One of the benefits when you go for exchange at University of Southern Denmark (SDU) is that you’re guaranteed an accommodation once you’ve applied for their housing application. That said, you won’t know exactly which accommodation you’ll be offered; and admittedly, some options are better than others. For this post, I’ll be focusing on my accommodation at H.C. Ørstedskollegiet (H.C.Ø), which is considered the “better” choice along with any tips that may help you in the future (without learning it the hard way like I did).
Interesting fact: The name H.C. Ørstedskollegiet is a tribute to Hans Christian Ørsted, a notable Danish physicist and chemist renowned for his noteworthy advancements in electromagnetism and chemistry. Additionally, the Danish word “kollegiet” can be loosely translated to mean “residence hall” in English.
On “Choosing” H.C.Ø
I’ll begin by discussing how I was assigned this accommodation. Back when I was filling out the application form, there was no option to indicate a preference for a specific accommodation. This is because besides the university’s official hostel for exchange students (Rasmus Rask Kollegiet & H.C. Ørstedskollegiet), SDU also engages with several private landlords for student housing, and these arrangements change each semester. That said, you are able to put in a request in your application, which in my case, I literally wrote “ a cheap place and close to SDU”. Frankly, I was just pushing my luck and didn’t really expect any place that can offer both. Surprisingly, H.C.Ø manages to offer both, though not without its own catch.
Furniture & Utilities
At H.C. Ø, I was assigned a single room that comes with a box mattress, a desk with a set of drawers, a coffee table and a set of shelves. All of this, though, was only the icing on the cake as the pièce de résistance for me was my own private bathroom (This was a huge deal for someone who spends the last 2.5 years in SUTD hostel).
The layout of a single room at H.C. Ø, with the bathroom located next to the entrance.
Some furniture you will be provided with, from box mattress to desk
Apart from that, I also had access to a kitchen that I shared with other tenants on the same floor, which can hold up to 15 people. While this makes it crowded during dinner time, the advantage of the communal kitchen is that a it comes fully equipped with utensils, cooking paraphernalia, and other essentials – all of which are either supplied by the “portner” (the overseer of the housing block, as referred to in Danish) or left behind by previous occupants.
The communal kitchen that I shared, which comes fully equipped with all but chopstick.
I was told by my Danish kitchen-mates that of all the available accommodations, H.C.Ø is the nearest to SDU. I later found out that this purely based on geographical proximity and doesn’t take into account on how one may actually commute to SDU. As it turns out, there isn’t a direct public transport route from H.C.Ø to SDU. While there is a bus station close by, the bus line doesn’t pass by SDU or anywhere close by. This essentially leaves cycling the only available option, , albeit with a bit of an adjustment period.
With that, I set out to purchase a second-hand bike from a Danish “uncle” at 350 Danish Krone on Facebook Marketplace, which was a steal given how I was able to use it for 5 months (the bike was s**t, but it is second-hand so I’m not complaining). The following two months were then dedicated to acclimating to cycling in 0-5°C temperature while carrying a 2.7kg laptop. (This, along with cutting down on rice and boba, made me lose nearly 10kg once I came back).
Don’t let the “Appearances can be deceiving” deceive you. It really is as bad as it looks.
Regarding the rent, I haven’t really had the chance to check with everyone, but it seems that H.C.Ø’s rent was the cheapest out of all available. In details, my average monthly bill was around 2320 Krone, which is around S$460 – about the same price as SUTD hostel’s single room (though if you consider the inclusion of a private bathroom, H.C. Ø proves its value)
Amidst the various advantages,, H.C.Ø, of course, has its fair share of drawbacks that wasn’t made apparent when you first moved in. First of all, the accommodation is close to SDU, which comes with the trade-off that it is pretty far from the city center. In close proximity, the options for attractions are rather limited, essentially comprising a supermarket and a pizza establishment.. Additionally, it’s worth noting that bedding and pillows are not provided in your room, although this seems to be a common practice across many accommodations.
Travelling from H.C.Ø (address Niels Bohrs Alle 23 in pic) to city center takes around 20 mins, which is about twice as long as from H.C.Ø to SDU.
Another point to mention is that H.C.Ø is situated close to a wooded area, which serves as a nesting ground for numerous birds species. And if you’re like me who stay up late and usually go to bed at 3-4am, good luck trying to fall asleep as they’ll be chirping throughout the night (I can vouch that those koel birds in Singapore have nothing on these c*** in terms of annoyance)
The wooded are can be seen on the right.
All things considered , I’d rate this place a 4.0/5.0. Despite the minor drawbacks, I’ve genuinely enjoyed my stay here and would recommend it to anyone embarking on an exchange program at SDU.