A Month in Strasbourg

Hello! I’m Graeme and I’m studying Accountancy with Finance in Strasbourg, France for my third year. This is my first blog so I tell you a bit about what to expect when moving away and what the beautiful city of Strasbourg is like.

Travel

Strasbourg unfortunately isn’t the easiest place to get to (depending on where you’re flying from) but there are many options available. I flew from Edinburgh to Basel and then took a bus to Strasbourg. This is something to research before applying as you can fly to other nearby airports in Paris, Stuttgart, Frankfurt or Baden-Baden.

Accommodation

My accommodation is university housing run by an organisation called Crous. They offer accommodation for students all over France as well as offering other services. The rent is very cheap, and with the possibly of receiving CAF (housing allowance) this could reduce even more. The room is very good and includes a fridge and sink and each floor has a shared kitchen and bathrooms. A gym is situated in the basement and the building also has study areas, a TV room and laundry facilities. The biggest advantage is that it’s right next to the EM Business School where I’m studying.

Integration/The City

As you’d expect from any study abroad experience, there are people to meet from all over the world: the international students at the business school come from 39 different countries across the globe. This had made it a great chance to interact with so many different students.

The city itself is beautiful with so much going on. There are many tourist attractions throughout the centre, such as the Cathedral, Petite-France, the European Parliament, many museums, restaurants and shops. I’ve so far walked up the Cathedral and also attended a football match between Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace and Nantes. This is the first time in 10 years Strasbourg have been in Ligue 1 and although they lost 2-1, the atmosphere was great.

Admin

During the first couple of weeks there is a lot of admin work to complete, such as registering for courses, opening a bank account, getting a tram pass or bike, insurance and the Erasmus documents. I’d recommend, wherever you’re going, to arrive a week before everything starts to try and sort these things out, and also to have copies of important documents in case you need them e.g. passport, birth certificate.

Apologies for the lack of photos but for some reason the site wasn’t letting me upload any: i’ll get this sorted out for next time. Hopefully this blog has helped and if you have any questions feel free to get in touch with me at 2192803B@student.gla.ac.uk

 

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Academics at UTokyo

Minasan konbanwa! I hope you’re all feeling cosy in Glasgow or wherever in the world you’re spending this year. Here in Tokyo, the semester has now been going or for almost a month, so I’ve got a better sense of how the system works.

I’ve also settled into my shoebox apartment in Shimokitazawa – I really like this neighbourhood with all its vintage shops and livehouses. The weather has been completely miserable in the last week or so, with constant rain and temperatures falling below 10C (apparently it’s been the coldest October in over 30 years), so it’s a good time to hide under blankets and write this post.

If you’re planning on applying to the University of Tokyo, I hope this post gives you an idea of what the actual studying aspect is like on exchange here.

Courses

At UoT, there is a wide variety of English-language courses, particularly in arts and social sciences. As a Politics student, it wasn’t difficult at all for me to find enough courses – on the contrary, I struggled to narrow my choices down. This will depend on your subject and personal interests, so just be sure to plan well before applying.

There is a two-week “window shopping” period in the beginning of the semester, which means that you can initially register for any and all courses that seem interesting, and then just drop some of them. Make use of this period to try out courses that seem a bit out there!

 

The workload

 

The amount of courses you’ll need to take will be higher than in Glasgow, but the workload for each course seems quite manageable (at least at this point).

 

Over the year, you’re supposed to take about 28 credits. As most classes are worth 2 credits, this translates into 14 courses over the year, or 7 per semester. The absolute minimum is 6 courses per semester, because spending at least 10 hours a week in class is a legal requirement of the Japanese student visa, and less than 6 courses won’t fulfill that.

 

There is no upper limit – Japanese students commonly take as many as 10-12 classes per semester. Currently, I actually have 11 classes a week, but that’s just because I decided to take an intensive Japanese class not-for-credit.. Not regretting it, but I am very busy!

 

At UoT, the class sizes are generally very small – my largest class probably has about 30 people, and the smallest has less than a dozen. This means you get to know the professor and the other people in your class well, which is nice. Fitting the small size, most classes are not conducted in a lecture style but instead focus on discussions and presentations. The professors introduce topics and guide the discussion, but students need to constantly participate. It basically feels like a mash-up of the lectures and tutorials in Glasgow. Each class only meets once a week, but the periods are quite long at 105 minutes.

 

In addition to studying and discussing the set readings, there are also various assessments like reaction papers, group or solo presentations, term papers, final exams and the like. The assessment is more constant than in Glasgow, but the amount of reading per class is mostly lower, although this depends on the class.

 

Overall, I feel I’m not doing more work than I would be in Glasgow. With the constant participation and presentation, it feels more social. Sometimes I feel it’s a bit exhausting to have to constantly discuss things instead of focusing on researching stuff by myself, but I appreciate that it’s a good chance to get to know viewpoints that are very different from mine and become more confident in speaking my mind.

 

The discussion-focused nature of the classes here was slightly surprising to me – I had subscribed to the idea that the teaching style in East Asia tends to be less interactive and more one-way, but this is not the case at all in UoT.

Societies

 

UoT is generally regarded as the top university in Japan, and most students here are pretty focused and hard-working. To balance out the academics, there are lots of societies called “circles” in Japanese. These range from sports clubs to cosplay clubs and traditional arts.

As the school year here starts in April, exchange students arriving in September miss out on the regular freshers’ week recruitment activities. This is why I’ve been thinking that I’d like to join a circle for my second semester here, because more of them are welcoming new members in April. It’s possible to join some circles in September, but I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the other new things, so I sort of missed that train! Fortunately, there is still the summer semester.

 

That’s it for the academics this time – if you have any other questions, just message me at 2191194S at student.glasgow.ac.uk and I’ll be happy to respond! I would also be happy to hear out any suggestions for post ideas.

 

By the way, I’m sorry about the lack of pictures in this post – it’s not that I don’t have any, but the storage space on this blog is currently full, and I don’t have a convenient fix for it. Shouganai ne!

Ça…C’est Paris!

Salut tout le monde!

It has been almost two months since this adventure started and I’m still not quite over the honeymoon phase. So much so that as I’m writing this a Spotify playlist called Paris is playing in the background. While cleaning my room and belting out the Edith Piaf songs that I knew (one, La Vie en Rose), a song titled Ça! C’est Paris, or “This! This is Paris”, got me thinking about all the little things that have been making student life here a little different. So here’s a few of them, in the hope that they’ll give you a fun little snapshot into the life of an exchange student in Paris (disclaimer: it is not as glamorous as you think).

Song: Ça c’est Paris – Maurice Chevalier

 

 

 

  1. Every uni student in the world, as the alarm clock rings, makes a brief evaluation of just how much they need to go to class and actually get that degree… in Paris, as the Sciences Po buildings are scattered along the high-fashion shopping street of Boulevard Saint-Germain, motivation is easy to come by. I take classes in front of or next to Ralph Lauren, Karl Lagerfeld, Versace, Dior and Louboutin, all of which serve as a constant reminder of why I should get up and go to that 8am Ethics of War class.
  1. I miss the library of Glasgow Uni dearly, especially its chocolate chip cookies. Although the Sciences Po’s bibliothèque’s mere 5 floors offer less choice in comfort, room temperature and view than Glasgow’s 12, its location definitely makes up for it. A study break in Paris can turn into a cultural expedition as you pay a quick visit to the nearby 900 years old church, Saint Germain des Prés, or the 200 years old Saint Sulpice, a hotspot for conspiracy theories lovers.
  2. Of course the art and history that Paris has to offer can’t be exhausted in some study breaks. That’s why a fellow Glasgow student abroad and I have created a “cultural Fridays” tradition. Intuitively enough, every Friday we try to check something off of the bucket list. So far we have visited the Louvre, the Orsay and the Centre Pompidou. Future destinations include l’Orangerie (where Monet’s Nymphaea are), a Picasso exhibition, the Pantheon and others. Fun (and convenient) fact: most if not all museums are free for students!
  3. And now, we turn to the two greatest joys of life: food and drinks. Another weekly appointment on my schedule is eating out. I’m not talking about actual restaurants (20€ for one course definitely does not fit into my budget), nor am I talking about fast foods (I’m in Paris after all). The narrow old streets around the Seine are full of small ethnic shops where you can try delicious food for less than 5€. Some of my personal favourite include the self-proclaimed but popularly acclaimed “best crêpes in Paris” at Au P’tit Grec, amazing falafel at L’As du Falafel, and Lebanese wraps at Chez le Libanais… buy a beer or some wine with that and enjoy the meal sitting on the Seine’s banks or at the square in front of Notre-Dame and you got yourself a cheap and unforgettable Parisian evening.
  4. Alas, life in Paris is just as complicated as life anywhere else. Except that here all the already complicated grown up stuff is aggravated by bureaucracy. A month and a half to open a bank account, three weeks and counting to get a transport pass, probably no less than five months to receive housing aid (CAF – will talk about it soon). This too is Paris, although I guess that walking for the fourth time to your bank branch is a bit more bearable when the Eiffel Tower is right at the end of the road…

If you have questions about anything at all regarding my experience, I leave my contacts below! Looking forward to get more pragmatic with the next post, where I’ll do my best to help you in regard to the Erasmus application process!

Email: 2188139a@student.gla.ac.uk OR benedetta.annicchiarico@gmail.com

Facebook: Benedetta Annicchiarico

Instagram: benedettaa19

 

 

Beautiful British Columbia

Beautiful British Columbia – just like the license plates say…

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Being in a phase of being incredibly busy with midterms and overly excited about British Columbia after a wonderful weekend out in the mountains, I thought, why not devote a blog to beautiful BC alone!

 

My favourite places outside the city so far:

1. Crown mountain
Literally just outside Vancouver!!!
Okay you have to be fit for this one as it means hiking up Grouse Grind first (mentioned that one in my last blog already), and then hike up another even higher mountain, but every bit of it is worth it! Also this was my first time seeing wild chipmunk, pretty exciting huh?!
It probably took around 8 hours all together! (okay admittingly, long break up on Grouse Mountain, watching a lumberjack show?!)
If you happen to have too much money you can also save yourself the first hike and pay 40$ for a gondola….

 

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2. Garibaldi Provincial Park
SOOOOOOO stunning, it was incredible – exactly what you imagine Canada to look like. We were camping out at the lake on an official campsite as we were too scared of the bear situation to camp all by ourselves somewhere for the first time.
(Admittingly, there are mostly (or only) black bears around here and they are hardly a problem for campers, but it was definitely comforting knowing that other people are around.)

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A website I find really useful to search for cool hikes is https://www.vancouvertrails.com/
For most hikes it says they are good to do until the end of October, seen as the snow will come afterwards.

One of the things I didn’t realise before coming to Canada is how much there is to think about before heading out into the wilderness (such as that you have to hang up your food on trees, cook away from your tent, make sure you make enough noise when hiking, but also  inform yourself on other things happening, – e.g. originally a road trip was planned, until we realized that  where we wanted to go are still forest fires, and our second choice failed because porcupines in that area where such a big problem that many people put up fences around their cars?! I guess once you are familiar with all the rules it is no problem, but coming from innocent Europe where seeing wild animals like a deer is already exciting enough, I didn’t even think of these issues before.)

Yep, a road trip was planned for last weekend, but it didn’t happen. So…

 

Here some practical tips of getting around:

– If you plan on renting a car some time, GET A CREDIT CARD!!! We had thanksgiving coming up and wanted to do a 4 day road trip but spent 2 days running around the city and making phone calls to find a company that would accept visa/debit cards.
We actually found one in the end (Vancity) but had run out of time for a good roadtrip so decided not to use it – some other time.
Car share companies (e.g. Evo car): you usually just rent a car for a few minutes or couple of hours, but it seems to be worth renting it for an entire day as well if you get the car full of people and share the costs!
– Services like “poparide”, where people write down when they go from A to B and you pay a bit for getting a ride
– Obviously there are busses too (e.g. up to Squamish and Whistler), but they don’t give you as much time flexibility, but good prices as well! (at least as long as you stay in the area)

 

And obviously, if you prefer having things organized for you, the university has lots of cool clubs and societies:

  • The Exchange Student Club organized a trip to the sunshine coast with cool activities like canoeing on one of the last weekends (a friend of mine took part and actually got to see a black bear, so yes, they are real!)
  • A hiking club I have heard of which is meant to be really good is: UBC Varsity Outdoor Club
  • And many others I don’t know about yet (because the sad story is, so far I felt way too busy with uni to properly inform myself and make time for them)

Also for some activities you need to plan quite a bit in advance, and so far I was prioritising university!

So yes, speaking of which – I should probably get back to writing essays for uni…

 

Hope the images get you excited about Canada!

Until next time, Tatjana x

Contact details: 2202388L@student.gla.ac.uk

Life in Lion City: Final Thoughts

It has been just under 5 months since I returned home from my time abroad, and I’ve now fully returned to my classes and busy deadlines at Glasgow. While I was sad to leave Singapore, I’m happy and surprised at just how much my exchange experience continues to feature in my life. The whole year had seemed to pass by in a single blink, and returning to Glasgow to find familiar faces and the similar buildings made it feel as though no time had really passed at all.

But Singapore continues to show up to remind me of all the great places and people I got to meet throughout the past year. For instance, I had two friends visit me here in Glasgow. One was a Singaporean classmate who I showed around Scotland for a week; another was a Canadian friend who came to visit for a long weekend.

meneunice

Visiting Edinburgh Castle

You may also have met me at the Freshers Fair for the Study Abroad stand. Seeing people excited to consider their opportunities for study abroad made me both envious and happy to reminisce on the process that had got me to NTU in the first place, as well as how lucky we all are to have such a great team here at Glasgow aiding us throughout the application process. I’m also grateful for being able to write this blog, which has been a fun way to reflect on the things that I’ve done, and great to be able to look back on now that it’s all over.

My final day in Singapore was a beautiful sunny day, which I spent wondering around some of my favourite spots, souvenir shopping and eating delicious Indian food in Little India. I also had the same ice-cream bread sandwich I’d bought on my first day in the city, and did the same long walk around the bay, to take in, for one final time, Singapore’s beautiful cityscape. I had a better year than I could have ever possibly imagined, and although it’s now come to an end, I know that the memories are not far behind me.

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Visiting Glasgow’s necropolis

Thanks for reading my posts, and have fun at the Study Abroad fair at the GUU today, I know you will all be there! As always, feel free to be in touch: 2124794s@student.gla.ac.uk 

Until next time, Kate xx

 

 

Greetings from Chapel Hill

Hello! I’m Rachel and I’m one of this years GASAs in the USA! I’m studying Biomedical Engineering here at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill!

First I just want to say sorry for the lack of updates! I have actually been in North Carolina for 5 weeks but only now have I had time to write my first blog post! I’ve been a really good busy – there’s just so much to do and I feel like I’ve hardly stopped. Even though classes only started recently back in Glasgow, I started classes in August and already have sat my midterms! (exams worth around 20% of your final grade) The Americans don’t sit around!

Chapel Hill is exactly how you would imagine an American university to be if you’ve ever watched US college films. It fits the stereotype perfectly – so far I’ve been to frats, American football games and tailgates! I’ve even spent a weekend at one of my friend’s lake house. I feel like I’m living the American dream. The campus is Instagram pretty and the weather has been amazing. If you’re wanting the All-American experience I couldn’t recommend here enough.

So I started my American Adventure when I left Glasgow on August 15th with 2 big suitcases, a backpack and a carry on case. (I packed lightly I know!!) I was met at the airport in Raleigh by my mentor! UNC has a program called EASE which aims to match exchange students up with an American student and help you move in and answer any questions you have. It’s a great way to meet people and something I definitely think Glasgow should try! My dorms didn’t open until the 16th so I stayed a night in an AirBnb which actually worked out cheaper than flying in the day after. Tuesdays to Thursdays are generally much cheaper to fly on so I’d definitely recommend doing this!!

All exchange students that want to stay in dorms on campus have a roommate. I think it’s just about the same for all USA universities so if you’re wanting a single room you are better looking for something off campus. I was really worried about sharing a room before I got here but it’s really not that bad!  UNC uses an online questionnaire to help you find a roommate you’re best suited to. You answer questions about what time you go to bed, wake up, how messy you are etc and then it lets you add a bit about yourself.

In the USA the work load is heavy and there is lots of continuous assessment. Your final exam is usually only worth around 20% of your final grade. You get points for homework, attendance and participation which is different but really encourages you to do work continuously and not leave anything to the last minute. In a way it’s very much like being back at school! That being said, it’s really really easy to fall behind. Time management is super important here!

Speaking of time management, before deadlines start piling up for you I would recommend looking at the Study Abroad application. Even if you’re not sure if you want to go, still start the application!! You can always change your mind before offers are given out! A few things to do now are:

  • Go to the Study Abroad fair – Go in open minded! Even if you know California is your dream have a look at some back up options! You need to choose 3 places for your application so try and find other places you would be interested in! Please don’t be discouraged by the amount of people! Not everyone is going to apply and even if they do your chances of getting to go abroad won’t really be any less!! Speak to students and find out where they went and what they liked about it. I’d recommend finding someone who is studying the same course as you if you can! Ask students if they know anyone studying your course if you can’t find anyone. You can ask about the climate, work load, classes, travel, culture etc!
  • Meet with your subject coordinator – get in there as early as you can! I would recommend meeting rather than emailing so you can get answers to all the questions you have and get all the academic information you need.

Any questions about study abroad or UNC feel free to send me an email or Facebook message!!

2197034G@student.gla.ac.uk

facebook.com/rachelgibson97

Auf Wiedersehen – Last Thoughts on Exchange

 

Hallo meine Lieben,

Tuesday afternoon in good old rainy Glasgow, and I’m going through pictures of my exchange year to attach to my last post in this blog. Writing these last words makes it somehow so final that my exchange year actually is over. I left Berlin over a month ago, but it’s just been fairly difficult to accept it haha. Seriously, where did all that time disappear? I feel so wistful, yet so happy that I was able to meet all those lovely people and to experience everything I did – even the difficult moments, since they taught me so much. That being said, I found a text I wrote in May, that still concludes my thoughts on the year very well.

May 7th, 2017
Here I am, sitting on my bed, avoiding my Arabic language homework, breathing in the spring evening air creeping in through the open window next to me, listening to distant music from the restaurant nearby, and I feel so much gratitude right now.

Sappy but true: I am so lucky I’ve had the chance to do a year abroad, in such an amazing city where I’ve started to feel more at home than anywhere I’ve ever lived before. But it hasn’t been an easy ride to get to this point.

 

Don’t get me wrong, overall I am very satisfied with my exchange year so far, and I know that the best times are still ahead – it is because now I have realised something fundamental about the nature of this year (for me at least). I wanted to write a few words about this, because I know that I am not the only one whose year on exchange hasn’t been the best they’ve ever had, regardless of the image and pressure for it to be it that we’re constantly faced with. Here’s the deal: your year abroad will be an amazing adventure if you let it be that, but it’s not going to be an easy ride all the time – it’s life after all. You will step on dog poop twice on the same street (yeee been there), or you might struggle with bigger things. Whether it’s Heimweh (lolz, this accidental mix up of languages in my head happens to me all the time, but homesickness is the English word I was looking for), your own personal mental battles, your host university’s requirements feeling impossible to fulfill, money problems, or whatnot. Your life might not magically become perfect even when you’re in a new country surrounded by tons of new people, and new experiences.

But you know what? It is such a cliché, but actually going through these struggles is the best thing that can happen to you – you’ll return to Glasgow having learned so much about yourself, with new tools to face future ups and downs that life has in store for you. And if your year has been the best year of your life, that’s brilliant and you’re probably full of confidence to get you through the horrors of fourth year, knowing that you have already managed to conquer the world.

 

Thank you for sharing my exchange year with me on this blog, I hope someone found it useful at times! You can still contact me with any Erasmus or Berlin questions 2148464n[at]student.gla.ac.uk or on Facebook: Miina Noroila.

Come to the Go Abroad Fair tomorrow on Wednesday the 11th of October, at the GUU to talk with us former exchange students and the Study Abroad team about exchange destinations, our experiences and the actual application process. Hope to see many of you there!

Liebe liebe Grüße,
Miina xxx

¡Hola!

Hi everyone my name is Kirsten, i study Spanish and Italian,  and this year I am studying at the wonderful Tecnólogico de Monterrey, Campus Querétaro in  Mexico. Being my first blog, I want to speak about the preparations needed in order to study in Mexico, as when I was getting ready to come here that was the information I really wished I could have found somewhere! I hope it will be helpful and interesting for some of you as you begin to think about your year abroad.

mexico flag

Visa

mex consutlate

Obtaining the visa can be one of the most important aspects of preparation for any country. A visa is needed to study in Mexico over 180 days, and the type you need is ´Residente Temporal Estudiante´ Although the process didn’t take too long for me for Mexico, even with some setbacks, I would still recommend to do it sooner rather than later as having it sorted will make you less stressed and able to focus on other elements. To get the visa, you need to go to your local consulate, which for UK nationals, is in London. The consulate requires some basic documentation, such as copies of passport, photos etc, and most importantly the original letter of acceptance from the Mexican university (ie the one they send over in the post, bear this in mind and apply to the uni as soon as possible!!). You must make an visa appointment online, the appointment takes about 10 minutes as long as all the documents are correct, they then keep your passport at the consulate and send it back through secure fast post with a visa stamp in it. For me I had an appointment on the Monday, and received my passport with the stamp in Edinburgh on the Thursday of that week. Information and guidance is available from https://embamex.sre.gob.mx/reinounido/index.php/es/.

Original letter of acceptance

However my visa application did not come without stress, and this was due to the original letter of acceptance. Make sure when you are applying to Tec, that if you are going for a full year, you apply for a full year and not just one semester! I only remember seeing the option to apply for one semester, so assumed that I did that then, and then later on in the year would apply for the following spring semester. However, this meant that on my letter of acceptance it only showed me studying for a period of one semester, which of course the consulate did not accept as they need to have proof of study for one year in order to grant the visa. This resulted in a LOT of stress, as I needed to communicate with the Mexican university to apply for the second semester and get a new letter sent out ASAP.  This was a stressful time for me, which could have been avoided had I double checked these things and done it all sooner so I really do urge you to do things as soon as you can! What I can say from this experience, is that the international office at Tec is very helpful (just as the Glasgow one is) and they will do all they can to assist, so if you have any problems (after speaking to me of course) don’t hesitate to get in touch with them.

Vaccinations

I went to my local GP and booked a travel appointment, which is a consultation with a nurse to find out what vaccinations are necessary. It is also useful to go to your GP and ask for a print out of your vaccination history, to see which ones you are missing or need to be updated. For Mexico, it is recommended to have Hepatitis A, Tetanus & Typhoid courses, and Dipheria is also suggested. On the NHS, you can receive a Dipheria, polio & Tetanus booster, Typhoid, and Hepatitis A, which can sometimes be a combined vaccination with Hep B. Rabies vaccination is also listed as an option for Mexico, however after weighing it up I decided against it as I do not plan to be in very rural areas so the risks are pretty low.

Money   download

The currency is Mexican pesos, with £1 equal to $23.07 at the time of writing this. Some prepaid travel cards are available in pesos, such as Revolut, which can be a good option as it has minimal extra fees and can feel more secure than carrying around a lot of cash. Personally however, I came with a substantial amount of pesos, and split it into different purses and compartments of my bags, and now whenever I need to get money out I use my debit card from RBS to withdraw large quantities of money. This comes with a fee, but it is not too bad, I have found with RBS cards, Santander ATM’S have the lowest fee.

I am going to finish this blog here as these are the elements I had most wanted help with when I was preparing for Mexico. The next post (which I am just about to upload now) will be a lot more exciting and a lot more about the vivid, incredible country that I am living in!

However, as a last but very important word, as you will most likely know, in the past weeks Mexico has been struck by forceful earthquakes which has sadly taken the lives of hundreds, and left many more without homes and basic necessities. It saddens me to see this wonderful country and its fantastic people suffering, and so i would urge you to make a donation, no matter how little. To find out more information and donate, the following websites are useful:

http://www.topos.mx/   (Topos is a is a nonprofit rescue brigade made up of volunteers that was created after a 1985 earthquake)

http://www.unicef.org/mexico/spanish

http://www.cruzrojamexicana.org.mx/

Also through paypal: donativos@brigada-rescate-topos.org topos.mx

Gracias amigos. Hasta luego!!

Settling into Scandinavia

 

Hi all,

I’m Katie and I am studying History and Sociology at the University of Copenhagen for a year. I have been in Copenhagen for a month so I thought I would document what I have learnt so far.

I was lucky enough to have visited Copenhagen on a social sciences study abroad taster trip with Glasgow University in Easter 2015 and this helped me so much settling in during the first few days. I remembered a lot of the places we had visited and had a rough idea of the exchange rate of GBP to Danish Krones. Although this is not feasible for some places on the study abroad programme, if you can visit the city you are going to study in it does really help to get your bearings when you first arrive.

Within my first hour of arriving I met my Sociology mentor group led by two Danish students who were going to help us settle in to the department and were on hand to ask any questions. My group consisted of: two Norwegians, an Irish guy, a girl from japan and one from South Korea! I would 100% recommend getting a mentor if your subject offers it, they have been really helpful and there are social events every week which is great for getting to know people on your course better.

The next day I had an orientation day which involved learning a bit about the modules we could take, important information about Denmark and meeting other international students. It was very overwhelming but great fun. We played a game of ‘human bingo’ where you had to find someone who matched a question such as, find a person who speaks more than two different languages. As cliché as it sounds I did feel like I went on a trip around the world, one minute I was talking to someone from Sweden and the next someone from Brazil! After the day was over we went to the matriculation ceremony, kind of like the Fresher’s address in Glasgow, where the rector of the university shakes the hand of all new students.

The next few days were a bit of a whirlwind I met a lot of new people, did some touristy things and tried to get my bearings a bit more. University started on the Monday 4th September and this was a huge shock for me. I felt like I had just arrived and then was thrown into lectures and expected to adapt to a completely different system- I will write a blog post on the differences between the Scottish University system and the Danish University system soon J

A month in and I am so lucky that I feel really settled. My flatmates, despite everyone being Danish apart from me and an Italian guy, are absolutely lovely and have really made me feel welcome! My modules are so interesting and I’m slowly adapting to the realisation that I’m here for a year.

Anyway as promised here’s a list of things I have learnt so far:

  1. Hygge is super important: the English translation of this is cosy, basically sitting around eating a meal often with candles and blankets helps the Danes get through the winter and stressful times. Kind of like the British version of the idea that a cup of tea can solve any problem.
  2. Get on top of your admin and paperwork! Write a list of things you will need to get sorted. CPR number is like your national insurance number and you need it in order to access free healthcare and a bank account. They send you information of how to get it but it involves a lot of paperwork, time and patience. Also don’t stress about modules, some might have changed since you first applied and some might clash but a few hours emailing people and meeting up with lectures and they will get sorted.
  3. Get a bike ASAP! I joined multiple Facebook groups in order to get a bike but the process is on first come first served basis and often people will say they have one and they don’t which can be really frustrating. Perseverance is key for this. Luckily one of my flatmates had a spare one and I got it for 300dkk which is so cheap for a bike, but don’t panic – you’ll get one eventually!
  4. Put yourself out there, friendships don’t come to you! You’ll be knackered mentally and physically and it is so easy to say no to things and just hibernate in your room. Don’t do this! Have a shower, buy a bottle of wine and put yourself out there. You won’t regret it!
  5. Embrace the fact you are an international student! It is hard communicating with people at first who aren’t native English speakers but the Danes are incredible at English and have the same sense of humour. I have attempted to embrace their culture mostly by eating Smørrebrød and Danish pastries but even just talking to them about the royal family and the education system can create an initial bond.

I will most likely do a blog post soon on the difference between the University systems next and then a post on what it is like celebrating a birthday on your year abroad, since I recently turned 21.

Please feel to contact me on any forms of social media if you have any questions or queries about Erasmus or the University of Copenhagen.

Katie x