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Dorms Disclosed: Signalhuset Kollegiet

Signalhuset is outside the city-centre but it makes up for it with a vibrant social atmosphere and great facilities, writes our student reviewer

Nestled along an avenue of sleek buildings sits a steel grey structure flecked with red, yellow and cream panels.

With its perforated exterior and shots of colour, Signalhuset Kollegiet provides a youthful break from the sober corporate buildings surrounding it.

Fittingly, Signalhuset is home to about 288 young residents, of which the majority are students. Located in Amager – a short ride southward from the central city – the area of is a mix of modern offices, artfully-designed residences and vast open spaces.

No two apartments are the same

In “Signal” – as residents affectionately refer to it – there are four residents per apartment. Each apartment has a kitchen, a small living room, two shared toilets and four individual bedrooms.

Although the units share the same skeleton, no two apartments ever look the same! What strikes you as you enter someone’s apartment is how differently it’s furnished from your own. From sofas to tables, posters to curtains – every apartment has its individual personality that you may soon grow to recognise as home.

In some way, each apartment ends up being a cumulative memory, as the common area inherits the decor and furniture of past tenants. Yet, it is perpetually reshaped by current residents and therein lies the uniqueness of each unit.

Good room mates are all about luck

Besides the interior, every apartment is also unique due to one crucial element– the people living in it. With its diverse mix of local and international students, chances are high that you’ll end up living next to someone from halfway across the world!

However, your roommates are not options you can pick and choose. It can be daunting that a factor as important as your apartment mates depends solely upon the luck of the draw. If you’re lucky, you could get a harmonious group dynamic that works like a well-oiled machine. Per contra, variations include unfortunate clashes in personalities but by and large, most maintain cordial relationships with their roommates.

Regardless of whether you like your roommates, living in a shared apartment certainly entails shared responsibility. The golden rule: Cleaneth up after thyself!

Needs more communal areas

As mentioned above, Signal houses a fairly large number of exchange/international students which imbues the atmosphere with a desire to socialise. Unfortunately, the general consensus is that the architecture of the building does not fully tap upon that potential, nor does it ideally facilitate it.

This is due to the lack of communal areas within the building itself. Apart from chance encounters in the laundry room and semi-awkward (just the tiniest bit too long) elevator rides up, it’s hard to meet new people in everyday life.

The only communal area is the common room located on the ground floor. It is rather well-equipped with a foosball table, a projector and screen, a disco ball (yeah!) and a full kitchen. However, it has to be booked in advance which makes it a little inconvenient for spontaneous sessions or meetings by chance.

A constant stream of social events and weekly parties

However, that doesn’t mean to say social life is non-existent! Firstly, living with apartment mates already creates a good base level of social interaction. This would be less convenient in one-person single units, where many lament the loneliness of independent living. Humans are social creatures after all! Dining together or just sitting around a table, chatting at the end of a long day provides the much-emphasised feeling of hygge.

Furthermore, there are numerous social events in Signalhuset, publicised via the Facebook group. There are organised tour de chambres, barbecues, hygge sessions, potluck dinners, sports events and many more. These provide excellent opportunities to meet people from all corners of the world (or the block). If you make the effort to socialise, you’ll surely find the friends you’re looking for. And with that many international students, weekly parties are in no short supply!

Convenient public transport and free laundry

Many choose Signal because the metro (Ørestad station) is just a stone’s throw away, making everything highly-accessible. Not to mention, the airport is two S-train stops away which is a brownie point if you foresee a lot of travelling in your future.
By bike, you can reach KUA in 15-20 minutes via a straightforward route that is manageable even for the most directionally challenged.

If nothing above has piqued your interest, then this will surely entice you: free laundry! There are many washing machines and dryers available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Disclaimer: Much to the dismay of other residents, the offer of free laundry only extends to exchange students.) Don’t scoff at the insignificance of free laundry – it’s a huge deal when living on a student budget in one of the most expensive cities in the world!

Amager offers more than you think!

Speaking of free things, there is a library conveniently located a five-minute walk away, where there are computers for free public use. Ørestad Bibliotek provides a conducive place to study when staying in is just too distracting.

Arguably, the largest draw of staying at Signal is its location directly opposite Fields, Scandinavia’s largest shopping mall. Fields is an integral and inescapable part of any Signal resident’s daily life. It houses an entire host of different shops and services, which makes it exceedingly convenient to get anything you require.

Bilka is a grocery megastore that sells quite possible everything you could ever need and more. The gym, Fitness DK, has a large two-level outlet that is open seven days a week. Clothing stores, coffee joint, eating places, electronic stores, beauty stores – you could easily spend hours perusing all Fields has to offer.

Last but not least, as a counter to the buildings, there are many green spaces within the vicinity.

In conclusion, the distance from the city is merely a small price to pay for all the advantages of staying in Signalhuset. It possesses a youthful atmosphere, a colourful body of residents and enviable amenities. It also affords you the potential of sociability while maintaining your privacy.

Living abroad brings a multitude of new experiences, but as the days go by, you begin to recognise your little space as comforting and familiar. Staying in Signal has been a great experience thus far and it is sure to remain a huge part of my memories of life in Copenhagen!

Check out the gallery below to see what it’s like to live at Signalhuset through Cheryl’s eyes. All pictures by Cheryl Kaiyun Lin.

See more details about Signalhuset in fact box upper right

universitypost@adm.ku.dk

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