-This is part of a series of posts documenting my 6 months exchange program & travels to Europe from August 2015 to January 2016 last year cause well, even after a year I just can’t get it out of my mind!-
I knew that I loved travelling but I’d never thought I would go on exchange!! All thanks to a sudden urge to randomly apply for it to see if I would get it. It was really a blessing in disguise. I learnt and saw so much, much more than what I would have learnt in Singapore. If you are given the chance, please go for exchange! It will almost certainly be one of the highlights in your University life! Although the drawbacks are the now extremely frequent need to travel but I wouldn’t exchange an overseas experience for the world!
I am from Business Analytics [NUS-SOC] and went for exchange at Denmark Technical University [DTU] in Lyngby, Copenhagen, successfully mapping 6 modules [4 core, 2 UE] and I highly recommend DTU as a destination to consider!
København Nyhavn During Christmas Season
- NUS Exchange Recommendation Letter
- Mapping of Modules
- Partner University (PU) Application
- Danish Visa
- Settlement of Housing
- Booking Flights
- Determine Money Matters
- Travel Plans
- Packing List
- Excited as #%
*having friends are great to check your preparation though I did not stick with them during the exchange!
The first 3 steps of the process are fairly straight-forward with clear information shown on the school’s website and PU package.
Visas should be applied as early as possible as they were totally not kidding about the waiting time.
Housing, was the W.O.R.S.T, worst. I was extremely worried that I had to fly there with no place to stay. Thankfully, about 4 weeks before I flew, I had secured a place at campus village. But the Danes are really nice people, so try to email them asking for help. If planning to stay off campus, look for accommodations that allow CPR registration early. Some websites you could look at are
- Study in Denmark: Provide practical information for exchange students
- Look to Facebook Groups: Room for Rent in Copenhagen, House/Room Renting in Copenhagen, Copenhagen Accommodations, Copenhagen/København- Flat/room to rent, Roommate in Copenhagen, Housing in Copenhagen (Private), Boligsøgende, Kollektiver i København, Lejeboliger til unge og studerende, gratis og sikkert.
- Other useful Facebook groups which would sometimes include available housing: Job, Buy/Sell, Accommodation Copenhagen, ESN CPH: Give-Buy-Sell-Rent, Sell, Buy, Swap- easy and smart /Copenhagen, Free Your Stuff Copenhagen [I personally like scrolling though this last one just for fun!]
But as you might have guessed, trailing so many sites did not really help me then as I still ended up emailing the school for help before managing to get a room at CV.
For the flights, I booked the in and out separately due to 3 reasons:
- I wanted my 100% Krisflyer Miles
- I had not confirmed when I was coming back
- It was too late to book on Singapore Airlines by the time my housing was confirmed as it was extremely expensive
I took Finnair for the flight into Denmark and Singapore Airlines out from Milan back to Singapore. Back then, Finnair had not upgraded it’s planes so they were the old Air France planes but for the extra luggage weight their student fares offered and competitive prices, I was alright with it since it was a night flight and I would be sleeping.
Money matters research should be done thoroughly but the choice really is up to you. Personally, I don’t think opening an account there for a 6 month trip is worth the hassle. I only changed about $3,000 SGD to DKK and had leftovers. I also changed Euros and GBP for the first leg of my trip. Rest of the required currency was brought over by my boyfriend. Most of the leftover currency I switched it to Euro since a large part of my travels will be based on Euros at the end. Furthermore, I would recommend creating an Excel or expense tracker to monitor your expenses. I used Excel and had a master-list and sub-trackers for different trips that involved different people. Going on such a long trip may easily incur more than what you expect to spend. Hence budgeting is extremely important. For my case, I had a budget for each of the following categories: [Denmark] air tickets, accommodation, food & entertainment, transportation, telephone cost, misc and a separate budget for travelling purposes.
For my packing list, I brought almost everything as I didn’t want to buy it there. I am extremely particular about the soap, shampoo and conditioner I use, so I ended up lugging a big bottle of each there. However, most of the stuff brought was meant to be thrown out at the last few stops of my trip to make space for shopping! Clothes-wise, it is better to bring clothes that can be layered up. Your body will get use to the temperature before winter comes so you won’t feel as cold by then! [but this is subjective]. For thermal wear, I bought along 3 sets of Uniqlo’s Heattech which were alright after layering up! There are so many things to think about when you are travelling for 6 months but clothes is the least of your worries, just buy them if you forgot something. And please do not bring too much clothes as washers are available at DTU. I brought about a weeks’ worth of clothes and washed every 3-4 days when I am in from travelling and it worked out fine! Do finish packing early as well!
Lastly, travelling in Europe was practically what I was doing the whole of my journey and there are many ways to scrimp and save while still enjoying luxurious views, stays and food!
Many more posts to come! Do let me know in the comments if you would like anything special to be posted & I might consider posting it when I have the time!