Exams Schmams – No wait I mean study study study
Sorry it has been a while – I’ve been busy with my job, my exams, and party but not too much party because of job and exams. But just a little party.
This month I’ll try and make up for my recent lack of blogs with one that’s actually filled with useful information about studying in Aarhus. Information such as housing information, courses information and city information and not information about bees. Not even a single fact about the declining rate of bee population in Denmark (at 20.2% over winter), and that Denmark is actually home to 150,000 bee hives. Nothing like that.
What is the housing situation in Aarhus for international students?
When you have been enrolled and you are definitely on your way to the ‘City of Smiles’ you might want to do a little dance or something to celebrate but after that you need to find somewhere to live. It’s a little bit stressful, but not that complicated either. You’ll log onto the ‘self-service’ enrolment system (which is like your online information file) and you’ll go to ‘my housing site’. You’ll fill in an application and make some preferences about what you like best. It involves ranking between ‘proximity to campus’, ‘own bathroom’, and ‘price’.
Everyone is different so I can only suggest that ‘own bathroom’ generally narrows you down to living further out as that’s where the big outer colleges are. Prices tend to be constant – the average is maybe £300 a month which is almost the amount of the ERASMUS grant. Proximity to campus is a bit random. The other option is a preference for a shared house over halls. Shared houses are quiet but generally better positioned. Halls are bigger (maybe up to 12 on a floor) and you’ll more likely be with Danish people. Most people have a great experience wherever they are so don’t get too stressed about what your selection is.
You’ll get an email several months later out of the blue telling you that you have 48 hours to confirm your place or the world collapses into a black hole. This is the most stressful part, especially for me as I found my email about 60 hours later – the international office gave me extra time to avoid the collapse of all visible light and natural matter in a cosmic catastrophe and I was able to confirm my accommodation. Unfortunately, I have heard of people who missed their email, or were on holiday and unfortunately lost their housing. Fortunately, housing is possible to find independently, and you’ll get the benefit of being able to choose where you want to live. My advice is to expect the expected email and check your junk at least every few days. You’ll be fine. Once you’ve got it sorted go crazy and throw your emails out the window because nobody likes emails.
What’s the courses situation like in Aarhus?
European universities and students are more switched on about words such as ‘semester’ and ‘ECTS’ and ‘bonjour’. If you are anything like me however you are quite surprised whenever your name appears on an official university form because it means you’re definitely, definitely a student and you haven’t missed some important registration deadline. But you’ve probably missed a less important deadline.
Aarhus Business School works in two self-contained semesters. You’ll do 30 credits in each. The module list you get emailed will make it clear which ones you can take and which ones you can’t. You just fill it in and email it back. I was enrolled as an economics student, but there were some modules from Business Communication that looked more fun so I picked them and nobody seemed to notice. As long as they don’t reject your selection and make you pick again go crazy.
As an ERASMUS student you’ll also maybe hear a rumour that your grade doesn’t count and all you have to do is pass. To be honest, I’m just hoping and assuming that this is true, but you should find out from your university how tolerant they are on the study/party balance. Sorry, I think I mean the study/’broaden your international horizons to improve your employability’ balance. Never confuse the two. As far as I’m aware, my degree is ‘Economics with Study Abroad’ and if I fail I just get standard old ‘Economics’ or maybe ‘Economics with failed study abroad’. Remember to be considerate to the people in your group projects who have to do really well because it counts towards their grade back home. This can be achieved by generally not mentioning that all you have to do is pass and providing words of comfort such as ‘maybe they grade international students more leniently?’.
What’s the language situation in Denmark?
Danish. And English. You can get by in English fine, but if you want to seem like less of a good for nothing international student you can attend LearnDansk Danish lessons, provided twice a week free of charge. If you are English, it’s probably the only new language you’ll have attempted so I won’t pretend that you’ll be any good. You’ll be terrible but it’s quite fun and you get to meet new people.
What’s the job situation like in Aarhus?
Somehow I got myself a job at an English pub in town where it is acceptable that you are English and only speak English. Most places will want you to speak Danish. If you get a job, you’ll also find you are taxed at like 60%. Because you aren’t a great and welfare giving like Danish people you’ll want to know whether you can get that money back. If you’re working part-time, for just term time you probably will fall under the tax threshold. You need to get a tax card and give it to your employer and hopefully the tax fairy will give you some money back in April.
What’s the party, restaurant, nightlife, cinema, various recreational activities situation like in Aarhus?
Pretty great. The plan is in the next update to go into more detail about things to do in Aarhus as an ERASMUS endowed student. I’ll also maybe cover some exam information too so don’t get too party.
Are there any other situations I should be made aware of for studying in Aarhus?
Not that I can think of now, but please get in touch on Twitter or durhamstudentsabroad, or my personal blog Aaron_Bell95.
PS – It snowed