Gracia is currently studying abroad at Aarhus University with Chemistry degree at Reading. Already coming to the end of her first semester in Denmark, read on to find out how she settled into the social and academic side of her year abroad.
So it’s now been 15 weeks since I moved to Denmark and it’s typically me writing a welcome to my study abroad experience so late, but better late than never! So what can I say I’ve enjoyed about my trip so far.
Let’s start from the beginning, I arrived on August 24th 2016. I flew straight to Aarhus from London, which was surprisingly not long at all. Here’s me thinking I would have time on the plane to cry, reflect, get excited and prepare myself for the year to come. But no! The flight was 1 hour and 40 minutes and in a blink of an eye. Hello, Aarhus Denmark.
So the next few days were the intro days and I used these days to explore the town, meet new other exchange students and get familiar with the University. Each international student were assigned a mentor to help them settle in which was great help because I had a ton of questions. Luckily for me the weather was beautiful which was shocking because prior to coming everyone had warned me about how cold it was going to be but for the first few months it was sunny everyday so I saw Aarhus in its true form. I managed to buy a bike during my first few weeks because it’s definitely the most practical way of travelling around Denmark and the great thing was that we were able to go to the beach practically every day and also visit some amazing Danish landscapes. All the houses are brightly coloured (at one point I felt like I was in an episode of Balamory), but I loved how unique and quirky the houses were. Everyone that I met were super nice and friendly they don’t lie when the say Denmark is the happiest country in the world. Which made me comfortable and excited for this new chapter in my life.
It wasn’t long before I was introduced to the famous concept of “Friday bars”. Each Friday from afternoon to late evening each academic departments set up bars in a big room, canteen or even classroom in the building and sell beer, soft drinks and a never ending game of beer pong (I never realised how competitive this game was until saw Danes play against each other). They are really cool bars because both students and lecturers from that department are able to socialise, the prices are inexpensive, thanks to the student volunteers. But on the 9th of September, Denmark’s largest Friday bar was held in the University Park, with special themed bars, activities and 2 massive stages with popular Danish music artist it was definitely one of my highlights so far.
Regarding my education, I am now well into my Chemistry Project in the Group of Prof. Troels Skrydstrup working on synthesising metal-salen derivatives. At first I was a bit overwhelmed but I am now so happy and comfortable working in the lab and learning a lot from the other students around me.
Finally, so far I have met some amazing people and have had such an good time in Aarhus and I am excited to do more exploring and see what the next few months has in store for me!