1) It’s COLD.
If you are studying abroad in the fall, most programs start during the middle to the end of August. Once September begins, the nightly temperatures dip down to the fifties! Therefore, you will need a jacket when going out at night. On the bright side, unlike nasty frat houses, Danish bars actually have coat checks which cost a very small fee.
2)Bikes are necessities!
One cannot stress this enough: bikes are the main mode of transportation in Copenhagen. Everyone rides a bike to school, to get groceries, and even to go out at night. When buying a bike for the semester, either rent or buy a used bike, but don’t spend over 1500 kroners. Be sure to check out Bike Rental Copenhagen for 20% off online bike rentals!
3)Copenhagen’s fashion is very casual.
Danish fashion revolves around comfort and practicality. Therefore, heels are not common and most Danes wear sneakers or boots when going out at night.
4)Danes are not standoffish at ALL!
Most Danish people are super friendly. Locals are interested in getting to know visitors and are more than happy to help struggling and lost exchange students.
5)Almost every bar has a cover.
Denmark is a very equal and tolerant nation. Despite whether you are a girl or boy, you pay a cover. Make sure you have enough money and credit cards on you at all times. Also, if you’re studying abroad, bring your student ID. Quite a few bars offer discounts for exchange students.
6)Public transport is incredible.
If, for whatever reason, you aren’t riding your bike, public transport in Copenhagen is unbelievable. The complete opposite of the NYC subway, the metro in CPH is clean, easy to use, runs 24/7, and is safe (you can 100% take it home at 3:00am after a night out). The metro also brings you to the airport in 30 minutes or less, which is a plus since cabs are expensive and not popular at all in Copenhagen due to the extensive use of bikes and the metro. A monthly pass is the cheapest option, which you can buy at any 7/11 location. Another option is the Rejsekort travel card that you load money onto and that takes you to any zone of the city (when using this you must check in and out of the subway with your card at the specified machines). Nordic countries have a lot more trust in their citizens than America seems to, so you may or may not have a conductor on the metro that will check if you have a pass. They will give you a ticket if you get caught without one and there is no way to talk yourself out of it.
7)Traveling isn’t cheap.
Copenhagen airport isn’t as big or central as airports in London or Paris are per say, so when people say they traveled around abroad for $40 that is not the case in CPH. It is still affordable to fly if you book in advance, but in general, traveling is expensive.
8)Everyone is drop dead gorgeous.
No other words necessary, be prepared to feel ugly.
9)The city is clean, sustainable, and safe.
Copenhagen wasn’t voted the happiest place on earth for nothing. Every public street, park, or transportation service is well run and clean. Recycling is a must and don’t be surprised by the small size of cars and the wind power turbines. You even have to pay for a grocery bag at the supermarket due to sustainability concerns. Instead of buying a grocery bag, bring a backpack for groceries. Unlike many other European cities, there are nearly no gypsies or homeless people and the number one crime in Copenhagen is bicycle theft.
10) Everyone speaks fluent English, but there are few signs and brands in English.
A huge plus of studying in Copenhagen is that no matter where you go, it is not necessary to ask someone if they speak English because everyone does. However, products at the supermarket, many websites, and signs on the street aren’t in English. Ask anyone for help and a perfect translation is guaranteed.