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Oct 2, 2021
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I study Marketing Management at Dania Academy-This is my story

SSG Community
Do you want to know how studying and living in Randers is like? Alica Strabakova, a 3rd-semester Marketing Management student, shares her story of moving to Denmark and gives some useful tips for all newcomers. Check out her story below.
VIDEO
VIDEO

Before talking about my Danish experience, there is a little story to tell.

My whole Danish adventure began the day my mom came back from a cafeteria that held a presentation about Scandinavia, where she found out that studying in Denmark is free.

As she knew I wanted to study abroad she came back home with the question: “Did you know that you can study in Denmark for free?”, naturally I said: “Well, now I do”.

To be honest, it all started as a joke, with the mindset that “If they admit me, I will go, if they don’t,  then never mind". Little did I know that only a few weeks later it would not be only a joke but a serious part of my future…

How did you find out about your program?

First, it was crucial for me to find an agency that would help me with the whole application process (it was easier with all the needed documentation). After that, I was digging through their website. I knew what I wanted to study; I just didn’t know where.

Before even choosing the city where I would spend the next years of my life, I have set up my own criteria:

  • size of the city (not too big, I didn’t like big cities in general)
  • accommodation (my goal was clear – dorms)
  • affordability.

I chose 5 schools and evaluated all of them – and you guessed correctly that I chose Dania Academy in Randers – medium sized city, with very affordable dorms for new students.

Would you recommend your program to others interested in this field?  

Of course I would.

Here is why:

  • Small class size
  • Individual approach from the professors
  • Cooperating with companies
  • Small study groups
  • The professors have previous experience in the fields they are teaching.

Did the program live up to your expectations?  

I would say that, in some parts, it exceeded my expectations, in others it’s just not what I expected. Since Denmark is working with PBL – problem-based learning- I expected to have more study cases.

 

Tip: Do not get scared off when something is not up to your expectations.

Is your uni place to hang out? Or you are going there just to study

If by hanging out, we mean doing group projects, then yes, and sometimes we have some get togethers organised by the Student Council.

On lovely sunny days you can hang out in Randers' parks or green areas

Do you live in a dorm? How much do you pay in rent?

Yes, I live in Randers Kollegiegaard, in a single room. I have my own room (no roommate), my own bathroom and I am sharing the kitchen with others on my floor. I pay 2.144 DKK/month (with everything included).

Accommodation tips:

Make sure you  start searching for housing as soon as possible.
Try finding a roommate (if you are the kind of person who does not mind living with others).

Do you feel like you are getting a good deal at the place where you stay?

Sure, I do. It is a standard room– enough place to sleep, eat and have personal hygiene.

My dorm room

How are you traveling to your university?

I take a bus every morning; the trip takes approx. 30 mins. (Yes, I tried going there by bike, and let me tell you – never again.) 😅

Tips:

Buy a monthly bus ticket (it's worth it!).
If you are travelling from another city, buy Ungdomskort.

Are there good places for drinking/eating in the surroundings?

I live quite far from the city centre (around 3,5 km away), but sure, there are a few spots I like, such as – Café Hugo, Café Cetini and my favourite Burger Shack.  

 

What is one thing you love about your city?

It is quiet and easy to get around.

What is one thing you love about Denmark?

People are quite nice, always willing to help and not having problems with speaking English with you.

Are you attending Danish classes? If so, how are they?

Yes, I do attend classes at Sprogcenter Randers. I am currently on my 3rd module. I quite like the classes, but sometimes they get hard.

Tips before arriving:

Download Duolingo and try to teach yourself a bit of Danish.
Attend Danish lessons – it might help you get a better job/internship.

Do you feel involved in your community? Are you a member of any association?

I have a lot of friends here and I feel like everyone here tries to be very welcoming. I am part of the Student Council.

 

What do you feel like is your biggest struggle these days?

As many of you might know, English-taught courses were highly reduced, and now the biggest struggle is not knowing what’s next or where to next...

Read more about the reduction of English taught programs in this article.

 

Tips if you are struggling:

Don't be afraid to ask for help and to talk about your struggles, there is always someone willing to help, who might have gone through the same hardships as you.

What was your budget, and did you manage to stick to it? 

I was lucky enough to have very supportive parents. They took out the money they saved for me and from that, they were paying for my rent and sending me money for months – I usually got 200 euros per month.  

Tips:

Find a cooking friend (part-time/full-time; you could also split the costs for food).
Every time you go to the store, make a shopping list (you will thus avoid buying stuff you don't need).
If you need some kitchen appliances, try looking in second-hand stores first.
Collect cans and return them to the collection machines, which are usually placed in grocery shops (a way to earn extra money).
On my first shopping spree

How often do you get to travel home and how do you usually travel? 

Last year I didn’t go home (due to the corona restrictions and the fact that I found a job and got SU, so I had to stay).

The first time I got home was in June and stayed there for a month. I must admit, it felt weird to have my mom cooking for me all the time.

Tip:

Stay in touch with your family and friends – whether you are realising it or not, both you and them will change during the time you are away.

How fast were you able to find a job?

I got my first job in October; it was delivering food for Wolt. The salary was good, but getting SU was way more complicated than anticipated, because you are working as self-employed.

My second job was still food delivery, but this time for Waiteer, where I was able to get SU.

Recently I have found another job in Aarhus, in a hotel.

 

Tips:

Do not be picky– every job is still a job, even without SU.
Add yourself to various Facebook job-searching groups.
Send your CV multiple times to the same place– usually you are on some waiting list.

  

Do you think you will stay in Denmark after university and what will be the deciding factors?  

I would love to stay in Denmark – the country matches my vibe. The deciding factor will be whether I get to finish my education here or not. Maybe I will finish my bachelor's somewhere else and come back here for master's, who knows.

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