Getting1

Getting involved

“Foreningskultur”

A thing that is unique to Danish culture and socialising is the emphasis on FORENINGER. This is relatively complicated to translate, as it is a Danish/Scandinavian concept that has been a pillar in these countries civil societies for almost 150 years.

A “forening” is a democratic, membership-based organisation with a common theme, goal or activity. A board, consisting of members from the organisation, runs the forening and every member has the right to vote and participate in the activities, given that you pay the membership fee. So essentially those members participating are also the people running the activities voluntarily.

This is how almost all sports clubs, leisure activities, interests based clubs and societies and many of the volunteer organisations work in Denmark, and it is where many people form a network outside work and school. Around 90% of all Danes are a member of at least one forening, chances are there’s a relevant one for you as well out there.

Getting involved in a forening is not only a good way to meet new people; it is also a great way to see one of the culturally specific “very Danish” institutions at work.

If you join a forening to play sports (instead of the local “pay&go” gym), not only do you get to do the sports, but there are normally also a host of other activities connected to it, like parties, fundraisers, commitees to join within the club etc. Therefor it is a great way to get to meet many Danes and form a network.

Volunteer organisations 

A lot of students in Denmark do volunteer work, either on a regular basis or for special events in their city, community or within their fields of interest.

If you’re interested in regular (weekly or monthly) volunteer work, your local Studenterhus is a great place to start. They normally have a big community of volunteer students and do activities related to your life as a student, whether it is bartending at their café, organizing events or doing social activities for other students. If you want to join, contact your local Studenterhus.

The various non-profit cafés and charity organisations in your city can also be a great place to volunteer, especially if you’re in Denmark for more than a few months. The volunteer opportunities here are many and diverse. A lot of these jobs are visible on frivilligjob.dk, but you can also ask your fellow students about volunteer opportunities in your city.

Remember that a lot of volunteer work is done within the various foreninger, so if you’re interested in a particular forening, there are normally many opportunities to get involved here as well.

Many Danish students also volunteer on a more event based volunteering too. This is normally done at music festivals and other cultural events (film festivals, fashion week and historical celebrations are all based on volunteer work as well), and can be a great way to meet new people, have fun and get new experiences without having to commit on a weekly basis.

Google the events you’re interest in several months before the event, normally they do posts about looking for volunteers on their websites.

For big music festivals like Roskilde Festival, you can also sign up to volunteer alongside some of your friends and fellow students, so it becomes a social event in itself. This is how many Danish students finance their festivals, as it does get expensive otherwise on an SU.

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