As is the case with starting a new school in any area, it takes a while to get adjusted.
I was a little skeptical coming to Denmark for school, as not only is it a new school in a different part of the world, but with it comes a new culture, a new set of rules, and a new language.
I realized I was lucky when I found out that literally everybody in Denmark can speak English. Apparently it’s been part of the grade school curriculum for decades, so even the older population is fluent. That in itself made life so much easier.
The university curriculum itself is a lot different from what I’m used to at U of T. Instead of being grades and testing based, classes at Aarhus are very discussion and essay based. Both curriculums offer different things, but I must admit school here seems a lot less intense than what I’m used to at U of T!
Aarhus does a great job of integrating new students into the social aspect of the school community. Campus parties, club nights and pub nights are held by the school societies very often, and it’s a great way to meet a lot of people from all over the world. It’s funny to note that in making friends, most of the internationals have stuck together, while the Danish students seem pretty settled within their own groups. Most of the friends I’ve made here have come from other parts of the world, like me, and it’s been a really cool chance to learn about a lot of different cultures. There are people from Ireland, England, Australia, Germany, Spain, as well as a few other people from Toronto.
The currency here, the Danish kroner, may be one of the hardest parts to adjust to… One kroner is comparable to about 5 Canadian dollars – so 20 dollars Canadian is about 100 kroner. It’s easy to feel like you have a lot more money than you actually do (something I’ve had to deal with more often than I’d like to admit!)
The fact that everyone speaks English has definitely made transitioning here a lot easier. For everyone living in Denmark for more than 3 months, you are able to enroll in a Danish language course for free for up to 3 years. I was going to do this, but once I realized everyone speaks English (and when would I ever really use Danish again?), I decided to not take advantage of that – I’ll focus on my schoolwork instead!
So basically, getting adjusted to life in Denmark hasn’t been too hard. I think the only trouble I’ve really had adjusting has been with the weather… The culture is great, but this rain?! Not so much!
Take care and safe travels,