By Claire Kumesu-Egri
Hey guys!I spent my exchange at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, and it was honestly such an amazing 5 months. I’ll be sharing my experiences in a short but sweet Top 10 Tips!
Before you make your choice of destination, look at the courses available!
The main reason I choose Aarhus was because of the courses on offer – they really do offer a wide breadth that satisfies all the scholarly tastes out there. I took Drafting Commercial Contracts, Law of the EU Internal Market, and EU Company Law. The teaching was really good, with super professors, and I would say the workload was similar (or just a little bit more) that that at RUG. Oh, and remember that only LLM level courses are available at AU, so that may factor into your experience!
Something completely new to me was the concept of an oral exam. Two of my exams were oral exams, and I have to admit that I was a little nervous. They typically last around 15 minutes and then you get your grade immediately – as in, you leave the room for 5 minutes and then return to get your grade. If you want to do well, then make sure you study and then speak confidently, they really aren’t too bad!
The Campus Experience.
I was excited to have a campus experience, and AU definitely didn’t disappoint! AU is set on a sprawling green campus – it’s huge – where you can find everything from canteens, to the International Office, to all your classes. I definitely got lost during my first few days, but once you know your way around, it was super easy. You’re definitely spoiled for choice for study areas, with libraries (yes, plural) and university buildings open 24/7, which all have the best amenities and offer spots for individual and group study.
Housing, Housing, Housing!
To say that finding housing in Aarhus is difficult would be an understatement. I recommend that you get ahead of the game and start scouting early! The university isn’t too helpful with this, and offer LIMITED university housing, so the private market is the option left. I managed to totally luck-out and found an amazing place a little outside of town, with the major perk of living right on the bay. I wouldn’t worry about not being directly in town as the public transport is honestly amazing and runs almost 24/7.
Did Someone Say Cinnamon Rolls?
Denmark is known for its cinnamon rolls, and bakeries in general, and I promise I do not lie when I say that they are the best cinnamon rolls I ever tasted! Aarhus offers pretty good food, with LOTS of choices for even the pickiest of palates. A definite highlight on the food scene is the Aarhus Street Food: offering more than 30 different street kitchens and bars, with food from around the world, it really is such a good place to hang out and eat!
This place became one of my favourite hang-out/study spots in the whole city. It’s useful to know where it is, since you may have to visit it for lots of administrative/registration things once you arrive. Apart from being a municipal building, it is also a public library and cultural centre. One of the coolest spaces in Aarhus, Dokk1 is really a gem that I wish we had an equivalent of in Groningen. I definitely recommend a visit, either to chill or study!
Something to keep in mind is that Denmark has a very high standard of living, and everything is more expensive, especially compared to costs in Groningen. If you are cost conscious, then Denmark probably should be further down your list. I think the exchange rate is 1EUR = 7DKK, divide all prices by 7 to get the Euro equivalent. Public transport (buses and trams) are not priced too expensive, so getting around with them isn’t bad at all. What you have to watch out for are train prices: a return ticket around Denmark can cost up to 100EUR, so watch out! Oh, and remember that if you pay by card, you’ll probably also be subject to bank charges for the conversion fee for every transaction, so it definitely is something to think about before living your best Viking life.
No matter what kind of student you are, Aarhus has something to offer. If you want to immerse yourself in arts and culture, there are plenty of museums and galleries to visit – a definite must is ARoS, I promise you won’t regret it. If you’d rather sit down for a coffee and experience hygge, you have your pick of more cafés than you’ll have time to visit; an extra perk is that most cafés have board games that you can play while you enjoy your cinnamon roll. If you prefer to come out after dark, then you are really spoilt for choice with many, many, many, clubs, bars and pubs.
Pack Something Waterproof – You Won’t Regret It.
Weather in Aarhus is very similar to Groningen, meaning that it rains often, and it rains hard. Really, you’ll be doing yourself a favour by remembering to bring either an umbrella or a raincoat.
Hav Det Sjovt!
Aarhus is really a cool city, with lots to explore, and the Danes are super nice, friendly and willing to help. As cliché as it sounds, your exchange is really what you make it to be. Let loose, have fun, (pass those exams), try something different, I’m sure you won’t regret it!