Erasmus guide for DTU (Lyngby)
Versión española English version
This is an unsharp traduction from the Spanish version of the guide that you can find in the link above. If you feel enough encouraged, please go there, although I think the content it’s almost the same, it’s better explained there… Actually I’m not very good writting in Enlish… :$
As some of you may know, I’ve been studying in Denmark for the academic course 2007/2008. Being more precise I’ve been leaving in Lyngy where the Denmark Technical University (DTU) is located. I arrived there very lost and a bit afraid, and despite I had some information I consider it was not enoguh and I would have really apreciated having more information with the advantages and disadvantages of being as student there. I’m one of those persons who like risks but the information is always welcome…
In the following sections I’ll try to explain what I consider the most important things when travelling abroad for an Erasmus. So there we go… I forgot to say, should you have any question please, do not hesitate to contact me and I would really prefer you do it through the comments instead of using the e-mail so everbody can have some benefit…
¿What is the best option?¿Shared apartment or residence?
Despite I signed up for that thing that the Accomodation Office tries to look a place for you to stay they couldn’t find anything for me, so I arrived there without anything, yeah, a bit scared but honestly, the Accomodation Office there does a nice work and will try to find you anything as soon as possible. You may stay in several places before you find your final accomodation. I know some people who waited up to two weeks but generally the do a great job. I considert that if you’re offered something you should sign up for that and maybe change when you arrive there although, of course, the people who have nothing at least have the priority…
Being honest, if you are going to stay just one year, forget about leaving in Copenhaguen. Lyngby is a small town 12 kilometres far from Copnehaguen. It’s not far away but going and returning every day it’s annoying. Allright, it’s not such a nice village, there’s nothing much to do there, but the Erasmush atmosphere during the week is located in the university and the sourrunding places. You will have enough time to spend in CPH during the weekend. I know some people who wanted to live in CPH to live the city, if you are one of those, have in mind that the travelling will be really expensive…
What you can be offered:
- Shared apartment/house: I guess it’s a good choice, you’ll be in a house full of students and you will be able to speak in several languages. Houses are usually good although a bit old. You should have your own room and a shared bathroom and kitchen..
- Living with host faimily: You’ll be with a Danish family, frankly, they’ll live on their way and so will you do. I know a couple of people in that situation and what they have it’s an small house close to the main one. I don’t think it’s a very bad option but you will probably have some troubles with people visiting you and so with the parties at home depending on your hosts. I think that for an Erasmus year it’s no the best option, and even more if you are going to party a lot… I know some people that lived in that way and they were having a pefect time.. it is a matter of luck…
- Residence: I consider this as the best option, it is where i was. You will probably have your own room, with bathroom and sometimes even kitchen. There is also a shared ktichen. For friends visiting is the best option, you have your own room and you can do whatever you want and whenever you want. Neighbours are usually nice and there is a good atmosphere. The are several residences, lets have a fast look at them…
- Vilhelm Jørgensen Guesthouse: The best one, where I was living. 30 square meters with your own bathroom and kitchen. You will also have a shared garden and kitchen. You will pay around 2800 danish kroners but for me it is reallly worth it. There are 38 rooms and all of them foreing guests (no Danish). But as I have heard, things are chaning there and now it will only be for master students and no more Erasmus. It 12 minutes far away from the university by bike and its located in Virum area.
- Nybrogaard: It is located a bit further but closer to Lyngby. The rooms are quit big but they are unfurnished you’ll have to spend some money on IKEA. There are some lakes outside and a bar where you can have some beers if you are not feeling strong enough to go to the city.
- Kampsax: It is said that it is a good residence. I don’t know anybody that has lived there but rooms seems to be nice and the best part is that it’s located inside the university area so you will not have to wake up early in the morning.
- The are more residences but I don’t know too much about them…
- Campus village: it was said that it was the best, but honestly, I have seen it this year and its not so good they are like barracks shared with 10 people, you are also inside the university area so that is the best point but it is not the best place for partying due to the weaknes of the walls (neighbours will complain). Rooms are a bit small and the shared kitchen its usually a mess.. You’ll share bathroom and free washing mahcines and dryers.
First of all I have to confess that I come from a small university composed by 4 buildings and a small green area. There you will find a huge area, several square kilometers, lots of buildings and even some shops or cafes. For me was amazing but if you’re coming from a big university you won’t be so shocked.
There are some courses that seems to be very good and some others not. I’m studying computer science and honestly I did not find any that fascinated me. Do not really follow the instructions in the course catalogue where they say you should have compulsory coursed before some other courses, sincerely, with a normal level you won’t have too much troubles. Of course, all of them are taught in a perfect English, Danish people do not have any problem when speaking in English and therefore if they see you pretending to join a conversation in Danish, they will quickly change to English so you can become part of.
There is a lot of group work, oral presentations and so on. I don’t want to scare you but it is not like many other Erasmus I have heard about. You will have to study a bit everyday, it is not like in Spain that you can study the last week and then pass successfuly. There you will have to work a bit everyday and thanks to that, you may not have any exams at the end of the period but that reallly depends on the course.
I think it is really really important to be part of the “Introduction week”, i left two examns in Spain to go there. I rathered to loose the first week of class (I came back to Spain) instead of missing the “Introduction week”. During that week they will help you out with all the legal papers, bank accound and some general info about Denmark and even a free Danish class. It is a week for knowing lot of people, they will make some groups with people from all the nationalities and you will probably make some friends there that will last for the whole year (or even more…). Ah, and of course it is a week for partying
I was drunk during 5 days…
The buddy pair it is a Danish student that will help you out the first days. I did not have one and arriving to a new city where you know nobody can be a bit scary. If you are lucky your budy pair will go to the airport to pick you up and try to help you to reach your accomodation. If you do not have one buddy do not worry too much, probably you will fligh with some other students who have one and his/her will try to help you also.
Transportation, ¿how to move around?
Forget the fact of living in Copenhaguen, it is really unsure that you will live there. I know three people living there while the other three hundred are living near the university. The bike it is really really important, to go to class, to go shopping, to go to the parties… It is absolutely essential that you find one as soon as possible. You will hear about police auction offering good bikes for a cheap price, I was there and it was a completly waste of time, they are expensive and most of them destroyed so you will have to invest some money on it… My advice is to go directly to Nørrebro, it is fully of second hand bike shops where you will find a bike for around 700 DKK (even more) try haggle. Or you can try to buy a second hand second hand bike from a student, you will find a lot during summer or december.
I always travelled from Spain with Spanair or Iberia, directly from Madrid. It is quite expensive (around 150€) but you cand have up to 20 kilograms of luggage and they are usually nice and don’t mind if you overpass it if you tell them that you are going there for Erasmus and bla,bla,bla…depending on the person attending you. I find a bad choice travellling to Billund with Ryanair, it is a waste of time, it is not so cheap because you will spend about 30€ in a bus that goes to the city and then a train to CPH. In a relation quality/price I think it is not worth it, but maybe for a weekend of coming back home could be a good option…
- Buses, trains and more…
It is really really expensive, so use the bike as much as you want. Not having lights it is not allowed and you could be fined for that. Nevetheless, police it’s quite nice and they will just tell you to walk till you buy a pair of lights.
When you arrive there, you will hear about systems to cheat, I’m not gonna explain it here, but for sure you will know soon. I have to confess that I’ve done it, at the begining I didn’t want but when you see the prices you change your mind. If they find you cheating you will be fined with 80€ so be carefull… even with that, it was worth it for me, I wasn’t caught and I think I have saved some thoushand kroners…
Money and day life
Being honest, Denmark is really expensive. When I arrived I was told to forget about doing the currency change and was the right option, if you do, you’ll find yourself going crazy. The accomodation will be around 300 or 400 euros (2000 – 2800 DKK) and then for the day life I spent about 100 DKK per day. Less during the week and a bit more in the weekend but more or less is kind of that. I always used the bike, even during winter because it rains less that I expected and I dont consider it a problem. Some people buy a transportation card then you’ll spend more… you’ll realize it when you are there.
When doing the houseshopping you will realize that in Denmark everything close early. At 7pm almost everything is closed so you will have to get used and go shopping before class o just after it.
- Netto: It is the cheapest, a bit small and not a lot of variety. There is one near university and another one in Lyngby.
- Fakta: Kind of the same but with more things, also cheap. There is one in Virum and another one in Lyngby, that last one closes at 9pm so it will be a good place to go to buy some drink before going out on friday or saturday.
- SuperBest: A bit more expensive but full of variety. They have fresh fish and meat. There is one in Virum and another one in Lyngby.
- Irma y Fotex: Really expensive but sometimes there are good bargains. If you need something for a special meal you will probably find it there. Both of them are in Lyngby.
- Of course there are more supermakets and in other locations but those are where I usually go so I can’t be more precise.
Alcohol and tobacco have astronomical prices, if you smoke buy it in you home country (even more if you are Spanish). But if you are thinking in quiting smoking is a really good time to try. Go without it and when you see the prices you’ll avoid buying or more probably you will ask for cigarrettes to your friends… The same happend with the alcohol, tell to your freinds to buy it in your country or at least in the airport. But… if you like beer you are in the right place, the beer is cheaper than water… and its true!!
I think Danish is not essential, maybe if you are going for two years or more you should consider in taking some Danish courses, actually the one offered by the university costs 500DKK and they said it’s not bad, although I’ve heard both versions. I signed up but finally I didn’t assits, it was too dificult for me. There everybody speaks English in a very fluent way so you won’t have problems. If you are good with English you could try the Danish but if you think you should really improve your English there are some free courses offered by the university (3 hours a week), I rathered using that 3 hours having some beers with foreign people, I think it is more usefull but it is up to you.
If you are Spanish (also for Frenchs, Italians, Portugueses…) and your going there to have a year of fun, I’m afraid that you won’t really improve your English. You will probably form a group with people from your same nationality and you will speak Spanish the most of the time. Try to make some foreign friends, the group of the “Introduccion Weeks” is a very good option and be very open mind. Try to make friends from your guesthouse or residence, house mates… I really tried to came back bilingual but was impossible.
You will need the CPR number (it is like the social security in my country) you will be helped during the “Introduction Week” or you can go to have some help to the “Accomodation Office” or “International Affairs”. I brought there the European Sanity Card but I didn’t use it although I went to the doctor.
For me, this year has been incredible, something that really hurts when it is over. It is really amazing and you will learn a lot of things (both academicaly and for live). At the beginign you might be a bit scared, don’t worry, in a week you will be totally integrated and spending really good time.
Some advices: be open mind and be yourselft. If you think that this is going to be an “Orgasmus”, frankly, I think that almost everybody that I have met think the same about it, it is not as gorgeous as it is said. You will know lot of people, probably some relationships will arise both national and international. Just have fun and try to make the most of what I consider the best year of my life. Try to make lot of friends and to keep them, it is always good to travel having free accomodation and also being host of some of them and share your country and culture with them.
Summing up, enjoy and have fun! but do not forget you are there for studying, aren’t ya?😉