From Singapore to Copenhagen, and back again.

Emil Grønnegaard

Cornelius, our exchange student from Singapore, is about to finish his semester and head home, but before he leaves he has agreed to answer some questions about his life in Copenhagen and the economics courses at the University of Copenhagen.

How has Copenhagen treated you so far?

Having stayed in Copenhagen for over 4 months, I can say that Copenhagen has treated me really well. The people are friendly, there are plenty of beautiful sights around the city and even though the cost of living is high, it is still possible to get excellent bargains from your local supermarkets. I guess you can say that my only complaint is that the weather remained cold throughout March even though it was supposed to be the start of spring. But the weather has been more pleasant in recent weeks now that summer is here :)

Did you settle well, and feel homely?

Yes, I have definitely settled down well and I do look forward to coming home back to Copenhagen every time I travel. Cooking in my Hellerup apartment has been a huge part of my exchange experience as I have been able to experiment with various recipes with my fellow Singaporean housemates. In my most recent food adventure, I made oven-roasted giant Turkey drumsticks (inspired by the Disneyland parks) and it only cost me 15 DKK (2 Euro) per drumstick!   Too bad that I have already moved out of my apartment in Copenhagen and I am currently on my last trip with my family before I finally depart back to Singapore.

I definitely do consider myself more of a “city” person than a “country” person so I have thoroughly enjoyed living in a city like Copenhagen. Besides the day to day necessities, I have also been able to access other services like printing my own postcards and repairing my camera when it was damaged. There are also a wide variety of Asian shops to cater to those who miss the taste of Asian food. Cycling around in Copenhagen is really the best way to commute around town especially in the spring weather. For those who are less confident about their cycling abilities (like me), do not worry too much as there are designated roads for cyclists. These roads are generally spacious and I usually just keep to the right to make way for those who are faster than me.

How much time do you spend with other exchange students compared to local students?

I have to admit that I definitely do spend more time hanging out or talking to other exchange students versus the local Danish students. Interestingly, I got closer to my fellow exchange classmates in my International Economics module because we were “forced” to discuss the compulsory assignments as it was really, really difficult to do the assignments alone. But I guess you could say that I did manage to make new friends in the class.

But I was still able to spend some time with my Danish mentors, Emil and Stig, who are really friendly and welcoming. They invited me to join them at one the students’ chess gatherings and the Thursday bar night on campus. Too bad that was the first time I tried playing beer pong and realised how terrible I am at it. Cheers to you guys if you’re reading this ;)

What are your reflections on the academic workload?

I have only just finished all of my exams and essay submissions so I guess this will be a good time to reflect on the academic workload at KU. I must admit that even though I am only required to pass my classes as an exchange student, it has not been easy to keep up with work especially since I had been travelling quite a bit and I did miss some of my classes during the April/Easter period. That was why I decided to take a break from travelling to focus on revision for my exams during May (and also to explore more of Copenhagen). I would definitely say that for Economics, the workload is still manageable but you cannot slack off too much or you’ll suffer later towards the end.

Thankfully, my exams went pretty smoothly and the questions are pretty solvable as long as you do not start your revision only a few days before your papers. The exam environment is pretty chill as compared to Singapore because if you think you are not ready for the exam, you can simply request to do the re-exam at a later date instead and there is no pressure from anyone to pass or ace your exam on the first attempt!

How does living in Copenhagen differ from Singapore?

I like that in Copenhagen, the pace of life is definitely more “chill” whereas, in Singapore, I sometimes get the impression that everyone is always keeping themselves busy and that their schedules are usually fully packed. This has given me the impression that the Danes are generally less stressed as compared to Singaporeans. Although Singapore does pride itself on having an “absolute” efficiency and cleanliness that has earned itself a global reputation, Copenhagen definitely does not fall too far behind Singapore. However, it definitely surpasses Singapore in that everyone here is more relaxed and “going with the flow”. Perhaps that is why it might seem that the Danes are more approachable, friendly and considerate.

Would you recommend others to study in Copenhagen?

Having finally completed my semester and lived in Copenhagen for the past 4 months, I will confidently recommend Copenhagen as an ideal destination for students to do their exchange! I fully enjoyed my experience in Copenhagen exploring the beautiful sights, commuting by cycling, and discovering new hidden gems to eat at. As an international student in Copenhagen, you get to experience what it is like to live like a local Danish student while still being able to experience a wide variety of other international experiences, cuisines, and cultures. In particular, cooking has been a significant part of my exchange experience especially because nothing helps to melt the ice when meeting new friends by talking and sharing food from home. It also helps that cooking is a much cheaper and sometimes tastier option than dining out in Copenhagen! If you’re considering coming to Copenhagen for exchange or have already been offered a spot, I think you will have a beautiful experience here!

Tags: #Singapore  #exchange  #AAL  #studyabroad  #copenhagen 

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