Aalborg, the fourth biggest city in Denmark, is located in the region of Northern Jutland and is a home to more than 200.000 inhabitants. It is also a popular choice for many international students due to the many opportunities the city has to offer.
Study options in Aalborg
There are two main institutions that provide higher education for students in Aalborg. These are Aalborg University (AAU) and University College of Northern Denmark (UCN). Both of these institutions offer programs in Danish as well as in English.
AAU offers both bachelor and master’s degrees programs and has currently about 20.000 students enrolled, of which two thirds are internationals. There is a bigger variety of master’s programs taught in English than bachelor’s ones, and you can see the full list on AAU's website.
UCN is an academy type of higher education having approximately 8.500 students, and consisting of 2-year AP degrees which can be followed by 1,5 years of Top-up. After finishing these two programs, you have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree, so then you can either start working or apply for a master’s degree at the university.
You should, however, be aware that only for the following year it is possible to study such academy programs in English. Later on, they will be only available in Danish due to the new law affecting English programs in Denmark. You can find more information on UCN's website or you can watch this video briefing the situation.
Searching for accommodation
When looking for accommodation in Aalborg as an international student, there are several ways to do it.
The first option is to look at AKU Aalborg, a site for students to find affordable accommodation. The whole site is, unfortunately, only in Danish, but it is a trustworthy source where you won’t encounter scammers. What you should be, however, aware of, is quite long waiting lists and a deposit of 6 months' rent. The advantage of this type of accommodation is lower-priced rents in comparison to standard flats. Remember to sign up well in advance of your study start, in order to progress through the waiting lists and thus ensure you are offered a place to live in.
The second option is to ask your university for assistance and find out if they can provide any student accommodation. For AAU you can check out this website.
The third option is looking for accommodation on sites like Boligportal, Lejebolig, Akutbolig etc. These sites are more reliable than just random posts on Facebook groups, since the owners are verified. On the other hand, the prices of these places may be a bit more expensive than the offers from AKU, not to mention that in most of them you have to pay a monthly fee in order to be a member.
Nevertheless, here are some useful links:
The fourth option is to search through Facebook groups. This can be a good option for the beginning, while you still don’t have a CPR or if you want furnished accommodation for a shorter time, since a lot of people leave for a couple of months to complete their internships abroad. On the other hand, you should be aware of possible scammers on these groups.
Housing Facebook groups to check out:
When you want to start learning Danish, you can sign up for Danish classes at Sprogcenter Aalborg, which is basically an official language school for learning Danish. In the beginning you fill in a form and pay a deposit and afterwards the classes are for free (deposit is returned once you pass the modules or when you decide to quit the Danish courses).
Another option is to attend free Danish classes at Elsk Aalborg which is led by a group of volunteers. The classes are twice a week: on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and after the classes you can stay there for social activities.
Other options are to learn Danish online either through apps like Duolingo, Memrise, Babbel etc., or to find tutors online.
Tourist attractions in Aalborg
As the fourth largest city in Denmark, Aalborg definitely has some interesting places to offer its visitors. Being located on Limfjorden, there are nice places to go for a walk alongside the fjord. Aside from this, Aalborg has a nice historical center and you can see pretty architecture everywhere you go.
Not only this, but there’s also a number of museums, galleries, street art and parks where you can hang out.
Musikkens hus - House of Music
The music house is an interesting architectural piece located on Aalborg Waterfront and it is the right place for lovers of orchestra and music. It is also a home for the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and a place where a lot of Danish artists perform.
Lindholm Høje is one one of the oldest and best preserved Viking burial sites which is over 1.500 years old. It is located a few kilometers away from Aalborg, on the way to Aalborg airport and is definitely worth a visit.
The Kunsten museum of modern art
This place is an important spot for any art lover, because the building is an interesting piece of art on its own. Aside from this, you can see a lot of pieces by both Danish and international artists.
The Hjelmerstald street is a cosy street full of colorful houses and cobblestone pavement located in the heart of Aalborg. A lot of people like to stop by and take pictures in this marvellous place.
It is Aalborg’s most visited attraction and is loved by any age group. You can see a variety of wild animals such as tigers, giraffes, kangaroos or lions.
It is a public park in Aalborg, located near the train station and it's famous for its ‘singing trees’. It is a great place to hang out with your friends and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of a park.
Cool places to hang out and make friends
Located in the western part of the city, Vestrefjordparken is a great place to hang out with friends, go swimming, play volleyball or even jump on a trampoline. It is very popular among the locals and in summer a lot of people love to spend their time in this outdoor swimming spot.
Østre Anlæge is a nice park located not far away from the center and is a nice place for relaxing, having a picnic or just hanging out with your friends.
Aalborg Streetfood is a good place to get together with your friends and try out street food from around the world.
Nordkraft used to be a power station, but nowadays it is a great cultural hubspot hosting events and exhibitions, sports clubs, restaurants etc.
As its name says The Student house is... well, a great place for students. You can either just hang out with your friends, become a volunteer and meet a lot of people or join any event that student house organizes.
Events and free time activities
Student house: a variety of events and concerts throughout the year.
1000fryd: a culture house and a café that hosts concerts and movie events.
Dice n Drinks: a cosy café located in the center of Aalborg, where you can hang out with friends, go for a beer or a coffee and play board games.
The Intercambio program: Are you interested in languages, other cultures or just meeting new people? You can join one of their events to explore more.
Gigantium: a big culture and sports center located in the eastern part of Aalborg near AAU. It’s a great place for swimming, ice skating or watching an ice hockey game.
Getting around Aalborg
As in any other city in Denmark, biking is the best (and cheapest), especially because the city isn’t that big.
There are, of course, also buses that can get you around, which come in handy especially when the weather gets worse.
On Rejseplanen you can check the public transport schedule and even buy tickets (Rejseplanen is also available as a mobile app). Buses go more often during the rush hours, while later in the evening or at night they are more scarce, so I would recommend using a bike if you, for example, plan a fun night out.
Local volunteering options
Volunteering is a very popular activity among students and it can be a good way of meeting new people, making friends but also doing something new and contributing to society. There are a lot of volunteering options and surely your study program will introduce you to some of them at the beginning of the school year.
Anyway, here is a list of some volunteering options:
Studenterhuset (the Student house) is a great way to meet a lot of interesting people and you get to try out working in a bar.
AIESEC is an international volunteering organisation for young people who are interested in self development and reaching their full potential.
I-life Aalborg is a volunteering organisation led by a group of students who organize a series of events and trips for international students.
Project 2030 is for those interested in world issues and the Sustainable Development Goals.
1000fryd is a great place for volunteering, making new friends and meeting interesting people.
UNYA Aalborg is a student organization for those interested in sustainable development, international relations or just for those who like to debate about various topics.
Where to buy affordable things
One of the best ways to look for cheap or even free items is Facebook: either check out the Facebook marketplace (people really sell anything possible!) or go look in groups dedicated to selling and buying.
Here are some examples:
Another option is to visit DBA, Denmark’s biggest marketplace online where you can buy anything from clothes, shoes, furniture and up to cars or apartments.
Other useful Facebook groups
Jobs in Aalborg:
These are among the most important and useful things to know when you move to Aalborg for your studies.
Hope you enjoy the city and life here!
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