Field of study and education institution: Informatics and Computing Engineering, University of Porto, VIA University College
Why did you choose to study in Denmark?
Studying in Denmark was an opportunity provided by my university within the scope of the international student exchange programme ERASMUS. Fortunately, I had the possibility of choosing from a range of faculties from different countries where I could study. Denmark was among my first choices.
I intended to study in Denmark mainly out of curiosity. I wanted to visit the Scandinavian countries and their cultures. Denmark’s lifestyle, history and study facilities together with this long time urge to visit the country, made it a top choice for me. The Danish universities’ and tourism websites gave me the impression that Denmark is welcoming country and I immediately felt comfortable with the idea of living in such a country, several months before I even arrived.
What do you like the most about studying in Denmark?
As an international student, I had the chance of experiencing quite a different way of teaching and learning compared to what I was used to in Portugal. There is a close relationship between teachers and students and communication is constant and positive.
Also, the institution I was at – VIA University College, Horsens – had an international atmosphere and was very well prepared to receive such students. All the classes are taught in English and the institution promotes the integration of international students.
The university did a good job of welcoming the international students. Students from different countries and study areas were placed in teams and challenged to solve specific problems together – which is a good way of getting to know each other. The university facilities were excellent, both within teaching and accommodation, and the school also offered a wide range of activities inside and outside the school.
What don’t you like about studying in Denmark?
I cannot really point out negative experiences during my study period in Denmark.
What do you like most about Denmark and the Danes?
Denmark is a peaceful, wealthy, culturally rich and very well organised country. I would say these aspects are reflected in the Danes as well. I was very pleased by the way the Danes welcome foreign people into their country and make them feel at home, added to the fact that around 90% of the Danes I interacted with spoke English.
What don’t you like about Denmark and the Danes?
The weather – a typical answer, right? I agree that the weather is not perfect but fortunately the country is very well prepared for it. I would say many Danes are used to live too much by the rules and sometimes this might not be so pleasing, although I agree such characteristic is very positive regarding the way Denmark is organised, making it a great place to live, study and work.
Tell us about your best experience in Denmark
Below is a transcript of a text I wrote for my blog about my one year experience in Denmark:
“August 25th was a day that changed my life. I said goodbye to my family in Lisbon’s airport to go towards the greatest adventure and the biggest challenge of my life. I left the familiar, the routines, the predictable, the stillness and I went towards the unknown, the unpredictable, the unimaginable.
August 25th became soon the worst day of my life, with my laptop being stolen in the train and my suitcase getting broken in the plane. After feeling alone and desperate in a complete new unknown world, a breed of a new life embraced me, a new life that lasted for about one year and that would change me forever. I was about to realize it would be the best day of my life.
On August 25th I met the Spanish Team, I got the key to my new room, I met this girl that would be one of my greatest friends for life who showed me where my room was, I met some of the people I will never forget, I had the first of many flat parties that were about to come, I had the first night living on my own, I realized I was living a dream and I started living it.
On August 25th I met people from all over the world who were living the same adventure as me and who were on the same page I was, who wanted to meet me as much as I wanted to meet them, who were excited to know who I was and where I came from and what I did as much as I wanted to know the same things and much more about them.
Since this day I experienced things I had never experienced before and things I would never have experienced in my whole life if I hadn’t gone to ERASMUS. I learned how people who are so different can be so similar, and how people who are so far away can become so close and so dependent from each other. I learned how life should be lived and the taste of enjoying every spectacular moment once at a time. I learned how difficult things can become easy. I learned that the world we live in is a tiny place, and how much there is out there waiting to be discovered. I lived what everyone should live. I grew up. I changed. I found true happiness, I found friends, I found love, I found a life that I will miss forever. The dinners, the lunches with the neighbours, the breakfasts, going to the supermarket, the evenings at the corridor, the table soccer, the trips, the parties, the football matches, the days at the canteen, the days at the beach, the bike trips, the sea, the walks to school, the hugs, the kisses, the tea sessions, the beer sessions, the teachers, the classes, the snow, the Freshman trip, the Danish people, the international people, the Weiss beer, the International day, the Graduation day, the barbecues, my birthday, all the birthdays, Kamtjatka, K-block, Vitus Bering, Crazy Daisy, Koks, the nights in Aarhus, the blonde people, the pretty girls, the Rolling Stones concert, the Kollegium, the P3, the train station, the Italian food, the Spanish food, the Polish food, the German food, and all the other things that can’t be written. I will never forget it. I will never forget them. It was 1 year, but it was a lifetime.”
Do you have some advice on Danish student life in general?
If you are an international student, Denmark is a great country to live, study and work, very well prepared to welcome you.
You will probably have an unforgettable and very positive time there, as I did.