Choosing a university

The city of bikes and canals

Jessica – University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Semester 2, 2019
​Bachelor of Justice

I spent my second semester of 2019 studying Justice in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was a bit challenging selecting subjects that related to my degree. Danish universities do not have criminology or justice units and so my enrolled courses were electives. Still doing my exchange semester in Denmark was very much worth it. Copenhagen streets are lined with neat trees and old buildings that line canals and cobbled streets. Generally, the city is quaint and while the people can appear rude, they are just reserved.

Moving to Denmark

Before leaving for Denmark I joined an ‘Australians in Copenhagen’ Facebook group. It was really helpful I was able to ask questions about VISAs or the weather etc. I actually found my accommodation on this page, a private rental in Christianhavn. I really recommend staying in this area, it is right next to the infamous touristy street of Nyhavn and many of the apartments overlook canals.  It should be noted that accommodation and eating out in Copenhagen is very expensive.

Although Danes do speak perfect English in Copenhagen, it is nice to know the basics of the language. After arriving I participated in a beginner’s Danish language course. It runs for three weeks in the summer starting on the first of August. A large portion of exchange students take part in it so it’s a great way to make friends, I still talk to people from this class.

Things to know

For me, I found one of the biggest differences between Denmark and Australia was the weather and transport. The weather in Denmark is very different from Brisbane. In the summer the sun is shining but it is not warm and in every other season the climate goes from extremes. Danish weather is the most common topic of small talk. It can go from sunny skies to pouring rain in a matter minutes without any warning.

The main transport system is an underground metro line. The tickets are reasonably priced so always purchase the fines are very pricey and they always check. Everything is very central as the city is quite small and so it is very normal to ride bikes everywhere, even in the rain. Getting a bike is a necessity in Copenhagen, it is very cheap and safe as roads are designed around bikers (unlike Australia!). You really miss the ease of riding bikes when returning to Australia.

The personal growth experienced from exchange is very rewarding.

Overall, it’s an amazing opportunity and experience to learn so much about a country while embedded in its culture.

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