New students in North Denmark
North Denmark (‘Nordjylland’) consists of 11 municipalities, which are listed below in order of population size, starting with the biggest municipality:
North Denmark has around 560,000 inhabitants, the majority of whom live in Aalborg, Hjørring, and Frederikshavn. Despite the small size of its population relative to area, North Denmark has a lot to offer. Whether Skagen – the ‘top of Denmark,’ famous for its fishing industry, tourism, and point at which the Baltic and North Seas meet – or Læsø, a small island off the coast of Frederikshavn famous for its sea salt, you will find a broad variety of cultural attractions and diverse nature throughout the region.
North Denmark is also home to a number of educational institutions. The main ones are Aalborg University (AAU), which also has branches in Esbjerg and Copenhagen, and University College Nordjylland (UCN), which has departments in Aalborg, Hjørring, Frederikshavn, and Thisted. There are also tech colleges in both Hjørring and Frederikshavn.
Important information about admission into higher education, the transferal of credits and recognition of prior education can be found here.
Aalborg is the fourth largest city (and third largest municipality) in Denmark and the biggest city in North Denmark. More than 200,000 inhabitants live in Aalborg Municipality, many of whom are students and/or internationals. Aalborg used to be known as an industrial harbor city; however, in recent years the municipality has invested heavily in building up its cultural institutions and art and music scene. Few would dispute the fact that the city is now home to a vibrant and diverse cultural life and manages to also maintain its history and charm. This year (2015), for example, Aalborg attracted the world’s attention with the Tall Ship Races, which took place at the beginning of August, and WeAArt, an initiative through which artists from various countries have painted building facades around the city.
Aalborg University has more than 20,000 students; 3,000 of these come from other countries. Many international students choose to come to Aalborg because of its high standard of education, focus on the individual student, and its unique method of instruction (see below.) Aalborg University is the fastest growing university in Denmark. The number of students coming to Aalborg from abroad is also on the rise. One of the main reasons for this is that Aalborg, as a city, is doing a lot to ensure that their international students obtain accommodation, have plenty of opportunities to socialize, and find what they need as newcomers to the area.
Aalborg University is famous for its PBL-model of teaching, or “Problem Based Learning.” This model focuses on finding solutions for actual, existing problems. Aalborg University also distinguishes itself through its focus on group work. Students work together in teams to carry out class projects, which not only strengthens their teamwork skills but also gives them more opportunities to socialize.
Aalborg University and Aalborg are eager to welcome international students, as they believe that internationals contribute a lot to the community and society with their diverse cultural backgrounds and experience. If you would like to know more about Aalborg University or have questions while studying you can contact the international office at Aalborg University here.
University College Nordjylland (UCN)
UCN is a university college that offers applied academic learning and a real life approach to higher education. UCN has approximately 8,500 students. As recently as several years ago UCN had few international students, but due to a great deal of effort to include and integrate students from abroad UCN now has more than 1,400.
UCN is a university college that values its community. The institution encourages freedom of expression in an atmosphere of open dialogue, and critical thought, supported by intellectual integrity and ethical judgment.
UCN offers more than 40 programs and career opportunities for Danish and international students who pursue careers in a professional context. Eighteen of these are taught in English.
To find out more about UCN and its different degree programs please visit their website.
SOSU Nord is one of the biggest social- and healthcare schools in Denmark. SOSU Nord trains a qualified and competent workforce to populate the social- and healthcare sectors in North Denmark.
To find out more about SOSU Nord click here. Please note that this site is only in Danish.
Living in a new country and a new city can be overwhelming. Therefore, Aalborg municipality has created “The Study Handbook,” which contains practical information regarding housing, where to shop, average prices, etc. This information is mainly specific to Aalborg; however, there is some general information that is relevant to all newcomers to North Denmark.
Click here to access the Study Handbook.
Finding the right place to live as a student in Aalborg can be difficult and time consuming. In our accommodation section we have assembled all the information you need in order to make the process of finding a place to live as smooth as possible. Click here for more information regarding finding a place to live as a student in Aalborg.
State Education Support (“SU”) is a benefit in the form of a monthly stipend that all Danes receive when they continue their studies after secondary school. The main aim of SU is to give students as much time as possible to focus on their studies. A student must be over the age of 18 and enrolled in a SU-eligible education program to qualify for the benefit; nearly all higher education programs in Denmark are SU eligible. As an international student, however, you are not automatically qualified to receive SU. You must fulfill certain requirements to achieve “equal status” with Danish citizens and qualify for SU.
Requirements to achieve equal status as an EU/EEA/Swiss student
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss student you will need to work throughout your studies for a minimum of 10-12 hours a week OR have been a continuous resident of Denmark for the last 5 years to qualify for SU.
Requirements to achieve equal status as non-European Citizen
If you are from outside the EU/EEA you will need to fulfill at least one of the following:
- You came to Denmark with your parents
- You are married to or living in a registered partnership with a Danish citizen
- You are working in Denmark
- You have resided in Denmark for a minimum of 5 years
- You belong to the Danish minority in Southern Slesvig
- You fall within Section 2 (2) or (3) of the Act on Integration of Aliens in Denmark
More detailed information regarding the requirements you must fulfill in order to be eligible to receive SU can be found here.
How much is the SU benefit?
The amount of money you receive through SU varies according to several criteria. However, for university students who are 18+ and not living at home it is currently aruond 5,400 kr. per month.
- Make sure you fulfill the demands for receiving SU as an international student. See the information in the section above to find out more about demands as an international student in order to receive SU.
- Before applying for SU make sure you have a CPR-number, Danish bank account, and NemID.
- Make sure you are enrolled at your education institution with a Danish CPR-number
- Make sure your education is SU-eligible. Almost all educations are SU eligible. If unsure you can contact the SU office at your educational institution.
Benefits of having a study job
Having a study job, whether related to your studies or not, has many benefits. As an international citizen you will meet new people in the workplace, expand your network, and obviously earn some extra money. It may also help you learn Danish! Having a study job as an international citizen means that you might also be eligible to receive State Education Support (“SU”). You can find more information about SU in the section above.
How to find a study job
If you are looking for a study job that is relevant to your education, you can check Study Aalborg’s website (below), where you will find a job bank for all students in Aalborg. Aalborg University also has its own job bank (link below this section). On this page (in Danish) you will be able to find study job, volunteer job, and internship opportunities. However, most job postings are in Danish so you will probably need to use a translation tool or find a Danish-speaking person to help you.
Links to finding a study job
Aalborg University’s job bank can be found here.
Study Aalborg’s job bank is located here.
The Local is a newspaper that reports select Danish news in English. They also have a jobs section – and these jobs are for English-speakers only. You can find their jobs section here.
An alternative way of finding a study job is simply to visit companies, restaurants, bars, etc. and hand them your CV.
‘I already have a student job!’ – When you’re employed in a student job in Denmark, there are important factors you should take into consideration. The labour market conditions that apply to the broader Danish workforce are, in general, also applicable to you. This is due to what, in the media often is referred to, as the “Danish model”, which you can read more about here.
A nice way to meet new people and expand your network is by getting involved in an organization whose activities interest you. Being a part of a student organization is good way to meet people that are studying different subjects and come from different backgrounds. A number of the international student organizations in Aalborg are located in the basement of International House North Denmark. Although these organizations have an international focus, many are made up of a mix of both Danish and international students.
Here are the international organizations for students based at International House North Denmark:
- AIESEC AAU
AIESEC offers leadership opportunities, international internships and interaction with a global network to support the development of students and recent graduates. To find out more about AIESEC AAU you can visit them at International House North Denmark or check their Facebook page.
- DSU Aalborg International
DSU Aalborg International is “Denmark’s Socialdemocratic Youth – for internationals.” It’s the youth organization for the biggest political party in Denmark, the “Socialdemokraterne,” which is the British equivalent to “Labour” in England. To find out more about DSU Aalborg International you can visit them here at International House North Denmark or check their Facebook group.
I-Life Aalborg is a non-profit organization established by students with the purpose of arranging social activities and events for students in Aalborg. Visit their Facebook page by clicking here.
- Aalborg Student Radio
ASR is Aalborg’s first independent radio station and North Denmark’s first completely international media source. It offers international citizens relevant news and reports from the local community and organizes events – both its own and as an outsourced partner. Click here for their Facebook page.
- IUVENIS International
IUVENIS Foundation is an international advocacy NGO and think tank based in Aalborg. Its main purpose is to make a difference in society. To find out more about IUVENIS International you can visit them at International House North Denmark or check their Facebook page.
Intercambio is a student organization from Aalborg University. Intercambio coordinates a variety of social events for international students. To find out more about Intercambio you can come visit them at International House North Denmark.
- European youth
European youth is an organization which main purpose is to increase the interest for the EU. But also give more information and thereby further understand what the EU is and why the EU might be the solution and not the problem to many of the problems the individual countries face. To find out more about European Youth you can visit them at International House North Denmark or check out their website and the local Aalborg group.