Everything you need to know about Studying in Copenhagen
Why were you there?
I studied anthropology abroad for a year at the University of Copenhagen. Since it was study-based, my allocation was decided by the year abroad staff at my domestic university.
The application process included a short statement as to why I had chosen the Copenhagen, and to give two or three examples of modules I planned to take and why I wanted to take them at this specific university. During my second year of university (before my year abroad) I was enrolled on a year abroad online programme which laid out all the documents, finances, educational information etc that I would need to have completed beforehand. The university schedule and assessment was very different to what I was used to. Instead of the typical 2-hour lecture, 1-hour tutorial and essays/exams assessment I had in London, Copenhagen University had 3-hour sessions which included a lecture and discussion and all my assessment was though portfolios – which was essentially a collection of essays and research projects to be completed throughout the semester and handed in at the end. Luckily most Danes speak very good English, and my courses were all English spoken. Copenhagen University did offer all it’s exchange students a three-week Danish language introduction before the term started.
What would you recommend to other students?
My university gave us a choice of three locations but in most cases it was important not to have your heart set on one particular place. Stay open minded and you’ll enjoy wherever you end up!
Where did you live?
Accomodation was a rather difficult process. I chose to live in halls which the Housing Foundation provided. There were a lot of options, some independent studio flats, some small bedrooms with shared kitchens. Accommodation was all throughout the city and in varying conditions. The process to book a room in a halls was when it got difficult. On the day the site was open to bookings, I was put on a queue and by the time I was able to select an option, there was only one accommodation left – Rebslagervej- which happened to be the most expensive – and I would say overpriced.
There is some controversy about this place. While I loved the design of the building, the studio space and it’s location in Nørrebro, due to the design of individual studios and the maturer student demographic, it was isolating at times and little effort was made socially.
What would you recommend to other students?
I made the decision to go with Rebslagervej because I wanted to ensure I had a safe place to stay before I arrived. Many people I knew weren’t able to secure a spot through the housing foundation so when they arrived in Copenhagen they did not have a permanent place to stay but rather than having to move from place to place throughout the year. I would recommend to keep your options open, you don’t have to cave in and rent an over-priced apartment out of concern for security like I did, but try to find a place before you arrive otherwise it gets very complicated.
Anything to watch out for?
Spots do open up at the housing foundation throughout the semesters. Many other international students are only in Copenhagen for one semester so you can grab their spots if you are unhappy with what you got in the first semester. There are also plenty of international student Facebook groups you can join who advertise spare rooms in flats across the city.
I used this website a lot. I loved how it breaks the city down into areas and into different things to see and do. The Danes love a good drink and there is a wide variety of options – from lowkey pubs to bars, clubs and cocktail bars. There is nightlife to suit all kinds of people – for dancy-type bars entry is usually free but for more hardcore club nights you’ll need to pre-order tickets. It’s hard to find cheap student prices but a must-go place for a guaranteed good time without spending too much would be the Jazz Bar in Christiania – and any bar in Christiania in general. I became a regular at their Sunday nights and brought all my visitors there. Such a friendly atmosphere and live music until early hours. Beers were only 20kr (about £2.50).
It’s difficult to find anything cheap in Copenhagen – and that’s saying something being a student from London! But I did learn some tricks. At some bars if you order a vodka maté (vodka mixed with a south american caffeine drink) they give you the bottle of maté, you drink some and they fill the rest of the bottle with vodka – so you are in control of the ratios! Also if you’re looking for cheap drinks, stick to local pubs – one of my favourites was Karrusellen off of Nørrebrogade. Then once you’re liquored up you can move on to the centre or places like the meatpacking district for a more party, trendy, youthful atmosphere.
Smoking is allowed indoors at many pubs and some bars so by the end of the night you’re clothes/hair might smell!