My semester abroad was amazing. In the following, I will tell you what was different for me in Denmark, my experience as a student and an amazing Danish recipe that every student was crazy for.
I decided to go to Denmark for my semester abroad because I am obsessed with Scandinavia. One reason is probably because my aunt moved to Sweden when I was really young and we visited her every summer break and I connect the feeling of happy holidays with Sweden. When I think of Scandinavia I imagine sailing with friends, striped shirts and cozy brunches at the sea.
Although I had been around to different parts of Europe, prior to my exchange semester, I had never actually been to Denmark. I had not a clear idea what to expect and was a little nervous to say the least. During Introduction Week we learnt that English was taught as a language from grade 3 in Denmark (like in Germany) and although their preferred speaking language is their native Danish tongue, when prompted to, they are all very good English speakers.
My accommodation was organised through the housing department of Aarhus University and I was living in a share-house with other exchange students. This experience was not very new to me because I was living in a shared apartment with my two friends before leaving to Aarhus. My flatmates Aaron from England, Laura from Bremen, Gareth from New Zealand and two Spanish girls Irene and Elvira, were all very nice. Our cute little Danish house and the garden were perfect for our time as exchange students, enabling invitations to friends for cooking dinner all together.
Education, including tertiary education, is free in Denmark. Coupled with the fact that Danish students receive a very healthy student allowance from social welfare, it makes sense that students are expected to attend all their classes. This wasn’t a problem for me because I didn’t have any other commitments as a foreign student but it is interesting to see how a ‘social welfare state’ such as Denmark treats their students. The early stages of my time were filled with learning and meeting new friends. I also was surprised by their innovative teaching methods using Artificial Intelligence and new technologies.
Overall Exchange Experience
The experiences I gained in this short period of time was so invaluable to me for a range of several reasons, but the biggest of these reasons would have to be the amount of personal growth and discovery I had by the end of exchange. These are experiences that I will remember and cherish long after I’ve graduated university and if not for any other reason, this one alone is why I recommend going on exchange to any student!
A word to Aarhus School of Business
Aarhus School of Business is one of the best organised universities with a great variation of courses, qualified professors, innovative teaching methods, excellent food and heart-warming people. The school tries to organize a lot of different events and programs around the year with the aim of educating and connecting their students. I really loved my time in Aarhus. I felt in good hands and safe all the time.
Favorite Places and Activities:
Marselisborg Deer Park
The Deer Park was one of the first meeting points with the international students. The deers were so tame and gentle and you could know that they loved to be fed.
As a Berlin-girl, I definitely enjoyed the beautiful beach. Have a look! It is worth it!
Summer Nights and Bonfire at the Beach with my Friends
Every tuesday the student house organized a dancing or get-together event. It was a great opportunity to see your friends and I will cherish these moments for the rest of my life.
Being Part of a Running Team and Having Nice Chats: RUNAAR – RUN FOR AARHUS
Every wednesday, my Dutch friend Margot picked me up to go running with this amazing Danish running group RUNAAR. It is for free and the atmosphere is mind blowing. There are different paces so if you are feeling a little bit sluggish you can join a little bit slower group. Margot is a trained triathlete so she always forced me to speed up my game. I will always remember the runs at the beach in the suburbs of Aarhus while the sun was going down.
Instagram: RUNAAR – RUN FOR AARHUS
Street Food Festivals and Flea Markets
One thing that I will miss so much are the amazing Danish markets. I went with my Lithuanian friend Ruta to a wonderful flea market and we bought lovely souvenirs. The ease of the Danish people rubs off on you and their innovative ideas to present their food is amazing; one company developed a psychology test and based on that test they created pizza with individualized ingredients and toppings for you. Isn’t this amazing?
amazing food pictures from Aarhus:
Biking! You will not survive without a bicycle in Denmark. My Brazilian fellow student told me he got surpassed by so many smiling eldery people while he was sweating to get up the hill. 😉 Aarhus has a lot of hills. I think my leg muscles really received an advantage of this fact.
Brunching with my Friends at Café Fika
Because Aarhus is really small (compared to Berlin) it was very easy to meet up spontaneously with my international friends for a perfect brunch. Oh, it was great!
Living ‘Hygge’, especially during Christmas Time
Skål was the first word I got teached by my study mentors Niels and Søs. This is a word known in all Scandinavian countries. Skål is a toast to goodwill and friendship. By saying this at a moment of rising glasses, the Danes wish you a good fortune and a good health.
Historically, skål is connected with the vikings epoch in Denmark. According to legends, as a tribute to their gods vikings were drinking wine from bowls made of skulls (Anglo-Saxon “skalle”) of prostrated enemies. Therefore, while doing the traditional skål don’t forget to look in the eyes of your counterpart and say skål back.
Another important feature of the Danish culture is the feeling of coziness and warmth. Hygge is the word used in Denmark to describe an atmosphere of comfort, cozy places and friendship. When you are in Denmark you can feel a spirit of hygge everywhere at every time of the year. However, the high season of hygge is winter time as it is the time when the cold Nordic winds and grey sky makes friends feel much closer to each other and experience coziness in a different way.
Traveling during Breaks
For the people who know me better are aware that I really love traveling since it is an opportunity to learn, grow and meet new people. I went to different places around the Nordic area and Iceland was my favorite destination. I did not believe that a landscape could be this beautiful. We enjoyed riding fluffy Icelandic horses. It is not allowed to import other horse species to Iceland because of the possible extinction of Icelandic horses. We relaxed in the hot bath the nature offered on top of the mountains at hidden places (our Icelandic guide Saga Líf showed them to us) and enjoyed the eruptions of the volcanos Geysir and Strokkur.
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Recipe: coming soon: “Smørrebrød” is Denmark’s iconic dish, often decorated perfectly.
Aarhus School of Business