Author: Elliot Neale -
Hey, I'm Elliot, a final year Civil Engineer here at Bath. I am on the ERASMUS exchange to Denmarks Technical University or in Danish, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet or DTU for short. Adam Engstrom and I are both on the exchange together, we arrived last week in Denmark (25th August 2015).
I am not too sure how to structure this so will just write about what has happened to date...
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
DTU is one of the best engineering Universities in Europe and the highest ranked of the Nordic countries. I am completing the first semester of my MEng here in DTU, however DTU only offers MSc courses, therefore I am classed as a postgraduate student at the University. All MSc courses are taught in English and everyone who comes here is fluent (or near) in English, this is a major bonus for me as my language skills are not the best (as I am sure you can tell...).
I have chosen a selection of courses which are similar to what is offered at Bath, but are slightly more tapered to my personal interests. There was a choice of roughly 170modules, ranging from petroleum engineering to sustainable lighting design. I have remained towards the more traditional Civil Engineering; water resources management, urban design, transport and infrastructure management, bridge engineering and structural fire design. Choosing courses was quite a difficult procedure as you had to build your own timetable to ensure that there were no clashes, easier said than done. 4hours later, I had a timetable. How to avoid spending all this time on a timetable, I don't know.
We had a sort of 'freshers week', not quite the party week of first year but none the less a good week. We were assigned to groups who we spent each day with and then we were paired with a Danish student who helped us adjust to living in Denmark. The week included; tours of the uni, tours of Copenhagen, boat tours and a fair amount of beer consumption (you don't have to drink) (...but we do recommend you drink). A beer (øl), 0.4l (don't ask me why so small) sets you back 20dkk or £2. The most I have paid for a 0.4l øl is 65dkk or £6.50... (NOTE TO SELF: check bar prices before hand) it was a very nice beer though...
There were a few parties through the week, organised through the uni and meet ups within our halls of residence. The final night we had a dinner and party afterwards. All I can say is we drank a lot, the Dane's like drinking early and when I say early like pre drinks at 2pm... The party was for exchange students and went on into the early hours of the following morning. Sorry, must stop talking about partying. One final thing is there are parties every week on campus and so far each one we have been to has been sold out (our danish reps get us in though).
The Buddy group (I'm the guy in the red jumper on the left)
Time for the complaining part... If you think getting accommodation in Bath is bad, try doing it abroad where the uni is oversubscribed (this is a fact) and you cannot get a short term contract and all contracts are in Danish. Housing here is expensive, I am in a shared room with Adam, 18m^2 with a 'functional' bathroom and a 'basic' kitchen. When I say basic, I mean a fridge and two hobs. The rent is 3000dkk a month (£300). The halls are in an area called Brønshøj (I cannot pronounce the area or my road), it is about 12km south of Lyngby (the campus) and about 5km North of Copenhagen. Some are lucky and get accommodation near to uni others are an hour and a half north of Lyngby by train (i.e. in the middle of no where). Luckily we have made friends in the halls who are on our courses or in our introduction group.
So, how do you avoid living miles from uni or in a shared room (I would prefer my own room)... Well I don't really know either. We had to put a bit of pressure on DTU and were offered rather standard accommodation... I know many who have no accommodation and are living in hostels, on sofas or in Airbnb's moving every 10days. So in the grand scheme of things we could be in a worse situation.
Learning and teaching
Since I have only been to three lecture I can't say too much... I will shed more light on the course as I progress.
So far I have been using my bike and getting the bus. My bike hasn't been working the best as I broke the back wheel (locked up when I was cycling along in the rain causing me to skid across the bike path (The locals didn't appreciate that)). Got that repaired and then went 10miles down the road and I accidentally cycled over some broke glass and slashed the tyre so had to replace the tyre and inner tube. Not the best...Spent near 1000dkk on repairs.
The bus is rather expensive, to get to uni is 100dkk (£10) return without a travel card or 50dkk (£5) with a travel card. However to get a travel card you need a Danish residency number (I have one after a 4hour queue and lots of ID cards) however this took a few days to get the number, so transport to uni was expensive for the first week. I aim to cycle as much as I can as the roads are designed for bikes. Bikes are not allowed on the road and have there own separate path (2-3bikes wide) away from cars and pedestrians. However I have not quite mastered handling the Danish junction system and have had a few close calls... However the route to uni is easier than cycling up Widecombe Hill or Bathwick Hill each morning and takes about the same time.
I cannot think of anything else to add at this time, I will write another post one soon.