My friends and family keep asking me a lot about my study life in Denmark. Therefore I decide to write this blog post,with the purpose to answer related questions and maybe help some of you to find your way into Denmark’s universities. I chose to get into the most asked questions of my acquaintances, like if I have to pay study fees, how the university standards are or if I need specific grades to get enrolled (der sogenannte NC auf Deutsch). How much money I need per month for food and accommodation and if it’s hard to find a flat in the first place.
So here are the relevant things you should know, if you want to study and move to Copenhagen or Denmark in general. I base my examples and experiences from my education in Germany, but it is the same for any other EU country.
University Study fee’s
If you are from a country in the European Union, it is for free. You don’t have to pay any fees to study here in Denmark and there are no other costs. Not even for the Master programs, which usually costs a little fortune in Germany. Especially if you want to get into a more desirable study. You are attending the courses here for free, regardless of your educational background . The universities in Denmark have a very high standard.I study at the Copenhagen Busines School, which just got ranked under the top 10 in “QS Top universities for business & management studies”, sharing the list with Harvard University or University of Oxford.
In my personal experiences, the lectures are very small, very personal and with direct contact to the professors. I heard from my friends in Germany that they had courses in Business or Economy with over hundreds of other students in a big lecture hall.
In my case, I never had a course with more than 50 other students. I study Chinese and my language course consist of 20 other students, sometimes even less. It is quite the perfect size to actually learn and speak Chinese and get my questions explained until I fully understand it. There are two different professors in my language speaking class, so everyone can get a lot of attention and help if needed. Moreover, I address my professors with their first name, which builds a closer relationship. It is very common in Denmark to call each other by their given names and not the last names. In Germany you would say, that everyone is ‘duzen’ each other. There are no formalities, whether it is in the lecture, or at the workplace with superiors.
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Copenhagen Business School
Many study programs in Denmark are taught entirely in English. I didn’t have to take a TOEFL Test, when I applied for my Bachelor at Copenhagen Business School, because I graduated English as main subject in high school (Leistungskurs in der Oberstufe und im Abitur). My fellow students had to take that test though. However, it’s not a bad idea to take the TOEFL test, before you decide to take a full time study in English. It is a good way to find out, if you have the required English skills to follow the courses.
The Danish academic application system is devided into three different “Quotas”. Quota 1 is relevant for students, who graduated from a Danish high school. Quota 3 are for students outside the EU/EEA. In the case of German students, Quota 2 is the only relevant one, since you have graduated from a secondary upper school (Gymnasium) outside Denmark, but in an EU country. Every study programme has different requirements of your educational levels. An example would be, if the requirement for study X is History B, it means that you need to have a certain “level” of History education/lessons in high school, not the grade B. This is a very general explanation and it varies from the different studies. You can contact the offices of the university you’ve chosen with any questions. In my personal experiences, the staff members are always very friendly and trying to help you, no matter what your concern is.
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It is really important to keep the deadlines in mind, because compare to Germany, they are quite early. The deadlines for the Bachelor programs are usually mid march for everyone outside Denmark (Quote 2 and 3); the application for any Master programs has to be sent in before the 1st of February. Dates may vary between the different universities though. The application wont be directly at the university itself but through an online platform called www.optagelse.dk . There you will have the opportunity to apply for more than one study program at the same time. The platform will close at the given date at 12 o’clock midday, not midnight.
After you sent in the application, there is not much left to do except waiting for the response. It will take a long time and you wont get any letter until end of July to mid August. I recommend to start looking for a place to stay before you get enrolled. It will spare you a lot of stress, if you get selected by the university and you can enjoy the last weeks of summer.
Flat hunting in general is quite a stressful thing to do, but if you decide to do it in Copenhagen, you surely need nerves of steel. First of all, if you are looking for a nice 1-room apartment for yourself: lower your standards because you either can’t afford it or you can’t find one anyway. Most students live in shared apartments (Wohngemeinschaften) or in student dorms, because the rent in Copenhagen is simply too high. For a small (15 to 20 m²) room in a good and close area to the centre, you have to pay 3500 kr minimum, often even more. That is over 450 Euro for a single room.
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The Money Jar !
How to finance it
It is pretty expensive to live in Copenhagen, but it will be totally worth it. With an extra amount of effort and a bit of luck, you might find a part time job here, which will be paid quite good (120kr minimum wages per hour, this is about 13 Euros). It wont be too easy, but it’s definitely possible to have a comfortable student life, even though the high prices might give you another impression at first.
Looking for a place
But where to find a flat or room, when you can’t be at the location? I found my first place in Copenhagen through groups on Facebook. There will be a lot of other people looking for a place, so you always have to be very fast and on point. If there is phone number given in the post, always call, never write a private message because you will end up being one out of hundreds. You surely have to prepare yourself to get rejected a lot, but hang in there, because you will find a place as long as you won’t stop trying to get one.
Other options to find a place are boligportal.dk or findroommate.dk. These website have a variety of flats and rooms. You have to pay a reasonable amount to get the membership, but after that you are free to browse and contact every ad on the page. I wasn’t a big fan of these websites, because I couldn’t find a suitable place for me.
A lot of students are applying for student dorms, called “kollegier” in Danish, months before they apply for the universities. The waiting lines for these facilities are incredibly long, it often takes more than a year to get a dorm room. As a foreign student, you have a higher chance because you get further on top of the lists, but it will still take a long time. I registered myself in at kollegierneskontor.dk but I gave up when I couldn’t get any higher than position 14 after a year.
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Scammers and fake accounts
Pay attention to scam users. Like in any other big city, Copenhagen is home for scammers, who are using the trust of naïve people to rip them off. Always ask for pictures of the flat and a date where you can come by and take a look. It doesn’t matter if you can’t come, mostly scammers will back up and ignore you, as soon as you mention a personal face to face meeting. Never send any money for deposit before you actually have the keys, see the place and signed a contract. And as usual, if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely isn’t true. Always have the benefit of a doubt.
I hope this blog post will help you for your future decisions. You can write me a private message if you have further questions about something specific.
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