Cop­ing for Copen­hagen: ex­ams and pack­ing

A semester abroad requires a fair amount of planning - but it's worth taking the first step. In my first blog post, I tell you how I found a flat in a fortnight and which course you should definitely take if you, too, are going to Copenhagen.

Caro vor einem Boot mit einer dänischen Flagge.
Seit vier Jahren habe ich davon geträumt, jetzt lebe ich ein Semester lang in Kopenhagen! (Foto: privat)

I knew early on that, at some point during my studies, I would like to do an Erasmus semester. And when I first visited Copenhagen in 2019, I knew for sure: I would love to live here one day. So, when I received the acceptance letter for a place at Københavns Universitet (KU) in March 2023, I didn't need to think twice.

Well-prepared is halfway there

I had to start the application process, including the English exam at the Language Centre, as early as December. The long organisation timeline and having to fill out all the Erasmus forms seemed somewhat daunting at first. But both HU's International Department as well as the incoming exchange team at the University in Copenhagen were always there to help me with any questions. I was also given clear, step-by-step instructions on how to prepare all the important documents and apply for Erasmus+ funding. It’s a nearly foolproof process as long as one manages to pay attention to the deadlines – which, due to my own absent-mindedness, I nearly failed at.

After receiving the final confirmation from KU in May, I started preparing for my stay in Denmark. I was spoilt for choice with the wide range of courses on offer: Almost all courses at KU are offered in English and there was everything from maritime law to environmental law. In the end, I chose the courses International Criminal Law and Procedure and International Human Rights Law.

KU also offers a pre-semester course that equips students with a few sentences' worth of Danish and some basics about the history of Copenhagen. I highly recommend this course, as it’s a great way to get to know other exchange students and make contacts before the semester starts. After the course, you often go out together to explore the city, find a café or shop IKEA for dorm room essentials.

Car with a Hygge sign and a Danish flag.
Far up on the to-do list for the months abroad: finding a "hyggelig" home. Photo: private

Flat hunting = mental breakdown or not so bad?

And that brings us to the most difficult topic: finding a flat. If you think the rents for a one-bedroom in Prenzlauer Berg are scary, you definitely haven't seen Copenhagen prices yet. Therefore, a good tip for all those who want to study at KU: Register in time at the Housing Foundation. There, with a little luck, you can get a very cheap room in one of the many halls of residence. However, the motto is: first come, first serve.

In my case, with spot 1,256 on the waiting list, that option was off the table relatively quickly. Trying to get a room through one of the housing portals in Denmark, such as or, was out of the question for me, as they charge a hefty monthly fee for the placement service. So I tried my luck in various Facebook groups and, after about two weeks of persistent work and a few rejections, found a flat-share in cosy Frederiksberg. It’s helpful to familiarise yourself with the districts of the city you’re going to before you start looking for a flat. It was especially important to me that my faculty was within easy cycling distance. Also make sure that utilities such as electricity and internet are included in the rent so there are no nasty surprises later on.

People who are walking around Copenhagen under the rain.
"So, how's the weather over there?" ... Photo: private

Exams done, suitcases packed – time to go!

With all of that figured out, nothing stood in the way of my departure - except for exam period! Exams and moving house within a week were not exactly the most relaxing time of my life, I’ll admit as much. But since the pre-semester course was supposed to start at the beginning of August, I had to just grit my teeth and get on with it!

Copenhagen is about eight hours away from Berlin by train, and you only have to change trains once, in Hamburg. I received a very warm welcome from my new flatmates and it was nice to be surrounded by people who already knew their way around. The first word that popped into my head in my new home was "hygge". It means "cosiness" or "well-being" in Danish.

And my first days at university were also very "hyggelig". The weather was all over the place, which is typical for Copenhagen. Hence, I gladly took my flatmate's advice to never leave the house without an umbrella. But the coffee breaks in the cafeteria and the first Danish lessons at the university were all the more pleasant. Curious to read what happens next? I will take you along on this blog :)

(Published 21 August 2023)