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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 4) 2015/16

Antonia Tornow, University College Syddanmark, Denmark, Mobility for Study, PHST

Contact of the university

University College Syddanmark, Campus Haderslev                                                                                          

Lembckesvej 7 DK-6100 Haderslev  +45 7322 2400

Contact of the Erasmus office

International Coordinator Lars Pedersen +45 7266 5048 lahp@ucsyd.dk

International Assistant Anne Jeppesen +45 7266 5011 acje@ucsyd.dk

University College South Denmark (Danish: University College Syddanmark) is a university college in the southern part of Denmark. It has campuses in five different cities (Kolding, Haderslev, Aabenraa, Sønderborg, Esbjerg). Teacher education is located in Haderslev.



(CC by Antonia Tornow)                                                                                

Living and Learning together February, Thursday 4th – June, Friday 3rd

University College South Denmark provides a one semester international modular course “Living and Learning together”. The course was partly together with Danish students and international students. The lessons and text material was in English. The courses was a combination of lectures, workshops, group-work, excursions, school visit, Socratic dialogues, and field visits. The courses are for teacher students for primary and lower secondary school. The program is of 30 ECTS.

Erasmus and international students
Erasmus and international students (CC by Antonia Tornow)

1. Education and Culture in Europe (mandatory for all) 10 ECTS
A general introduction to Denmark, Danish history, culture and society and a Danish language course.
We will use various methods: Socratic dialogue: We initiate our dialogues from reading the book Momo by Michael Ende. Project work: We learn from each other’s education systems and create the very best education system.
School experience (two weeks): You will observe the Danish way of teaching and organizing school, and you may try out some teaching yourself as well. The module ends with a final comparative assignment on a topic chosen by you.

2. Creative Learning in Schools and the Freedom Writers Pedagogy (Elective module) 10 ECTS

In Creative Learning in Schools we focus on the creative and “aesthetic” learning processes. Be prepared to work actively with visual expressions, short-film-making and storytelling. As the only University in Europe we have a qualified teacher from the Freedom Writers Academy in the USA. This course will focus on writing as a mean to understand oneself and at times you might feel that this is getting very personal – so be prepared to get a deep understanding of yourself and the conditions of a human life in a late-modern society.

3. Outdoor Learning and Living (Elective module) 10 ECTS

We will move outside the classroom in this module. All classes will depart outside the University, in the nature, or at the Museum in Haderslev. You will live for three days in an Iron Age inspired village and experience how life was in year 500 (B.C.) – 850 (A.C.). We will go back to nature to learn how to take care of the nature in the theoretical light of “World Citizenship”. You will trek along the old “Hærvej” (Oxen road). We will learn how to cook food on a campfire in order to pass that knowledge on to kids in your home country. In this course you must be prepared to be outside most of the time.

Registration process at the host organisation

The registration process was actually quite simple. All you have to do is to fill in an application form with the most important information. The coordinators of Denmark were quite fast and provide you with any needed information. They are always happy to help with any request and if wanted find accomodation for you.

Friday's Cafe

Friday's Cafe (CC by ESN)


Although Denmark is known as an expensive country, I was positively surprised. The only really expensive is, going out to eat and drink. Grocery shopping is only slightly more expensive than in Austria. Luckily we got sometimes invited by the health and nutrition students for lunch at university, otherwise the prices in the cantine are also okay and the food is really fresh, good and offer a large selection. For people, who can't survive Erasmus without alcohol, we used to go to Friday's Cafè every Friday (1 beer around 1,30€). 

Average monthly expenses 

rent about 310€, food+drink about 70 € (some nice people who cooked for me and dumpster diving saved me a lot of money), travelling about 50 €


My Hygge Erasmus

I know, every Erasmus is amazing, but I promise you this one is going to be something special.

Why? There are a thousand reasons I could tell you now, here just some examples:

1 Teachers 
I have never been in such good hands as I have been in Denmark. They were teachers and coordinaters, but they were also much more. The first day of our Erasmus they told us if we have any problems and don't feel good, they will always be willing to give us a mommy or a daddy hug. They cared about our problems and never made us feel bad for our mistakes. They listened to us and tried to solve problems with us together. They even drove us to the office to get our CPR number. Their support was just amazing. Anne was the super fast, organising lady in the background, we would have loved to see more often. Jette, our always caring granny. And Lars our funny and smart companien with his own but hilarious humour. 

2 Education There is a reason why Scandinavia's education system's is known as one of the best in the world. The most important in school is the happy child because an unhappy child is unable to learn. 


What we did in university life, I wouldn't even have expected in my best dreams. 

In Education and Culture we learned something, what is in my opinion one of the most important skills in life, to think yourself and to put something into question. We read the book Momo and discussed together parts of the book. We also told about our different school systems, which was really interesting. One of the biggest projects was, when we had group work for one week to build our dream school. The main work here was the process in the group and not the result. We always used democracy to choose topics or ways of presentations.We gradet ourself because we were the only ones, who saw he development in the group, not the teacher. Another part was to visit different schools and learn about life in Denmark like the food (we cooked danish food) or the government. We also hade some danish classes, which are provided by the government for free and you can continue after about two months if you want.

School practice

I spent my internship in class 0, so the children were around 6, 7 years old. They didn't really spoke english yet, but I learned a lot of Danish there. I worked there with two other students for two weeks and our job was to support the teacher and to introduce small games in the gym. Being there also showed me how children can feel in classes when you speak english to them, how it is to basically don't understand anything. The kids were hillarious and we even could see a parents' evening. In the morning the whole school sang together to start the day. In Denmark the pupils learn a lot by doing and discovering and mistakes don't excist. I found out that school in Denmark is more harmonising and relaxed and teachers and parents work together really well.

Cooking danish food 
(CC by Antonia Tornow)

Lively school day
(CC by Antonia Tornow)

Outdoor Learning and Living was in my opinion the most interesting and extraordinary module. We learned to move the classroom outside the school building, which isn't done often enough nowadays. The most exciting part was definitely the Iron Age village. I don't want to disclose to much, but we stayed there for three days and lived the old way without electricity and running water. Mostly we cooked the whole day and prepared the food cause it took a lot of time. We made butter out of cream, collected wild herbs, slaughtered chicken, prepared fish, baked bread and also we milked the cows or helped to pull the ox cart. Beside that we learned the old dances or games. Also we learned some handicraft, I for example carved a spoon and a knife out of a branch. In general you learn to slow down in life and to simplify life more. Another part of the module was the renaissance walk, where we had to dress up as renaissance people and walk around the city for one day for school classes. The third interesting part was the big walk for two days. We slept in three big tents and we had to bring our own food without any plastic package. Here we learned to focus on the nature and listen to it. But also to test our personal limits. In the end of the day we were exhausted and our feet hurted, but on the other hand we were happy to have succeeded and got rewarded by jumping into the lake.

Cooking in the Iron AgeOx road walkRenaissance walk

(CC by Antonia Tornow)

In Creative Learning in Schools and the Freedom Writers Pedagogy we trained or creative skills. We drew, acted and even published our own book. It showed me again how important creative activities are to express your feelings, to have fun together and strengthen your team work. Especially writing about yourself, your life and the past was intense, and everyone's biography showed a different part of everyon's life. But also having a skype interview with the freedom writer's teacher showed me how important it is, to have a good relationship with your students.

In general I really liked university life in Denmark. I had the feeling to learn something useful for my future as a teacher. And also I was on a personal level with my teachers, called them by their first names, got called by my nickname and had the feeling I could talk with them about anything. In university we only focussed on one module for about one month at the time and didn't get distracted by many differnent courses.

3 Living

Haderslev is a cozy, small old city with everything you needed, beautifully located at a lake and not far from a nice deer park. And in only 50 minutes you can reach the beach by bike. You can barely walk through the city without meeting anyone you know, but this is what I liked about it. The houses called the ghetto by the teachers, I called my home for four months and I loved it. Most of the students were accomodated there in flats of three people with balconies and a huge garden with a view over Haderslev. We used to meet often in other flats or were sitting in the garden having picnics and barbecues or playing with the kids of the neighbourhood. For doing the laundry there was an extra laundry room, most of the students tried to avoid until they had no more spare clean clothes. If anything was broken the erasmus coordinators and the janitor tried to fix it as fast as possible. Other students lived in a flat of eight girls or closer to the center in shared flats. But honestly, if you can choose, choose the ghetto!

(CC by Antonia Tornow)

4 Erasmus family

Probably you often hear that in Erasmus you are not just friends, you are like a family and actually I can say the same about my experience.
We were about 40 students in our erasmus group from different parts of Europe (mostly Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Germany,..) and one from Japan. And in this really short time you get svery close to each other. People in our houses always spend time together, doors were always open and you knew, you could just enter if you needed anything or just wanted to see them.  

5 Denmark 

Denmark is a crazy sympathic and laid back country. Danish people are not very different from austrian people, but the government is awesome and students get a lot of financial support. At this point I also have to confirm the prejudice about the Hygge nation. Shops usually close around 4pm and Danes are just cozy. Basically the same we lived in our Erasmus. You feel safe in Denmark, have a great selection of beautiful landsape to visit and feel like every Dane wants the best for everyone. 

What I learned?

I guess everyone learns from every stay abroad. You explore another culture, a new language and a different way of living. But also you have to get out of your comfort zone and you make friends all over the world. I didn't only learn about the danish culture, but also about the spanish, swiss,.. I learned a little danish, but I learned more spanish. About teaching I learned to see it not too strictly. I saw a different way of teaching than the one in Austria and I liked it more. I saw school without grades and exams, but with respect and fun.

Antonia's advices 

Enjoy every moment of your Erasmus because they pass faster than you realise.

About Denmark, renting a bike is not necessary but really comfortable to get faster in the city or to do some excursions around the city and to the beach. If you want to travel to Copenhagen Rødbillet is the easiest way, however if you go first by bus to Kolding and then take the Rute1000 bus, it is cheaper. What to see in Denmark? I still haven't seen everything at all, but some nice places to are: Årø, Skagen, Rømø, Ålborg, København,.. About the living, don't buy too much, you can't bring it home anyway. If you live in Varberparken (ghetto), there are a lot of people leaving stuff in front of the houses or otherwise there are also a lot of second hand shops in Haderslev.

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me. I am happy to help you: antonia.tornow@yahoo.de

Hope you have a great time like I had it in Denmark,

Antonia (or like in Denmark called, Dino)

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