The Mole Diaries: Copenhagen (Volume 2)
Cycling in Copenhagen is a must! Just a few of the advantages of biking are:it is great for the environment it is a way of getting in some exercise (although the Danes will say it doesn't count) it is vastly cheaper than public transport you can really appreciate the beauty of Copenhagen
The city is very bike friendly, with clear cycle lanes and traffic control so there is really no reason to get around the city any other way; even when the Copenhagen cold sets in, biking will warm you up! You can buy a great second-hand bike pretty cheaply; just shop around at independent stores and don't settle for the first bike you lay eyes on. I don't think you can count yourself as a true Copenhagener unless you bike!
A Place to Live
Before I started my year abroad I had heard a few stories about it being difficult to find somewhere to live in Copenhagen. Fortunately for me, I had a friend who had lived in a kollegium the year before I was to set off, so with her help, I applied and was successful. I now live in with 21 Danish students and am having the time of my life!
There is also the housing foundation which is linked to Copenhagen University and this is how the majority of international students find their housing. These halls mean you will live with other international students rather than Danes.
My advice for housing is to explore every single option you have. Google search different kollegiums and dormitories: they tend to stay under the radar to international students. I only found out about my kollegium because I had a friend who had stumbled across it when searching the internet. Also, be organised and look at application deadlines, and be mindful of what you want from your accommodation. If you want a big kitchen filled with people speaking in a language you don't understand, maybe a dorm filled with mainly Danish students isn't quite for you - but that is what the housing foundation is for!
On a last note, there are plenty of independent apartments, flats and rooms available for rent, it's just about being a bit organised!
If you love shopping, second-hand and vintage clothes and a bargain, it is definitely worth checking out the Copenhagen flea markets! There are some which take place every week, and some only once every few months and they tend to stop in the colder winter months. The internet is the best place to find out when and where a flea market is taking place, and keep an eye on facebook events that pop up on your newsfeed too! They are great fun and there is more than just clothes too - anything you can think of can probably be found at a flea market! I recommend going as early as possible to the starting time, to grab the best stuff before somebody else does! And be prepared; you may have to root through a lot of stuff before you find that item that becomes your ultimate flea market purchase!
Before coming to Copenhagen, I was told the same few things:
1. The Danes know how to party
2. It gets really cold
3. It is expensive!
It is no secret that Copenhagen is one of the more expensive cities to live in; however, there are definitely ways to get round this.
Firstly, reign in on the eating out: it is pretty common to always eat out when you go abroad. You want to try the new, different foods and find a new favourite restaurant or cafes, but it really is one of the easiest ways to save money. Limit your eating out until you have a visitor or it is special occasion. If you are really craving a meal out though, explore restaurants that offer deals, both at lunch time and evening, and most importantly, stay away from the city centre and Tivoli. These are the most touristy places so the prices here will be far greater than places found in districts such as Nørrebro and Vesterbro.
Secondly, alcohol. If you go out to a bar, the chances are you will pay quite a large amount for a pint or a cocktail! The best way to get around this is to either pre-drink at home before a night out because alcohol in the supermarkets is actually really cheap, or seek out happy hours! They may not be the during the most suitable hours but they can save you a heap of money, and who doesn't love getting two drinks for the price of one?!
Lastly, fill your day with things that are free! There are a number of museums which are free every day and others which are free on Sundays. The national gallery is also free entry, as are a number of churches and the round tower to get a view of the city. When the weather is nicer, there are an abundance of lovely parks around the city, the beach and the harbour.
Copenhagen is definitely possible on a budget!
Above all, embrace and enjoy the Copenhagen lifestyle. Keep in mind that the Danes are shy, but they are also the loveliest of people; very welcoming and helpful! I was given a piece of advice before I started my year abroad by someone who had just returned, which I always keep in mind and I think is worth sharing:
'Speak the lingo, eat and drink everything, make friends with everyone, never say no, go on every trip & study hard.'