“Enriching lives, opening minds”. In reflecting on my semester abroad, no phrase better sums it up than that of the Erasmus+ programme. My name is Eddie and for five months, from September 2022 through to January 2023, I was fortunate to study abroad at the University of Copenhagen (KU) in Denmark. As a graduate this year of Politics and International Relations, I was provided with the option of studying politics in Copenhagen, one that I am immensely grateful to have taken. Whilst no day was the same being abroad, I hope this blog post will give an insight into an average day in Copenhagen, encompassing daily activities alongside exciting unique opportunities. 

My days would begin in my accommodation, in the south of the city. Here I stayed in a studio apartment that was part of a larger complex incorporating shared kitchens on each floor, a communal gym, cinema room and kitchen that could be hired out for parties. I was very lucky to get this accommodation; its’ location and facilities were such an advantage for me! Similarly, I was surrounded by other international students, who like me were studying abroad. This provided a great opportunity to make friends, being able to spend quality time in the shared facilities or on the decking we shared being on the ground floor! 

(L-R) My studio apartment on the ground floor, chilling with friends in the kitchen, the view from my window after snow in December!

My campus was about a 15-minute cycle ride or 20-minute metro ride from where I lived. Social Sciences is based at the City Centre campus, known as CSS (Danish for the Centre for Health and Society). A huge old building, CSS formerly served as Copenhagen’s Municipal Hospital, so each floor is very similar and at times I did get lost in the building! Nonetheless, it is still a beautiful place to study in, with quite a few study rooms and its own library nearby.

(L-R) Me stood outside the entrance to CSS, all the bikes parked outside on a typical weekday, in the distance to the right is the Social Sciences library.

As well as that, my accommodation was conveniently located opposite KU’s South Campus. This sprawling campus has a huge collection of buildings, cafes and accommodation. Whilst I did not have classes here, I would regularly meet up with friends who did, for lunch in one of the canteens, or to study in the various study spaces or the central library. It was so easy to get to and such a great space!

Various locations at the South Campus in the snow (L-R) The South Campus library located on the right of the photo, the mound in the centre is bike storage, you can park your bike underneath and walk around on top. The building on the left of the second photo is the Law Faculty, between those two buildings is the metro station.

Usually classes would begin at 8:00am! This was a huge culture shock for me, being used to having my earliest classes start at 9:00am in Southampton, but it was a new experience which I didn’t mind. Classes would usually last between 2-4 hours. This was another difference to studying at UoS: rather than having two or three lectures of one subject on different days, the University of Copenhagen would have one subject’s lecture lasting 2-4 hours on a single day. It meant on Friday mornings I would have the module, Jean Monnet: Politics of the European Union, from 8:00am to 12:00pm! There were breaks in between each hour, but it was very different to Southampton. This doesn’t mean it was a bad thing! I surprisingly enjoyed getting up early, cycling through the city with other commuters and then being finished with classes at midday, leaving my Friday afternoons open to spend time with friends! Aside from the EU module, I took two other classes in Comparative Public Policy & The Politics of Southeast-Asia, both really interesting!

After classes, both campuses had huge canteens operating on a buffet-style system. This was a really cool experience to be a part of, being able to sample authentic Danish food, for an affordable student price! I love food, and having the menus change each day made it so good!

Having classes in the morning meant that most of the time my afternoons would be free. This time would be spent either studying or catching up with friends. It was a great opportunity to be able to find new cafes to study in together, or visit the Royal Danish Library in the centre of Copenhagen, which had huge reading rooms you could study in. Alternatively, on Fridays you could attend Friday Bars at each campus! These are student run bars where you could unwind with your friends in the afternoon over a beer or two, they were great fun, with each faculty or campus running a different bar.

(L-R) This is the old reading room at the library, during the winter it was a comfortable place to study with all the little green lights. This is Copenhagens oldest bakery, Sankt Peters Bageri, founded in 1652. It makes amazing cinnamon rolls! Sadly whilst I was abroad I had to begin sections of my dissertation, this BeReal was taken inside one of the Royal Danish Library’s Study Rooms.

In the evenings I would either have friends over for dinner, or go to one of Copenhagen’s many pubs & bars. Whilst I was abroad the FIFA Men’s World Cup took place, this created a lot of friendly rivalries between my friends as their countries played England or each other! In the evenings we would go to pubs to watch the matches, the atmosphere being amazing and tense at times. Towards Christmas time Copenhagen became more festive, with Christmas markets and lights springing up across the city. In addition to this, an ice rink was created not far from my accommodation. Whilst I am a dreadful skater, this was a fun activity to do in the evenings, and by the end I had finally got the basics of it!

(L-R) The Ice Skating rink, located by the harbour. The historic area known as Nyhavn with both Christmas lights and markets. A carbonara dish at the pasta restaurant Fabro, the menu consisting of just three pasta dishes!

(L-R) Two bars in Copenhagen, being there during the FIFA Men’s World Cup was a great opportunity to explore various pubs & bars.

Other things to note briefly, the University ran an International Group where international students would be assigned a mentor from the University of Copenhagen. Having someone who knew KU and the city well made the whole experience a lot better! As well as that, they would regularly run events and tours for all the politics international students such as visiting the parliament buildings, hosting talks by professors on the Danish general election (which happened whilst I was there!) and running pub crawls too. Furthermore, being central in northern Europe provided ample opportunity to travel. During a reading week I travelled to both Stockholm and Helsinki spending time in each city, even despite the cold weather!

(In clockwise from the top left- Looking over central Stockholm, Helsinki Cathedral, the outdoor food market Reffen during a visit organised by the Politics International Group, the Danish Parliament chamber on a visit organised by the International Group.)

I absolutely loved my semester abroad. Whilst the beginning was incredibly daunting, moving somewhere new without knowing anyone or speaking the language, I am so glad that I did it and I don’t regret a thing. My advice to you if you are considering it is go for it! It may seem like a scary prospect at first, but get involved in anything and everything you can, no day is the same and the experiences you gain are incredible. My semester abroad was among the highlights of my time at University, and these experiences will stick with me for a lifetime. If you are considering doing one I cannot recommend it enough! I loved mine and am so pleased I got the opportunity to share my experiences with you.

A Semester In Copenhagen

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