10. Live in a warm student flat

This one is definitely new. Never in my time in Dunedin would I have lived in a flat characterised a s warm!

My residence is an interesting concept – it is similar to a Hall of Residence in NZ Universities, except that you have a setup more like a house – big shared kitchen and lounge, yet each room is leased out individually. Heating, internet etc are all included in rent so the heaters are always on.The ‘flats’ which is not the proper term over here – I have yet to work out how they describe them – are all in big blocks of 5 or 10 next to eachother in what looks like a giant collection of concrete communist cell blocks.


I later learned from a Danish student who has a friend who works as a cleaner here, that it was apparently built during the cold war as student housing, but also intended as a backup should they suddenly need to fight the communists. The most fascinating part is that there are apparently miles and miles of tunnels under the buildings that were meant to be filled with ammunition supplies. The authorities, however, decided that perhaps that wasn’t a good idea when they realised that 70% of their students were actually communists themselves and would probably bat for the opposition.

The name of the place is “Skjoldhøjkollegiet” which translates to Shield Hill (the area) College. It took a few days to work out how to pronounce it! When all the exchange students were meeting and greeting everyone would ask where eachother were staying (largely in an attempt to find out who was at the same college as you) and each person would sheepishly grin as they attempted to pronounce their accomodation, knowing full well they were way off. Eventually I worked out it is pronounced Skoll – le – hoi – koll – ee – gee – it.

Entrance sign/map

The college is like a student village – there is a small supermarket, bar, gym and a number of clubs/associations. There was even a magazine at one point but apparently it has fallen by the wayside. One of the major bus routes ends there, but a lot of people have bikes. It is about 5kms from the University campus so transport is pretty necessary.

My bedroom is a pretty decent size – could easily fit a double bed or other furniture in there, and I have my own bathroom (that feels a bit like a hospital bathroom). The shower consists of a loose/moveable showerhead that hangs on a hook next to the sink, and when you use it it has to be hung on the wall. I have to keep remembering to put the toilet seat down when I shower as there is no curtain and it points straight at the toilet.

My bedroom for the next 5 months

Toilet and shower facilities

Lounge/Dining table

Ping pong table


There are 847 bedrooms between all of the flats, and each flat has 12 bedrooms. The lounge area is really big, and in my flat there is a makeshift bar, a table tennis table, a decent amount of couches around a TV and a massive long table. In the kitchen I have half of a mini fridge (there are six of them) and lockable cupboard space.

People come and go all the time according to when the University places them, so it it seems a lot of the furniture and decorations have been accumulated over years. Some of the other international students have foosball tables and pool tables in their flats! In one of them there was a very cool ‘decoration’ on the wall, making use of a supermarket trolley.

Awesome “decorations” in one of the flats. Apparently it has been there since the 70s

2 thoughts on “10. Live in a warm student flat

  1. Hi! I was just reading your blog, excitingly I’ve just been accepted to go to Aarhus university on exchange in January 2013, I was wondering whether you could let me know the best types of accommodation? Did you enjoy where you stayed? Were there many international students there? If you could let me know of any other tips that would be great! Thanks 🙂

    • To be honest Skjoldhoj wasn’t the best of the accomodation options. If I were you I would select “close to University” as your priority when applying for accomodation, as a lot of exchange students had nicer, closer and cheaper dorms and apartments – Skjoldhoj is definitely not walking distance. But it wasn’t bad, and had the biggest group of international students. Then again all of the options had lots of international students. The risk though with putting “close to the University” instead of “low cost” as your priority is that you only get one offer, and it may not be all that cheap, if that is your priority…

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