Being an international student in Denmark or any other country comes with a lot to handle. On your first few weeks or months of arrival, your life somehow grinds to an uncertanity and attempt to find your rightful place. Everything will look and sound strange all around. From Danish language to the local cuisines and lifestyle, a steep learning curve awaits.
Just to mention, many prefer Denmark for studies because of its somewhat generous requirments. A payment of first semester fee counts as enough proof of financial ability. Moreover, an extra three years for job search after studies becomes available for all international students in Denmark to explore. These plus study jobs, safety and a rpbust social security, Denmark beats so many countries.
Studying in Denmark comes with its own sense of newness
Studying in Denmark is different from studying in one’s home country especially if you are coming from a non-EU country. Culture shock is real as most things are done differently. If you are used to using pen and paper then you have to get used to using a laptop when taking your notes. In your first week of studies in Denmark, you may even wish to go back home.
Although getting off the plane will be great but then, you will soon start missing home, friends and family. Everything will seem to be different including the infrastructure, culture, frinks, food, people and many more. However, don´t overexcited. To be fully settled, you have to go through several adjustement steps. All that makes a difference is just learning to be patient with yourself, those around and new happenings around.
Furthermore, in your first week everything revolves around knowing new things, places and people. All the reviews and videoes watched before arrival may not perfectly fit the realities you land into. So many people who master the art of fitting in would instead refocus their attention towards making new friends, trying to locate places themselves, creating a social netwrok and just being easygoing.
The first week(s) as a student in any Danish university will likley make you feel so out of place. This doesn’t suggest that the environment is repulsive, no way. The sheer fact that you know not a single person around and the few around may be as well a little reluctant to come too close.
Don’t feel awkward, intimidated
As much as you may feel shocked by let’s say the Danish smoking culture or strict guarding of frienships, they too don’t really know about your inclinations. They don’t undertand what makes you tick and will be trying to learn you with time. Remember, so many Danes abhor situations that make them appear rude, bullish or aggressive to foreigners. They may easily pass as a direct inverse of the intimidating Amercans.
Just have it in mind that Danes come across as generally reserved and less talkative until when they have well learned you. As opposed to some cultures that encourage full embrace of strangers, it will take Danses some time before they can trust you. So, they may not open as much to you which doesn’t need to appear offensive. Sooner, you will meet a few bubblier people or more within your circle shall start being much more outgoing with you.
The challenges you may face in your first week of studies in Denmark
As much as studying in Denmark is exciting as you meet new people and get introduced to a new culture, it has its challenges. Some of the challenges you may face are making new friends and language barriers.
1. Language barrier
The primary language in Denmark is Danish. So you will have difficulties adapting in your first week of studies in Denmark as it is even the language spoken in the public transport (Drivers).
To be on the safe side, ensure that you always have your map and location on when using the public transport to ensure that you do not alight at the wrong destination.
Also, since most of your classmates are Danish, when speaking they may switch to their language even without knowing it. You´ll just have to bear with them….lol.
2. Making new friends
Since you are from a different country, making new friends may not be easy. This is because you have different religious backgrounds as well as culture. As difficult as it is, you will need friends, therefore, just be friendly to them and ensure that you get someone with the same interests as you.
3. Culture Shock
Even if you are from Europe or non European countries, when in Denmark, you will feel isolated. Sometimes you will feel anxious and confused. Understanding the school norms may also be challenging but with time you may get used to them. Lastly, you may find the Danish food to be different from your own and have some difficulties in communicating.
Tips of Surviving through first week of studies in Denmark
To survive your first week in Denmark as a foreign student, there are some tips that you need. One of them is getting the local currency. You will need to pay for transportation to and from your Danish university. However, if you have a visa card or mastercard then you can also use them in the shops or when purchasing your ticket.
1. Be quick to make new friends
In ensuring that you do not feel homesick, you should make friends. The friends will help you navigate through the school. They will even show you how things are done in their university (if you are lucky to get one who studied there before). Friendship is an important aspect in a new country as they can show you the location of different offices such as the IT, Library, International Office and not forgetting the cafeteria.
2. Combine your home and new life well
As a student in Denmark, do not consider that it is a new life. Instead, consider it as a combination of your home country and Denmark. You should not consider or do everything differently. For things like food you can still prepare what you used to eat in your home country. If they are not available in the stores you can ask around for Asian, Indian,or even African shops. You won´t miss one in the city where you stay. However, that does not mean that you should not try Danish foods. It is acceptable to try the ones that look appealing to you.
3. Practice proper financial management
Managing finances in Denmark can be challenging because their currency is different. Just ensure that you withdraw some cash in kroner to help you when making purchases in case you forget your bank card. Also, ensure that you plan your finances as you have several months to complete your studies. You should not end up having no money after the first week. Before you spend your money, remember that you are a student and not a tourist.
4. Continue connecting with your family and friends at home
Lastly, remember to connect with your family and friends back home. You can call and chat with your family and friends back home and tell them you arrived safely. Besides, you may also talk to them about your new experiences and they may advise you on what to do. You know they will also help in case you run out of finances.