Erasmus in Copenhagen

Copenhagen (Photo by Richard Hartner)

According to “The Economist”, Copenhagen is one of the most liveable cities in the world. Thanks to the “Erasmus+” program, I was able to test it intensely and I can absolutely agree. To me it was a big wish to explore the Scandinavian countries and the Nordic Education Model. The semester abroad gave me the opportunity to dive into the Danish culture and the typical Nordic way of life.

Copenhagen is a wonderful place to live. It’s a city full of history, art and modern lifestyle. Beautiful old architecture surrounded me every day and I got to know the open-minded, new way of design, including many social networking places in public space. The city has a lot to offer! Especially in summer there was one event after another.

Every day there is a huge range of leisure activities, and a lot of them are free of charge. Copenhagen is known as an expensive city, but luckily there are plenty of opportunities for students to live on a budget. Sometimes you get a discount at coffees close to the university if you show your student card. Check out Facebook, there you can find free events which are pretty unique sometimes. And in summer you can take a picnic in one of the parks or you can buy something to drink and sit wherever you like. It’s common to save money in a way like that. Be prepared, almost everywhere in Denmark you need a credit card. Actually I only needed cash for buying a bike. Paying cash received the mark “old-fashioned”. Even at the street food markets or the Christmas market you can find a sign where it says “no cash”. Note, that paying with Maestro-Card would get pretty expensive.

I´ve studied at KP (Københavns Professionshøjskole, former UCC). The university college is a huge and modern building in the new Carlsberg City District, located next to a train station and not far away from the centre. The building is filled with modern technology in the classrooms, great equipment and many offers for the students. For example you can find a climbing wall, well-equipped music rooms, a future lab, many comfortable places for groupwork, a big canteen with delicious food and the Studiecafeen Humlen inside, and a basketball court at the rooftop of the building. As a student you have access to most of the rooms 24 hours every day!

I visited the 30 ECTS fulltime course “Childhood in a Nordic perspective – a Danish setting” where we´ve learned about the Nordic tradition of play, movement and outdoor education in the work with children aged 0 to 12. The focus was set on play, learning by doing as well as experience and experiential knowledge, both daily theoretically and practically. The dialogue-based learning environment, the critical reflections on theories and practices and also working in groups were the framework of each lesson. We had a five-day long study trip to Norway where the focus was set on the Nordic way of exploring and appreciating nature “friluftsliv”, and the competencies to act, move and live in nature. During the semester we had an internship in a kindergarten, and we visited different kinds of pedagogical institutions like day cares, schools, nature centers, playgrounds, etc.

The university offered me a room in a dorm. I lived in a small house together with nine UCC study colleagues from Japan, Norway, Scotland, Spain and Switzerland. We shared the kitchen and the dining room, and it worked quite well. Next to the dorm there was a beautiful park with a big lake and also the sea was not that far away so we had our living room outside the house. It took 30 minutes by bike or 40 minutes with the S-train to the university college or the city centre. The fastest, most comfortable and also cheapest way to go is by bike. To rent a bike there are special offers for students like at “Copenhagen bicycles”. I bought a used one and could sell it at almost the same price again at the end of the semester. Be sure to get a bike as soon as possible, because the whole beautiful city and the surrounding areas are full of bike paths and cycling belongs to the real København-feeling.

Try to get the most out of your free time during the semester abroad. You might automatically fall into the “yes” mood, because unfortunately time is limited. The flights and bus trips to other great European cities are very cheap from Copenhagen. But you can also find really beautiful day trip destinations only one hour by bike or by train in any direction like Roskilde, Helsingør, Malmö or Lund.

All in all I´m incredibly happy to have had the chance to study abroad for a semester. I´ve met many great people from nearly all over the world and I´ve learned a lot about myself and for my future job as a teacher. Many thanks to all who made it possible!

Information about an Erasmus+ semester at the University College of Copenhagen / Københavns Professionshøjskole, KP: https://ucc.dk/international

Study in Denmark: https://studyindenmark.dk

Welcome to Denmark – UCC information folder for students: https://ucc.dk/sites/default/files/welcome_to_denmark_0.pdf

Rent a bike https://copenhagenbicycles.dk/student/

Become a volunteer https://cphvolunteers.kk.dk

Get a lot of information https://ihcph.kk.dk

Find out what to discover https://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen-tourist

Author: Richard Hartner.

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