Period on Exchange: Semester 1, 2013

What courses did you study?

  • International Human Rights Law
  • International Sports Law
  • World Trade Organisation Law

Why did you choose that university?

I always wanted to do an exchange to Europe, and having only law electives remaining in my degree limited the number of universities available to me. I spent many an hour analysing the options for exchange. However, having heard great things about Denmark and The University of Copenhagen specifically from friends who had done exchange there, it was a nobrainer.

How does studying law overseas compare to studying at UNSW?

It can be difficult to compare because when you are studying in a non-English speaking country, the courses they offer in English are different to what the locals study. I found studying international law fascinating and far more interesting than studying law locally. The approach to learning was more casual and less demanding without compromising on content. Classes were flavoured with students from all corners of the globe and hearing the opinions of people from other countries was unique and insightful.

What was the cost of living compared to Australia?

Copenhagen is less expensive than Sydney but it is certainly not a cheap place to live. The bare necessities such as beer and milk are considerably cheaper, but others such as meat are not. Organic food is quite readily available and reasonably priced. Public transport is about the same as here but is much more efficient and accessible. Buying a bike is a $50-200 investment that returns huge yields as opposed to having to buy the $2.20/L petrol or public transport tickets, so long as you don’t have your bike stolen!

What was your accommodation arrangement?

I was housed in a student dorm with a mix of international students and local Danish people. I had a private room with some shared common rooms. It was a 15 minute bike ride to the city centre; similar times on public transport. Accommodation via student housing varies from shared apartments to dorms and private apartments, and can set you back between $150-220 per week.

What were the highlights of your experience?

Living in a foreign country is always going to be enjoyable and insightful. Copenhagen is a cosmopolitan city with many events on despite its comparatively small size and I enjoyed riding my bike around the city to explore the hidden gems and travel off the beaten (or paved) path. Being able to travel to any European city within a 3 hour plane ride was surreal, and spending every other weekend in a different country was amazing. The University of Copenhagen has over 2000 students on exchange every semester so there was many people to meet from all over the world. The locals were also very friendly and forging true friendships with these people was the biggest highlight to take from this experience.

What were the main challenges you faced, if any?

Arriving in the middle of Scandinavian winter was a bit of a shock for someone used to the year-round vitamin D rich weather of Australia. It seems that the native fauna appears to hibernate during this time and this makes it more difficult to meet locals. Shopping can be difficult if you don’t know any of the local language because it is all in a foreign language, although a month of Danish language lessons assisted greatly with that. Although I was quite lucky with my accommodation situation, other friends experienced difficulties with unsociable or unhygienic roommates which led to many undesirable situations.