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Become a volunteer

Student volunteers run most of these aforementioned activities either partly or completely. Getting involved in a volunteer activity is a great way to meet Danes and provides an opportunity to bond over mutual interests and projects. People will usually be happy to hire you or have you join their organisation if you offer your time and dedication as a volunteer, so ask around if you are interested in joining an activity at your university or local student house.

There are many other ways to volunteer, and these are covered in the specific volunteering section in this chapter

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Meeting Fellow Students

The first step to finding “new Danish friends” is knowing where to meet your fellow students. Certain circumstances make for excellent time windows during which you can meet and make Danish friends, even if you don’t know anyone yet.

Some of the ones you’ll encounter as a student are:

Friday bars and parties at your course/institute:

They’re cheap, local and jam-packed with other students from your own area of education. This means, that you will definitely have something to talk about, while drinking cheap beer, drinks or soda, playing board games and complaining about exams together.

Often the institutes have a cheap student-run café, where you can hangout after classes, and chat to fellow students.

If you have any initiatives like this at your school, go there! It is great ways to meet Danish students, especially at the beginning of the semester, where everyone will be looking for new friends and will normally be very social and more open-minded.

University clubs and activities

Most schools have a wide variety of clubs, activities and foreninger (see explanation below) that you can join as a student.

Are you interested in music? Join the choir, the glee club or the yearly revue… Like your local Friday bar? Join the group organising it! Do you want to play a sport? Most institutes have their own football team. If not, the universities should have bigger central sports organisations that you can join. Each institute will often have academic clubs and an alumni organization, both of which have members who will plan social and academic events for their members.

Mentor/buddy programs

The universities have various mentor and buddy programs that provide a safety net, practical contacts and a social network for new international students. If you get a chance to join one, it’s a great way to meet other people from both Denmark and the rest of the world, and the people signing up to be mentors or buddies are most likely interested in getting an international network.

Even if you haven’t been in one of the programs yourself, and are a long-term international student in Denmark, ask your local international office if it’s possible for you to become a mentor or buddy in the future. This is a great way to use your experiences to help new international students and to meet new people in the process.

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The Student House – ‘Studenterhuset’

All the major university cities in Denmark have their own Studenterhus aka Student house. They are volunteer run non-profit organisations that organise social activities for the entire university (or all the universities if there are more than one in the city), and provide a social space for all students.

The prices are student friendly and the Student Houses function as cafés, bars, concert venues and event spaces, while providing a host of activities for the student community.

Additionally, the student houses often offer valuable activities for students besides the cheap beers – there can be job fairs, housing events, networking events, and current affairs debates.

Since the student houses are mainly volunteer run, you can either participate in the activities offered as a guest or sign up to help as a volunteer. The latter will definitely ensure that you meet a lot of new friends, and maybe even get some useful job experience on top of that.

The awkward art of the Danish invitation:

If it’s bigger social events like a Friday bar or a class party, everyone in that context is considered invited.

This means that you might not get an “official” invitation to these events, but you are still invited.

If you are unsure about going by yourself, ask your fellow students if you’ll see them there, and make plans to meet up at the event.

For more private social events, you’ll normally be invited. If it’s a private party, it’s common courtesy to RSVP no matter if you can attend it or not.

When attending private parties or hanging out with an already established group of friends, it’s considered polite behaviour to ask before you bring someone outside the group along with you.