Sam recently returned from his year abroad in Copenhagen, and proffers some excellent advice for anyone considering the Danish capital as a study abroad location.
With four campuses spread across the city, the University of Copenhagen differs somewhat from the cosy nature of life in the Leeds student bubble. In academic terms you can expect the same standard of teaching that we’re accustomed to in the UK and, importantly, all teaching for international students is performed in English. Exchange students are free to choose their own modules, although this choice is not as extensive as in Leeds. Course titles available to History students last year included ‘History of the European Union’, ‘Modern European Tourism’, ‘Neoliberalism’ and ‘Ordinary Germans and National Socialism, 1919-1945’, but these are likely to change from one year to the next. The university also offers a range of Danish Culture Courses, in order to learn more about the country in which you’re staying. Expect a similar amount of contact hours to Leeds, at around six to eight per week. Owing to the fact that most History courses taught in English are at Masters level, assignments focus on primary source material, which will prove valuable upon return to Leeds.
Finding accommodation can be very tricky, although I was fortunate in securing an affordable room in student halls with a high concentration of international students. Others weren’t so lucky, but despite these difficulties I knew no one who regretted their decision to move to Denmark’s capital. A housing foundation affiliated with the university offers international students some assistance, but the situation is far from ideal and should definitely be taken into consideration before choosing to study here. This complication can partly be attributed to a more positive aspect of Copenhagen life: the size of the vibrant international student community, with particularly strong links across Europe and North America.
The cost of living in Copenhagen is high compared to Leeds, but should not be a deterrent to studying in the city. Rent can be expensive, but be sure to consider any extra Erasmus funding available for those studying in Europe. There are cheap places to shop and go out if you look hard enough, and participating in the city’s cycling culture will drastically cut down the expense of public transport.
Geographically, the city is in a perfect location for European travel. Copenhagen is served by an airport running budget routes within Scandinavia and further afield, while trains run across Europe. It would also be a mistake to neglect further travel within Denmark, from the pretty second city of Aarhus to the childish nostalgia of Legoland. For return trips to the UK, RyanAir offers inexpensive flights to London Luton.
Every study abroad experience has its niggles but, for me, moving to Denmark was about as stress-free as possible. The university is well organised, it’s a short flight from the UK and I never came across a Dane without flawless English. Studying in Copenhagen is an easy decision to make and one that I would highly recommend.