Cristian Razvan Belu - Köpenhamns universitet
Reseberättelse från Köpenhamn, Danmark
In the city of Copenhagen I had my exchange programme during the previous semester, autumn 2015. The city is the capital of Denmark and it is certainly a very interesting city. The city seems large at first sight, at least compared to other Scandinavian cities I have visited. The city is multicultural and the university has a great number of external students which help to create a pleasant atmosphere. The public transportation is extremely efficient and delays hardly happen. The city is green and bikes are the most common means of transportation. The city is connected by a bridge to Malmö and that makes the entire zone extremely interesting to explore.
University of Copenhagen
I can say that University of Copenhagen and Lund University are quite similar. They have approximately the same number of students. The classes are roughly the same size studentwise. Both have a similar approach when it comes to a number of matters, from teaching to duration/schedule of the classes. They are definitely more similar than different. Some differences reside probably in the schedule nevertheless. Lectures at University of Copenhagen take always place at the same time in the same day every week, whereas Lund University is finely tuned to have classes at different times from time to time. I found the Host University’s schedule a little bit better when it comes to organizing myself.
Another striking difference had to do with the attitude of the professors during classes. I found that at the University of Copenhagen, at least during my three courses, is a bit more problematic to debate a particular issue during the lectures. At Lund we get more time to work together and to discuss and argue different issues whereas at the University of Copenhagen the professors have been more prone to just holding presentations about the particular subject that was the topic of the day.
At both universities, there were a lot of chances to participate and to attend to various events hosted by the university itself. External presentation by guests followed by a debate were common
Due to the fact that I have been living in Lund, I did not have a proper arrival. The introduction week was quite entertaining. The thing that was troublesome was the fact that I was invited to participate in different introductory meetings at more than one faculty and sometimes they had conflicting times. Nevertheless, I felt very welcome and the activities during the introduction week were engaging and refreshing.
As I already mentioned, the study system is very similar. Except that in Sweden students tend to have more time for group work and for debating current issues. Everything was extremely professional nevertheless. You are expected to read beforehand. The curriculum was handed to us at the very beginning, together with the course schedule. We had time to prepare in advance different topics for discussion and the exams consisted mostly of oral examinations of 30 minutes where students were examined on the entire course and on
some individual or group rapports submitted prior to the examination. The grade scale consists of 7 different outcomes, ranging from 2 to 12.
The first course and the most encompassing was entitled “Welfare, Inequality and Mobility” and was held at the Faculty of Sociology. The teacher was Peter Abrahamsson and he is a distinguished figure among researchers who work with comparative study on welfare. The workload was quite big. It consisted of 2000 pages of readings and we were asked to buy the books. The examination method was oral. The course was based on the different welfare regimes which exist in the current world, how they formed, and what are their consequences on the overall population. The workload was a bit higher, I would say by 15 ‐ 25% that a course of 15 ECTS within European Studies.
The second course was called “Danish culture” and had 7.5 ECTS. We had many presentations on different topics such as Danish music, history, films, welfare state, architecture etc. We had also a few trips to museums and castles to discover the Danish architecture and culture. The faculty supported all the costs. We had at least 10 teachers for the whole course. To pass the course you had to have over 80% attendance rate and the grade consisted of Pass/Failed. There was no examination per se, only teacher presentations all the way. The workload was fairly limited I would say. Although they were expecting the students to read various articles, my experience was that only maybe 10% of the students were doing so, since that would not affect their grade.
The last and third course (7.5 ECTS) was called “Climate change from the local to the global level” and took place within the Faculty of Political Science. The teacher was Jens Hoff. This course was the best one in terms of organization. Everything was fairly clear. We had 4 hours of classes per week, in the same day. Every class started with a student-‐group presentation of 45 minutes on recent developments within the COP21 from Paris. Everybody was extremely engaged. The workload consisted of around 1300 pages of readings. The examination was similar to the first course in the sense that we had also an oral examination at the end. We were asked to write a synopsis and based on that would our conversation spin around. Workload very similar to the one from Lund University.
I have been living in Lund during the whole time and I did not really experience the accommodation situation. But I know that it is very hard to get a place in Copenhagen.
I have mostly spent time in Sweden during my time in Copenhagen. The Botanical Gardens have been a place where I had been relaxing during my exchange. Due to the fact that the Social Sciences are located next to the Botanical gardens, a lot of the students were hanging out there. However, pubs are probably the most common means of having fun. They are somewhat cheaper that the ones in Sweden also. Libraries, promenades through parks have also been part of my leisure time.
I think that Copenhagen is just a bit more expensive than Lund. This might also have to do with the fact that capitals are usually more expensive than other cities in any given country. The costs have been covered quite easily and my expectations of how expensive it easy were accurately met.
When going from Sweden to Denmark, the cultural life is probably not that different. I think Danes are a bit more direct than Swedes but very social, just like the Swedes. One could also expect more people per square meter than in Lund. Apart from that, the border controls that were established in November between Malmö and Copenhagen were a bit annoying with regards to time spend on the train.
For more info about my exchange period, feel free to contact me.
Text: Cristian Razvan Belu