Laurence is studying abroad at Aarhus University in Denmark as part of his Economics degree at Reading. He’ll be adapting to Danish living for the full academic year. Read on to find out how he’s getting on.
Admittedly before looking to study abroad, I didn’t know too much about Denmark past Copenhagen and their leading happiness ratings, but after the first few weeks living and exploring Aarhus the experience has made me want to learn and see everything the country has to offer!
Arriving in Aarhus for the first time was a great first experience for me, the city has just been appointed the European culture capital for 2017, and it really shows with the mix of modern and old on each street. Walking around aimlessly with new flatmates and figuring out where to go was great fun, although you’ll quickly find out that cycling is the way forward here! All the main roads have dedicated cycle paths which are very safe to use, and the lanes leading into the city centre have displays to show how many people have cycled into town this year and on the day. It’s a cool thing to see and makes you feel a little better each time you don’t cheat by using the bus! The first place we explored as a group was the ARoS art museum, featuring a wide variety of art pieces and types across the floors and topped off with the ‘rainbow panorama’ installed on the roof. It was as good as any of the bug museums in London, and the panorama gave a colourful view of the beautiful city I’d be staying in for the year.
The university put on a welcoming week of activities and information giving which was incredibly useful and reassuring, I felt a lot more confident in what I was doing when people and professors from the local community share their experience and tips to making the most of the city and also helped to fill out the necessary paperwork making the process really easy and making sure there would be no problems during the stay. I knew that the university had a big international population, and I could really see this when we were split into groups of students from all other the world stretching from Japan to Canada! The mentors who worked with our group were two former students who were honestly amazing at creating a friendly atmosphere for all of us to get to know each other and would show us their own personal favourite places around Aarhus. It was a great way to start to get friendly with people having their own unique adventure, and between this and welcoming flatmates you can feel like you already know a great group of people even before the first lecture.
So far all the small differences have been my favourite thing to experience such as learning Danish, cycling everywhere or even just seeing England as the subject of holiday ads, and it feels exciting! I am surrounded by stuff that is new to me; a journey in any direction from my residence could mean finding something that keeps my time here fresh, and I don’t think this will stop any time soon.