Alice Logan, English Literature and American Studies, Univeristy of Copenhagen
After just two weeks in Copenhagen, I already feel at home in this beautiful city and am slowly acclimatising to the depths of Danish winter. I defy anyone to not have positive first impressions of this incredible city. Copenhagen boasts beautiful architecture, both modern and Renaissance, canals to rival Amsterdam, a multitude of ornate gardens and the most beautiful harbour that’s so colourful it can cheer you up even when the sky is grey (which it is 90% of the time).
The city seems not dissimilar in size to Manchester which I had not expected, however what was a nice surprise was the Danes’ love of green open spaces. As someone who comes from a rural town in the Midlands, I felt right at home exploring their many parks all over the city. My favourite so far has been the King’s Garden in Kobenhavn K where you can walk around Rosenberg Castle and the adjoining park which has the most beautiful orangeries that are illuminated at dusk.
What I have found hard is the oppressive, relentless weather that Denmark is famous for. The weather has been depressingly grey for the duration of my stay so far and even threatened snow whilst I stayed in the city, much to my displeasure. Whilst giving me a tour of the accommodation the RA even warned me not to be offended if Danes were snappy at this time of year due to the seasonal affective disorder, although at least I wasn’t alone in my bitterness! Having said that, the Danes have developed the concept of hygge that has captured the imagination of the British. We’ve all seen the million and one ‘how to hygge’ books available on the high street, and given Britain’s equally appalling weather, it’s not hard to see why they’ve clung to this Danish brain child. Pronounced ‘hugga’ in Danish, it is the art of creating happiness for yourself through simple gestures . My favourite activity to achieve hygge so far has definitely been afternoons spent in one of many of the artisan coffee shops that the Danes love so much. Regular haunts have fast become the Paludan Coffee shop that is decorated to replicate an antique library and the coffee shop in the Royal Theatre at Kongens Nytorv, both serve excellent hot chocolate and smorrebrod.
Copenhagen isn’t the most obvious city to choose as an exchange student due to its high cost of living, and many people questioned why I chose Denmark for that exact reason. Whilst I was apprehensive to adjust to the higher cost of living compared to Manchester, the jump is actually not as big as people may expect. If you live in halls, like I’m currently doing, you very quickly pick up tips from your flat mates on how to live more efficiently and you can live the typical student life here relatively easily. I’m so pleased that I did choose Copenhagen despite those reservations because experiencing the Danish culture has already been such a fantastic experience and I can’t recommend this incredible city more highly.