By Devora Velinov
Hey guys, I’m gonna share my 4 month venture in the city of Copenhagen. This destination was my first choice and in retrospect I wouldn’t have it any other way.
General Remarks – The University
The University of Copenhagen (KU) is ranked significantly higher than RUG, however I’m sorry to inform you that rankings do not mirror quality as such. Don’t get me wrong, the university was well organized, but then again not better then RUG. KU has several campuses which are located 4-5km from the center. These campuses are new, and equipped with the best technology. Fortunately for me, the law faculty was scattered around several buildings in the very center, and I actually walked to university both for my classes and for my exams. From January 2017 the law faculty has moved in specialized new facilities close to the airport, therefore exchange students from this year and on will be studying in an environment completely different than the one I had, but unfortunately I cannot give much information on it apart from the fact that it has an affordable canteen with food of good quality.
IT Faculty (Below)
The autumn semester at the University of Copenhagen starts at the very beginning of September, however the introduction week might be in the last week of August. At KU exchange students can only take courses on Master (LLM) level. This is one of the reasons the exchange office in Groningen is very selective when it comes to choosing which candidate to nominate. To be honest the workload of the courses I took there, was much less demanding than the workload I’ve already had here in Groningen. In spite of the fact that officially only 1 spot was available, 2 people form the LLB got to go. That’s why you shouldn’t let course difficulty or potential competition discourage you.
I took 3 courses, namely Health and Human Rights, EU Health and Medical Law, Corporate and Social Responsibility, each being 10 ECTS. I had each once a week for 3 hours, with 2 breaks in between. None of the lectures had mandatory attendance, so you could basically only show up on the exam (if you feel like you already know everything they are teaching, I doubt it though). I attended all the classes and still had plenty of free time. The classes were smaller than the ones in Groningen, and therefore their structure was sort of a mixture between lectures and working groups. They were mixed between exchange students and Danish master students, but everything was completely in English. Also, there was no noticeable difference in level of knowledge in spite of the fact that some students were doing their masters and others were still in their bachelors. I purposely chose to take courses with oral exams, and I didn’t regret it. The best part of orals is that you get your grade 5min after your exam, and therefore you can properly prepare for a resit (if needed) or just enjoy your post-exam time without being on the edge about your grade. Keep in mind that exchange students don’t have it easier on the exams, than Danish students. My experience is actually quite the opposite, they gave the highest mark to Danish students with less rigid questioning. They award the highest possible grade and generally high grades often to students who do the work and are confident speakers. I would definitely recommend taking the courses I took if you have an interest in health law or human rights in general.
Law Firm Visit (below)
Denmark has a very high living standard and everything is expensive. If one wants to spend less money on exchange than in Groningen, then this is definitely the last place to choose. The Erasmus grant (270 euros per month) does not cover much, and living here on a student budget is not comfortable. Maybe that is the reason I was given a working permit (20h per week), which I made use of. Minimum wage is 20euros per hour, therefore earning some extra money is possible, but saving it is unlikely. One of the biggest problems was actually that they have their own currency (Danish krone), facilitates loosing track of your spending.
All coins have a heart on them which is kinda cute, but also symbolic because you get a mini heart attack with every coin you spend.
Additionally, paying by card might be subjected to conversion fees. Supermarket prices are quite similar to prices in Albert Heijn, sometimes more expensive. Most of the time I brought food from home, because buying it outside can add to the monthly costs fast. My costs per month (not including rent) were about 500 euros. Biking is as big in Copenhagen as it is in Groningen, but consider that the prices for a 2nd hand bike (60-100 euros) are not the same as the ones in Groningen (30-70 euros). Cook at home for the most part, pre-drink before going out (everyone does that just like in Groningen) and you could even splurge on a restaurant meal or a 15euro cocktail once a month.