In the Happiest Place in the World

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

Ellis is currently studying abroad at Aarhus University in Denmark as part of his Psychology degree at Reading. Read on to find out how he is settling into his new home in Denmark for his study abroad semester. 

After hearing that Denmark was ranked one of the happiest places to live in the world, my decision to study there for my term abroad became an easy choice; and my experiences so far have not disappointed.

I arrived in the late summer, and was greeted warmly by my mentor and, somewhat surprisingly, the climate – as I was told it was normally a lot colder for the time of year. After being shown to my dorm, I met the Danes I would be living with for the next 4 months and I instantly felt welcomed.

The next week was ‘introductory week’, 5 days filled with an array of activities which would get me to grips with Danes, Danish culture and academic life. During this week I met people from all over the world, and I can now say I have friends from France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Canada, USA and Australia. I learnt a lot about what it means to be Danish, and their fondness for the term ‘hygge’ (something which roughly translates to ‘cosiness’ or ‘good-times’). Without a doubt my first week involved a lot of ‘hygge’ – celebrations galore, I attended some fabulous parties, held by the university and friends alike. Soon after I became aware of the Danish fondness for beer – you could literally get beer anywhere (even on campus there are beer taps) and at a very affordable price!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

However, my time in Denmark hasn’t solely been partying and drinking beer. The week after introductory week, was festival week – a vibrant event taking over the city centre with art, entertainment, music, food and culture. I attended free concerts in the park, tried some of the finest Scandinavian cuisine and even watched an extravagant African dance show. During the week I also managed to squeeze in a trip to ARoS, Aarhus’ Art Museum, which showcased some famous artists work, and not forgetting the breathtaking rainbow panorama at the top – which had the most spectacular views of the city. It truly was an emotive experience, and I could’ve spent hours staring out of each coloured-glass panel. To sum up the week, there was something for everyone, whatever the interest.

After the excitement of the first couple of weeks, class began to start and I was somewhat dubious about what to expect from an international institution. However, my doubts soon faded away as I noticed the relaxed teaching style: classes involved teacher led-discussions based on set texts, which were broken up by cake-breaks – yep, each week one person was responsible for bringing in cakes for all the class to eat (a strong motivator to attend class to say the least).

So overall, I can confidently say I am having the most amazing time with the most interesting group of friends – and I’m looking forward to what the rest of this experience has in store!

Ellis

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