Madeline W., Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Media and Communication
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark (Semester 2, 2018)
My name is Maddy and I recently completed a semester abroad at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in Denmark.
Copenhagen Business School
CBS offers an extremely good Exchange Program. The semester starts off with a two week introductory program offering a wide range of different activities to get you to know the city and other exchange students including Danish classes, boat rides on the canals, bowling, buddy dinners, walking tours and much more! Throughout the semester the CBS Exchange Team offers different attraction discounts and group travel opportunities that you can join as well. I would definitely recommend partaking in the Denmark tour, as this is a great way to see the country outside of the capital city.
Rather than having one or two campuses like QUT and other universities in Australia, in Denmark universities have singular buildings plotted all over the city. They are all situated close to each other and to the accommodation offered, but it is definitely sensible to hire or buy a bike. Plus every Thursday evening in the semester, CBS would shut down the main campus building and bring in a DJ to turn the block into a massive university nightclub!
The academics at CBS compared to QUT are quite different. In Copenhagen, subjects can either be delivered in intensive mode, only lasting for half a semester, or be spread out to cover the whole semester. Exams are all 4 hours long no matter what subject, but you get to take in all the food and drinks you want in order to keep your brain going. Also, each unit usually only consists of one piece of assessment worth 100% of your grade! So you can either think of this as stressful, or from my point of view as an exchange student, a great opportunity to really explore and get to know Denmark before worrying about studying!
Living in Denmark
The cost of living in Denmark is one of the highest globally. To help out exchange students, CBS offers eight student accommodation facilities most located in the suburb of Frederiksberg. I would definitely suggest trying to get into one of these buildings, as they can be cheaper than renting on your own. Plus I found it as the best way to make friends through having communal dinners and movie nights to really embrace what the Danish call “hygge” – meaning cozy contentment.
And you might be thinking – but they speak Danish? Majority of classes are taught in English and you will hardly ever meet a person in Denmark that is not as fluent in English as you are.
Prior to exchange I really disliked the idea of cycling, but once arriving in Copenhagen I soon learnt owning a bike is essential. Copenhagen has been consistently ranked alongside Amsterdam as the most bike friendly cities in the world. The city is extremely flat making the ride quite bearable, and with the bike lanes located in between the parking spots and the pedestrian footpaths, it is very safe. Plus given the rent is so high, this is a way to save your kroners (Danish money) by not constantly buying public transport tickets!
One of the highlights of my exchange was the freedom and ability to travel so easily before and after the semester and between my classes. By the end of my trip I totalled 65 European cities spanning 22 different countries! However the best thing about exchange was simply the ability to live in a different city for an extended period of time, to really get to know it as your second home. Despite the often dreary weather, I certainly got to learn why Danish people are consistently ranked happiest in the world, and why Lonely Planet ranked Copenhagen as the “Best in Travel 2019”.
My advice to future students considering going on exchange is just do it. Thinking about being away from your friends and family for a 6-month or 12-month period may seem like a mental and emotional challenge, however, I can assure you it will be one of the best life decisions you ever make. Exchange is a very different experience to just travelling, as you can gain a rich not just surface level understanding of another culture through meeting the native people, engaging in their traditions and exploring corners of the city unknown to tourists.