So my year in Copenhagen has finally come to an end. I packed up my whole life into two slightly overweight suitcases and made the emotional trek home. Seriously, I was not prepared for how emotional it got. I said goodbye to my friends at the security gate in Copenhagen Airport and did not stop crying until I got to the arrivals at Stansted Airport to the dismay of the businessman sitting next to me on the flight.
The last two weeks of my exchange was an absolute whirlwind. Expect to substitute a lot of sleep in order to spend the last moments with all the amazing people you met over the year. This was exaggerated due to the fact that the Danish summer finally arrived which, apart from long awaited decent weather, resulted in the sun not setting until 11pm and rising at 3am. This really messed with everyone’s body clock.
A lot of time was spent drinking on Svanevej’s rooftop terrace, swimming in Islands Brygge, and/or biking to Papirøen. Unfortunately, exam season was ever present and brought with it the annoying decision between studying or hanging out with friends. However, if you think this decision is hard while studying at Glasgow, it becomes a lot more painful with exchange friends you don’t know when you’ll see again.
Everyone seems to say that the first week of exchange is the hardest. I would like to strongly disagree with this and tell you that your last week will be the worst. I know the thought of moving to a different country knowing no one sounds daunting, but as soon as you arrive at your dorm, you’ll meet people straight away and everyone is in the same boat as you so it’s actually surprisingly easy to make friends. In fact friendships accelerate quickly during exchange. Straight away you have a lot in common with the people around you; I mean you both chose your location for a reason right?
This is what makes the last week the worst. 3 months doesn’t sound like a long time to know someone, but because you spend all your time exploring Europe together, you get to know people really well. There’s people I’ve been friends with for a number of years whom I don’t feel as close to as the friends I made here. During your last week, people will start to leave at an increasing rate. You’ll be saying goodbye to multiple people every day until it’s your turn to leave, and then you have to say goodbye to the rest. It’s absolutely heart-wrenching.
The closer I came to moving back home, the more I realised that as much as the location of your study abroad is important for your experience, the make-or-break factor to your enjoyment is the friends you make along the way. I was incredibly lucky and made some fantastic friends during both of my semesters, which is why saying goodbye was so excruciating.
It may be the end of my time in Copenhagen, but it’s definitely not the last time I’ll be there, nor is it the last time I’ll see the friends I made on exchange. In fact as I write this, I’m halfway through my flight to Sydney to see my friends I made during my first semester, and I absolutely can’t wait!
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