What to expect when you're expecting (to move to Denmark)

A little more than 2 years ago I had just applied for a study place at the Academy and all that time I was anxiously waiting for an answer. A lot of you have probably had similar feelings. And even if you didn't apply this year, you might be thinking about studying at the Academy next year!

Once I got the acceptance letter, I started to plan my journey - plane tickets, what I need to take with me, where am I going to live and all the other practical matters. But no one could have prepared me for the cultural shock I experienced once I moved. So, here goes - I'll try and help you minimise these potential pitfalls, so your start in Denmark goes even smoother 😉

3 things I wish I'd known

Here are the 3 biggest things that I found different once I moved to Denmark from my home country:

1. The attitude of people around me 

I come from Latvia and we are a friendly and nice nation, but sometimes we can be introverted and cold and that's what I was used to.

Moving to Denmark was eye-opening. People here are open-minded, helpful, overall positive and like to live in the moment. Danes welcome internationals and more so than that - internationals welcome other internationals! I thought my first days in Denmark and the Academy would be a little lonely and even awkward. But oh boy, was I wrong! 🤗

On the first day at the Academy which was Orientation Day, I met so many wonderful people, that I still talk to daily. Everyone was trying to support each other, we talked, we laughed and had a beer at the Academy's "basement" café/bar. After that day, Denmark started to feel like home!

2. Currency and prices 

For the first few months, the Danish Krone (DKK) confused me way more than it should have. I was constantly recalculating the prices back to Euros and comparing them to the prices that I was used to at home (even after living in Denmark for almost two years, I still sometimes do it and that's okay - everyone coming from a different country does). It was quite a shock! Prices in Denmark were significantly higher compared to Latvia. This is at least the case for most of my regular groceries (vegetables, fruit, milk products, grains etc). So, for the first few weeks, I had to carefully plan my finances and spending. And it is always a good idea to do it, but especially if you're on a budget.

But I did find out that a bottle of beer is almost half price, and that definitely lifts up the spirits! 🤩🍺

3. Beers and bars 

Having a beer after school with your classmates (on a weekday nonetheless) seemed like a sin before I moved to Denmark. Then I found out that the Academy has its own Café/bar, and a lot of Universities around Denmark do too. Having a light drink after a hard day is an acceptable thing to do here and it also encourages communication and socialisation with people around you! Not a big alcohol fan? That's totally acceptable as well - no one says you can't still be social with a coffee, soda, or water even 😃.

A little bonus; most of the plastic and glass bottles in Denmark have a sticker with "pant" written on it. This means that the bottles (and cans) can be returned to the supermarket, and they are recycled afterwards. You pay the amount of "pant" when you buy the drink in the bottle (a kind of small deposit to borrow the bottle), but afterwards, when you return the bottle, you can get the money back!

2 homes are better than 1

Even after all the struggle and the many things to get used to, Denmark has a very special place in my heart and it does feel like a second home to me!

If you want to know more about my experience in Denmark, you can find me on the ambassador chat, and I'll gladly answer your questions! Cheers 🍻!

Written by:

Alise Z, AP Chemical and Biotechnical Science

About Alise: She loves to dance and enjoys a clever chemistry/biology pun.