Sponsorship. As a massive sports (tennis) fan, this was right up my street and something I’ve always been interested in studying. The course ran every day from 9am-1pm and was taught by San Diego Professor, Vassilis Dalakas. He was fantastic. Class was always interesting as it was taught in a way that was incredibly engaging and ultimately, just fun! The summer university in Aarhus attracts amazing professors from all over the world, who put their hands up to teach and live in Aarhus for a month. It was such an eye-opening class, as I learnt about the ins and outs of sport marketing and sponsorship. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a sports game the same again! But on top of that, I learnt valuable insights into marketing in general. It has truly inspired me to delve into the industry of sports marketing. Oh and because class finishes at 1pm and the sun in Denmark in summer doesn’t set until 11pm at night, you’ve got plenty of spare time to explore the area every day after class.
The summer university was so well run, with a program of activities that you could sign up prior to arriving in Aarhus. I took part in a total of nine activates and I am so glad that I did. Through the activities and my course, I was able to meet people from all over the world. From Finland, to the United States, to the Netherlands, to Italy and the locals from Denmark. I know I have made friends for life with people across the globe.
To anyone considering a summer exchange I couldn’t recommend it enough, especially to Aarhus. The Danes are some of the most genuine and friendly people I have ever met, Aarhus University is amazing and the city of Aarhus is just beautiful. You’ll be wanting to visit again as soon as you leave…I know I sure do!