Erfahrungsbericht Erasmus+: Kopenhagen

Foto: Philipp Joham

Hi my name is Philipp Joham and I’m studying primary school education at my home university in Graz, Austria. For the course of my 5th semester I spent one semester abroad in Copenhagen and studies at the University College Copenhagen.

First I want to tell you about the university and the courses I have attendant. The university is located relatively central. There is a S-Train station right in front of it and you can easily reach it via bike. The campus itself if gigantic! You have a cafeteria where you can get a cheap and delicious meal, it has learning spaces, where you and your peers can work on projects together or just relax, all the professors have been very kind and friendly and the working atmosphere is quite different compared to Austria. One of the coolest thing was “Hummlen” the campus bar, where every Friday, the “Friday bars” take place. Many students get together and play games and drink. It is a big social thing all across Denmark and you can’t miss that out! . The university always offered us free trips to different land marks. We had a boat tour, a city tour and many more things. I would recommend you to attend as much trips as possible, as this is a good opportunity to get in touch with you fellow colleges you might not have courses with.

The courses vary from semester to semester and are all each credited with 10 ECTS.

The courses I attended were “Musical expression in Teaching and Learning”. I recommend this course to everyone, as you don’t have to have a big knowledge of music, play instruments or be a good singer. In this course you learn how you can integrate music in the day to day school life, different methods in theory and practice and the beneficial outcome it has on students. I really enjoyed this class, as our teachers were very professional in their teaching and I learned a lot from them. They were very helpful and tried that everyone has a pleasant experience. We had drum workshops, dancing lessons, presentations, song teaching etc. The work load mostly consisted of creative processes like digital music production, performing a dance or composing your own song (which was the final presentation and they were very open about the construction). I also highly recommend to join the choir, even if you are not a singing talent. There you have the opportunity to sing together with fellow international but also Danish students. Usually we all went out for drinks afterwards and we always had a blast practicing and performing together.

The next course I attendant was „Deutsch als Fremdsprache: Interkulturelle Kommunikation“. I highly recommend this course to everyone who is able to speak German. In our course we had 6 native German speaking students, the rest were all Danish students becoming German teachers. This has turned out to be such a cool experience, as we were the native speakers for them. As we had a lot of group work during and after the class you really got to know your fellow class mates and this is one of the rare opportunity to connect with Danish students. I’m still in contact with a lot of them and we are all planning on visiting each other. The course itself was very interesting as you learn about German history, intercultural competences and many methods on how you can teach children a foreign language. Best part was our 3 day excursion to Berlin!

Lastly I also attended the “International Practicum”. Here you teach different subjects to Danish students in the schools. You can choose the subjects you want to teach as you have to write the university a motivation letter before, stating what you’d feel comfortable teaching. Unfortunately there were a bit of mix ups when they assigned us to the different schools. So sometimes it was the case that primary school teachers had to teach in secondary school and the other way around. However the teachers were all very flexible and understandable and had our own interests in mind. In the practicum you actually have to prepare and teach lessons. Observing takes only place at the beginning, but don’t worry most of us had to teach English, sports, music or arts and crafts and always with the teacher with us in case something happens. I highly recommend you to learn some Danish before or during your stay there. Although the children are able to speak English, everyone is very impressed when you can speak some Danish and it makes understanding much easier. The university offers a free Danish course that I recommend everyone, but disclaimer Danish is very hard to pronounce, it is not impossible but we had many people from Asia who struggled a lot. One thing to add to the practicum: It is mandatory that you are there 30 full days. We went there 2x a week starting in September, but we never made the 30 days it was also impossible in that short period of time. The teachers in the schools know it and are fine if you don’t come every time.

Now on to accommodation. I stayed at a student dorm called “Haandvaerkers skole hjem” which was located north of Copenhagen. The S-Train station was 4 minutes aways and it took us about 20 minutes by bike to go to the city center. The rooms of the student home were nice, we all had our own bathroom and a shared kitchen, which was small but efficient. Here you have different houses, each one with rooms and shared kitchen. You live together with 12-13 people. It was always pleasant as we were all mostly students from KP. We got the accommodation through the university in Copenhagen as they have a housing program where you can register and they make you a offer. They give you one offer either you accept or decline but there won’t be a second one. Now there are many students homes you can go to. Some stayed at “The Mark” which is located West of Copenhagen or “Base Camp” located in the city center. Housing in general is very expensive in Copenhagen. We for example paid 650 € a month which was a fair deal in my opinion. Prepare that you will be paying around 600-1000 € a month for a room. You can contact student homes yourself or you can look for accommodation on various Facebook groups. If you are planning on living in a shared flat it is very hard to get one as there is a competitive market and Danish people are more preferred but it is not impossible. Some also stayed at host families.

Life in Copenhagen is fantastic. It is a modern and vibrant city with lots to explore. The city offers a lot of museums, bars, restaurants, nature and leisure activities. My tips: Get a year pass for Tivoli. This is the amusement park which changes program and decoration each season and for one entry it is very expensive but we went there quite often. In summer they often have free music acts and visitors always loved going there. Go to Amaager Beach, which is the main beach in Copenhagen. It is a great opportunity to escape the city hustle and enjoy the sunrise and -set. If you want to eat I would recommend “Mahalle”. This is an orient restaurant chain where you can get delicious food for a fair price. If you study at KP there is a bar relatively close called “Brygge” where we often went out. You can get cheap beer there but be prepared to smell of smoke as it is allowed to smoke inside. If you are a fan of board games go to “Bastard Cafe” It is a game board bar where you can play some games for free and for some you have to pay a small fee. If you like quizzes I would recommend “The social pub” they have quiz night every Wednesday. It is a lot of fun and you pay around 10€ and have one hour of free beer with that. Generally a lot of restaurants and bars are located near the city center. For free sight-seeing I recommend you go to “Christiansborg Palace” the parliament where you can go up to the rooftop for free and you can get a fabulous view of Copenhagen.

All in all I would say that the Erasmus experience has changed me a lot. It was very scary at first, going to a foreign place all on your own. But the people you meet, the experiences you make are all worth it. It was the best experience of my life and everyone who has the chances to go should do it. You’ll not only learn more about the subjects at university, more over you’ll learn more about yourself and you’ll learn so much about life.

Text: Philipp Joham

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