Our Basic Survival Kit is out now 🇩🇰

All the survival knowledge you need for your first weeks in Denmark. Shopping, taxes, work or university life.
Download Now
Mar 20, 2021
 in 
Essentials

10 frequently asked questions about studying in Denmark

Denisa Emilia Porime
Moving to and studying in a new country is a complex and confusing process. Here we shed some light on some of the practical questions you might have in the beginning of your Danish journey.
VIDEO
VIDEO

1. What should you pack when moving to Denmark?

What you bring with you when moving here is a subjective matter, since you know the best what you need. However, we could guess a few items that shouldn’t miss from your luggage.

Documents

Notwithstanding which country you are coming to Denmark from, make sure you take all the important documents you need. Some examples: passport, visa, birth certificate, driver’s license, health card, credit card, ID from your own country etc. Such documents will not only be of use during your stay in Denmark, but might also come in handy when you want to travel abroad to sightsee other countries. 

Laptop

The other most important thing to bring with you (apart from ID and other documents) is your laptop. Unlike many other countries, you cannot solely rely on the traditional pen and paper for your studies.

Most of what you do at the university takes place virtually: teachers distributing study materials, having access to your study portal (where you can find information regarding your program, schedule, homework etc.), writing and submitting projects and exams etc.

You will see that your laptop will become like your little baby, as you will be carrying it around for all classes, projects and for studying. Thus, in case you have to buy a new laptop, you might want to take into account a few features, such as size and weight and how well the laptop is suited to your specific study line.

For example, multimedia design students might want a laptop with enough processing power and GPU in order for the required IT programs to run well (e.g. Photoshop, Adobe products).

In addition, you will work a lot with Microsoft Office programs, but if you don’t have them, no worries, the university will provide you with FREE access to these tools.

Luggage with items to pack
Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Warm clothes

The weather in Denmark has many mood swings and sometimes you can even experience more seasons in a day. What is very common, especially during the cold seasons, is (crazy) wind and rain. Thus having warm clothes is crucial for your health in these cold days. You might also want to throw in a rain jacket, umbrella and good shoes for rainy weather. Hat and scarf as well 😅. 

Others

Hygiene and/or beauty  products shouldn’t miss from your luggage. Of course you can find such products in Danish stores, but let’s just say that you might perceive the prices quite expensive, depending on which country you come from.

However, if you want to save some storage space and rely on buying such products from Denmark, Normal is a store that has good deals and a wide variety of products. Check out their website to get an idea of their prices.  

When it comes to bringing medicine with you,  you can most likely do so legally if you are an EU/EAA citizen. The Danish Medicines Agency provides more information in this sense.  An alternative is to buy your medicine in Danish pharmacies (Apotek). The most basic drugs are also sold over the counter in supermarkets (paracetamol, ibuprofen, nose spray, throat pills etc.).

Other items to pack: 

  • chargers and other small electronics you use (earphones, power bank, hair straightener, electric shaver, hairdryer etc.)
  • blanket, pillow, bed covers, towels
  • few basic kitchen items (glass, mug, plate etc.) - although you can find shared utensils in dorms that have a shared kitchen
  • basic pen and paper supplies, if you like taking notes
  • backpack/handbag and accessories
  • bike (if you are lucky enough to drive here in a spacious car)

2. Do you really get paid for studying in Denmark?

In a way, yes! EU/EAAA students are entitled to receive a study grant, called SU. This is a monthly grant students can receive during their studies, meant as financial support.

In order to qualify for it, you need to fulfill certain requirements. Read more about SU in this article. If you want to find out what other types of financial aid Denmark offers its students, check out this article . 

3. What is the monthly cost of Living?

The biggest expense you have as a student here is definitely the rent. Accommodation prices vary a lot, depending in which city you will live, in which zone of that city and in which kind of accommodation (dorm, private apartment etc.). For example rent prices are  higher in Copenhagen than in Aarhus, Odense or Aalborg. 

If you want an even lower rent, seek accommodation in small Danish cities or in areas surrounding the big cities. Keep in mind that in return, you will have to pay more for transportation when you travel to uni or to the city.

Map showing average rent prices per square meter in Denmark
Average rent price per square meter in different Danish regions

Prices for other products/services can also differ from city to city. Here are some price examples in major cities:

Table containing price comparisons in 4 major Danish cities
Approx. prices for various products in 4 major Danish cities

To see a more in depth comparison between prices in major cities, use this website, and simply change the cities you want to compare.

When it comes to the monthly cost of living itself, you could live on approx. DKK 5000-7500 in Aarhus, Odense or Aalborg. The expense would be much higher in Copenhagen, with a living cost of approx. DKK 9500 and over.

To learn more about accommodation in Denmark, check out our article here.

And if you are scared by the huge expenses, watch this youtube video for some money saving tips.

4. What kind of culture shock can you expect in Denmark?

There are numerous things that set Danes apart from other nations. Here are a few examples. 

Culture of trust

In Denmark, people have high trust in each other and in the system. Seeing pets or strollers with babies left alone right outside the supermarket is not uncommon here. Many times, you can even live your valuables unsupervised only to later realize that no one even touched your stuff. 

Cycling culture

In Denmark, there are bicycles, bike lanes and bike parking places almost everywhere, the cycling culture being very well developed here. People cycle due to different reasons (health, convenience, cheaper than buses etc.)  and in all types of weather (and as I mentioned, weather here sucks most of the time).

Depending on where you live and study in Denmark, you can save a lot of money by cycling, that otherwise would be spent on public transportation. It’s true that buying a new bike can be exorbitant, so most of the students choose to buy it second-hand. Fortunately, there are plenty of bike options! We suggest checking out the cycling rules before you hop on your bike, though.

The Danes

Danish people might seem a bit eerie in the beginning. They are very individualistic and private people, who prefer to keep to themselves and to their close ones.

In fact, they might seem quite cold and unapproachable. Maybe this is why for many of us it is difficult to befriend Danes. But hey, they are humans, and quite nice ones, I would add. I cannot remember any time when I approached a Dane asking for help and I was treated badly. In general, they are really willing to help, if asked. They show respect and they also smile a lot (walking on the street, at the cashier’s etc.).

On the other hand , they can be quite direct. There is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes it can be perceived as rude. Anyway, they are honest and not trying to hurt your feelings, so don’t take it personally! 

Funky food

There are certain foods and dishes that are really weird in Denmark, usually because of the unique taste or consistency.

What I have noticed, while being around many international students, is that the majority dislike licorice products. Danes love it!...and they use it as a flavor  in everything (tea, gum, jellies, alcoholic drinks, ice-cream etc.). Without further ado, you should definitely taste it for yourselves!

Licorice candy
Licorice candy - Photo by Hanna Stolt on Unsplash

Other odd foods (or should I say “interesting”) are: liver paté (leverpostej), rye bread (rugbrød), buttermilk (koldskål), rum balls (romkugler) and the list can go on and on.

As tastes are subjective, trying out Danish cuisine is definitely something to look forward to. Just a little tip: watch out for the stinky cheeses, so powerful in their abilities that your whole apartment gets to enjoy their fragrances.

5. How to open a bank account in Denmark?

In order to open a bank account you first need to have your CPR number issued. You will also need a photo ID and a proof of address in Denmark. Once you have those, it is rather easy. Just choose a bank and talk to a nice clerk about opening an account.

Normally, you should be able to open an account even if you don’t have a job (on the basis of your acceptance letter to your studies), but some banks require you to show an employment contract. If that's the case, ask in another bank.

Depending on which bank you choose, they can even have online services in English, which is very useful.  Some examples of banks in Denmark are: Danske Bank, Nordea, Arbejdernes Landsbank, Jyske Bank etc. A non-traditional bank that has entered the market recently is Lunar.

6. How difficult is it to find a student job?

While you can strive for it, you shouldn’t expect to find a part-time job the moment you land in Denmark. In the study-start period the student cities overflow with new students and new internationals, most of which seek a workplace. 

And in case you worry, you CAN get a job in Denmark without speaking Danish.

The key to finding work as soon as possible is networking. Yes, yes, you are new and don’t know anyone...well, get out there, meet people, attend events and why not even mix with the international students who have been to Denmark for some time. Ask your classmates or other acquaintances if they know anyone (who knows anyone) that needs an extra helping hand in their company. When it comes to part time jobs for students, most of us have been hired through friend referrals. 

Finding a job as a student here can be both easy and difficult, very much depending on your persistence.

Read these articles to find out more about finding a job here:

 Is it hard to find a job in Denmark as an international student? 

How to find a student job in Denmark

Bike courier calling on someone's intercom to deliver food
A popular job for students nowadays is being a bike courier

7. Can you learn Danish at your university?

Most Danes speak English well, and because of that, it’s possible to live in Denmark for years without speaking Danish. Yet, if you see yourself here in the long-term future, want to have better employment opportunities or simply want to integrate better in the Danish society, speaking Danish is a blessing. 

Some universities have partnered up with language schools, in which instance you might even be able to take your Danish lessons on campus. Just check your university’s website for any information related to this.  

If your university has no such collaboration in place, don’t worry, you can learn Danish at one of the language schools in your area. And apart from paying a deposit that you will get back at the end of your course, Danish education is FREE! An opportunity definitely worth taking advantage of . 😉

Proud student holding a Danish textbook. Danish flag visible in the back.in
The pride you feel when starting to understand Danish

8.Where do you get cheap things in Denmark?

Once again, a reminder that Denmark is not among the cheapest countries...But it doesn't mean you can’t find cheap essentials at all. 

The first place where you should look is Facebook. There are many buy and sell groups or even groups where others give away their things for free.

A quick search on Facebook (in English and Danish) should reveal those groups in your area (e.g. Free your stuff Copenhagen, Aarhus International Buy and Sell, Gratis ting Odense etc. ). You can also look through Facebook marketplace items or on the Danish buy-and-sell online platform dba.dk


When it comes to saving some money on grocery shopping, we have an entire article about it.

9. What is a disadvantage of studying in Denmark?

Your experience in Denmark is subjective and first you need to live here for a while to identify some disadvantages.

However, if I were to pinpoint something concrete, I would say that if you don’t speak Danish, you will most likely miss great opportunities, both on a personal and professional plan.

There are a lot of international students and expats that seek to attain the “Danish dream”, yet it is only possible in very few cases, if you don’t speak the language.

It is especially difficult when it comes to finding a full time job. There are plenty of full time job possibilities that don’t require speaking Danish (both blue and white collar), but the competition is high as well, especially in office positions.

This is definitely something to think about when you decide on what to invest your efforts during your studies.   

10. What happens after graduation?

After you graduate, you might want to consider a few things, among which deciding on where you see your (at least short-term) future. 

On one hand, you can grab opportunities from all over the world or in your home country. Not everyone stays in Denmark after finishing their studies and that’s ok. 

If you want to remain in Denmark you could consider supplementing your education with a Master’s degree.

Either way, when you are finished with school for good, you might want to start looking for a job. As a student here, you are entitled to receive unemployment benefits right after your graduation. These are meant to support you in your job seeking process.

Apart from monthly financial benefits, you also receive help with your job search. For example, as a member of an unemployment insurance fund (A-kasse) you can participate in consultation meetings, courses and workshops. Should you have any questions related to your job search, you can always contact your job center or A-kasse institution. The job center can also assist you with seeking work within Europe.

What’s the catch? Given that you receive so much financial support and advice on how to find a job, it means you have the obligation to actively apply for jobs, show up to job interviews and partake in meetings with the job center/A-kasse.  


We hope the answers to these 10 questions gave you an idea of living in Denmark. If you have more questions or want to share your own experiences, please address them in the comments below or contact us.

Source:
Image source:
Denisa Emilia Porime
🇷🇴
My journey in Denmark started in 2016 and it doesn't seem like it will end soon. Even though I came across certain obstacles (who doesn't ?) I began to feel at home here.
All posts from author
Student Survival Guide is a non-profit project, started by university students in Denmark. We want to help other students, who struggle with things we've already been through and gained knowledge about. If you want to support us, consider following our Facebook page or YouTube channel. Leave a comment or like, so we can see that our work is paying off.
Thank you,