My name is Michel, I’m studying Multimedia Production and I was the lucky chosen one to spend my semester abroad in the capital of Denmark. First of all, despite the Corona pandemic, it was one of the best decisions of my life to take on this adventure!
Even before the exchange, Copenhagen was the city I always wanted to be in longer than just for an extended weekend. The urban city is relaxed, friendly and alternative, but can also be wild and loud. What I really like is the open and respectful way people treat each other. Denmark is a country where people trust one another a lot. It is often said that the Danes are very reserved, and this may be true to a certain extent, but if you keep at it, they are definitely anything but reserved. Knowing a little Danish really helps, because who doesn’t like it when someone tries to learn the national language, which is not really widespread outside of Denmark.
KEA – Copenhagen School of Design and Technology
As a Multimedia Production student, I attended the Multimedia Design course. In addition, I was able to choose between the electives "Digital Marketing & Content" and "Frontend Design". Although the frontend development interests me a bit more,
I took the other elective. This is also because the first elective is recommended for exchange students and they have already done more programming in the first year than at our University of Applied Sciences.
The timetable here is much more relaxed than in Bern or Chur. Normally, you have half a day of classes and the entire Wednesday off. However, you are expected to work on projects on your own initiative during your free time. Nevertheless, you still have enough free time to explore the city and you generally feel more productive. There are only a few events that require mandatory attendance. During the semester, group projects are submitted and presented for evaluation. The final exam consists of a short individual presentation and questions about the last project.
Copenhagen is an expensive place, especially when it comes to housing. I’m used to our high Swiss prices, but when you’re abroad you naturally want to see and do even more. In general, however, the price ratio compares very well with Switzerland.
To not lose contact with other exchange students during a possible second corona lockdown, I chose a room in the KEA housing. Each flat consists of three to four students, mostly from the exchange programme, whereby they are well mixed and do not attend the same course of study. It’s great that each flat has a washing machine, dryer and dishwasher. The location is above Nørrebro (the coolest part of Copenhagen in my opinion) and just a few minutes away from KEA’s Lygten campus. Perfect for people who are always short of time, like me.
Living in Copenhagen
If you love the north of Europe, you will quickly feel at home in Copenhagen. The good work-life balance is noticeable, people generally seem happier and take things as they are instead of getting unnecessarily upset about them. I forgot about Switzerland after just a few days and didn’t really miss it until the end.
In Copenhagen, you can’t do anything without your own bike. The people here can be justifiably proud of one of the best bicycle networks in the world. I bought my first one second-hand bike from the Bikebuddies - yes, the first one, that’s right. It was stolen after a few months (like all the bikes that were parked there). So I borrowed one from Swapfiets for the rest of the time, which would have been a good option from the beginning. The monthly rental fee includes repair costs and even if the bike is stolen, you get a new one for an additional fee.
During Corona times
Compared to other countries, Denmark had rather few restrictions on everyday life during the autumn semester of 2020. The cafés, bars and restaurants were forced to close at 22:00, but this simply shifted the whole day back a bit and people met earlier. Denmark had the pandemic relatively well under control for a long time, the numbers were low and people complied with the regulations without complaining.
It was a great pity that the apparently legendary moon bar in campus Lygten never opened. I think exactly such places are important for the exchange between local and exchange students. So I moved around almost only with my friends of other Erasmus students who also resided in KEA housing.
From December onwards, the situation in Copenhagen and Denmark changed abruptly. While half of Europe was already stuck in the second lockdown, Denmark could no longer accept the exploding numbers and closed all leisure facilities and restaurants overnight, except for takeaways.
What an adventure!
I don’t regret for a second that I decided to do an exchange semester in Copenhagen. It was very enriching from the beginning and I would have loved to stay longer. I made new friends, can look back on an incredible time and will be connected to this city for the rest of my life. And who knows, maybe one day there will even be the opportunity to work here.
If you still have doubts about applying for an exchange semester or if you would like to know more about the school or life in Copenhagen, I am happy to answer all your questions.