I have been asked to write a few words on the middle part of my exchange at Denmark Technical University (just outside of Copenhagen in Denmark). One of the things you realise about a 6 month exchange is, there is no middle and the second thing is you will realise this too late. A six month exchange is really only 3 months; split into the beginning and the countdown to the end, with only a week in between when you realise you are already halfway through.
The beginning involves settling in, introduction week, making friends, introduction parties and making too many plans for the coming weeks. Especially when you are in Europe, it is too tempting not to jet away every weekend to a different country. Before you know it you have parties, trips and hangovers planned for every weekend until the mid semester break, then it’s time for holidays.
When you return from mid semester break there is a week of ‘middle’ of the exchange, before talk turns to exams, final reports and Christmas plans. This is when you realise you have made amazing friends and only have a few more weeks to explore. Next comes a week of exam study and that’s it, your exchange is over.
The point being, cherish every moment. Make friends and spend time with them, visit different countries but also explore your own town, meet locals and get to know your countries real culture. A 6 month exchange is too quick, it is some of the best times of your life concentrated into one semester. Plus, you need to find some time to study in there somewhere!
At DTU I stayed in Kampsax Kollegiet which was filled with Danish people. I highly recommend this because the Danish people were so welcoming and willing to teach me all about the culture and their sense of humour. I think making friends with local students enhanced my exchange experience greatly! I lived on campus so during the week spent most of the time hanging with people from my kitchen, cooking dinner with other exchange students (Denmark is very expensive so eating out is not really an option) and going to on campus bars. Weekends were spend exploring Copenhagen and its nightlife or visiting other countries.
6 months may seem like a long time, but it is not. Your exchange will be over before you know it so say yes to everything and cherish every moment and friendship!
To read more about Sarah’s adventures (and see some great pictures), check out her blog here.