Since I have already learned some valuable lessons from traveling abroad after only one and a half days in Copenhagen, I thought I would make my first blog post about tips for studying abroad (learning from my mistakes thus far).
First, when you are preparing for your study abroad, don’t wait to do everything in one day. Especially, getting different currency. I waited until the day before I left to try to exchange currency, but my bank (Wells Fargo) said the only option for getting Danish Krones was for them to order it and have it arrive about 2-3 days later, and then I could come back to that specific branch and pick it up. They said they could not order the currency to another bank, it had to be that one that I ordered it from. Luckily for me, I was going to spend about 5 days in NYC before leaving for Denmark, so I found a branch in New York and was able to order the currency in time! NOTE: your bank could have a different policy on ordering currency or possibly another option.
I believe that most banks do have Euros on hand, so you may be able to exchange those right in the bank that day, but I would still check in advance to your leave date. While doing my research on finding the cheapest option of exchanging currency, I found that the cheapest option was exchanging through my bank (they had no transaction fees or higher exchange rates). Airports are indeed an option, and convenient for sure, but they typically have a transaction fee attached to it, so I would suggest not exchanging there. For Denmark, most places are card friendly, so I just got 600 kr ($100 into krones).
Second, for FEMALES: plan your birth control accordingly. I did not even think about how the time difference would affect me until I was on my red-eye to Copenhagen… Make note of the time change and plan how you will change your time you are supposed to take your birth control in the US to the appropriate time in your new time zone. Denmark is 6 hours ahead, so I should’ve started a week before I left increasing the time I took my pill by one hour each day. Now, I am just skipping the one-hour increments and going straight to 6 hours before I am supposed to take it (I’d rather not take it at 3am in Copenhagen)!
Finally, I would suggest learning some Danish because everything is in Danish! This is especially helpful for grocery stores. Try to learn food names for when you come and shop in the grocery store because it will make your shopping experience easier, faster, and less overwhelming. But also, don’t be shy to ask a local what things are because they are very friendly (I thought some type of creme was yogurt, but yogurt actually comes in a carton like milk!). Example below of food in Danish.
Bonus tip: the temperatures can drop quite a bit in the evening so even if you think you’ll be warm and you’re brave, bring a jacket, it gets cold faster than you think.