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Student life in Denmark(デンマークの学校生活や学生文化について)

Maki Mizushima

Student life in Denmark

“Denmark, ranked as the number two happiest country in the world” (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56457295)  

Living in Denmark as a young adult can be both exciting, memorable but also as stressful as any other young adult living in other countries. For starters, Denmark is a very compatible country to live and study in if you are a student. The country invites students to various offers that can make their student life easier, and that is why I am very happy to get the opportunity to live in a country, where student life is one other country’s priorities.  

My name is Maki Mizushima, 22 years old, and I am legal Danish, but my roots stems from Japan. Both my mother and father are Japanese and have grown up in Japan. My mother and I moved to Denmark when I were only 3 years old, because of a new opportunity arisen for my mother. She got offered a new workplace as well as the opportunity to take a PhD in Denmark. Since 2003 I have been living in Denmark, so I have been taking advantage of the Danish education system. 


"世界で2番目に幸せな国 "にランクインしたデンマーク(https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56457295)。


私の名前はMizushima Maki(22歳)、法的にはデンマーク人ですが、私のルーツは日本です。父も母も日本人で、日本で育ちました。私がまだ3歳のとき、母に新しい転機が訪れたため、母と私はデンマークに引っ越しました。母に新しい職場のオファーがあり、また、デンマークで博士号を取得する機会もありました。2003年からはデンマークに住み、デンマークの教育制度を利用しています。

What kind of country is Denmark?

Denmark is a quite unique country because of the way the country is build and how the social democratic system just makes sense for everybody living in the country. Even though it is a small country, it is probably one of the best countries to live in because of the many opportunities one may encounter throughout their life. For starters education is free, and only few private schools (elementary school, high school, boarding school, university) cost money. The majority of the students in Denmark choose to study in a public school to experience the “full-package” student life without any other restrains. In the private schools there may be some different rules that usually does not apply for other students. The education students get offered are mostly the same and there are not many differences in what students learn. In Denmark the ministry of education tries to appeal to the Danish general public to get an education, and one of the strongest resources they use are a capital fund they offer a Danish citizen when they enter the educational program. As soon as a Danish person turns 18, they get paid by the ministry of education to go to school every month, where the minimum is about 200$ and the maximum is about 450$. As a 22-year-old not living at home, I get paid about 900$ a month. This sounds too good to be true, and that is completely right. In Denmark you can get a free education as well as free healthcare, but in return every Danish citizen have to pay a very high tax rate. In Japan the tax rate is about 10% but in Denmark the minimum tax rate is 36% and the maximum is 52%. Every person in Denmark who earns some kind of money, even though it may be a part time job, have to pay taxes. In the end, the people of Denmark think this is the better way of living in a country, because every citizen in Denmark have access to the same opportunities. 





School life and culture

In Denmark you start in school when you are 5-6 years old, and then you go to school for about 13-14 years. After finishing high school, almost every young adult chooses to take one or two gap years. In the gap years, people usually tend to work full time and then after 6 months or a year, they choose to fulfil the dream of seeing the rest of the world before entering the educational program again. 

I chose to take two years off before entering university mostly because I wanted to work and earn some money as well traveling, but also because I was not sure what or where I wanted to study. I finished high school in the summer of 2019, and after that I worked at clothing store. Then unexpectedly Covid-19 hit, and I was prevented in travelling so I just worked for two years. 

In the summer of 2021, I finally started in university. In Denmark the average grade from the final exams in high school are the ticket to get accepted in the different universities. In Japan there is an exam before entering a university, but in Denmark the average grade from the exams of all the subjects a student has studied are the way a student can choose a educational program. 

I was lucky enough to get accepted into my educational program, which is Communication and IT at the University of Copenhagen. This educational program contains communication, which are subjects like media-, theory- and method research, and IT, which contains subjects like computer science (programming with HTML, Python and JavaScript), human-centered computering (UI/UX/HCI) and IT-infrastructure.22222222image2

University of Copenhagen is the oldest and second biggest university in Denmark and also where 36.897 (2021) students study at. It has a total of 5 campus in Copenhagen with 6 different faculties. I go on the biggest campus in Copenhagen, which is called Søndre Campus. It is one of the newer campuses, so it is really open and modern. The map shows the different buildings on the campus.






コペンハーゲン大学は、デンマークで最も古く、2番目に大きな大学であり、36,897人(2021年)の学生が学んでいる大学でもあります。コペンハーゲンには全部で5つのキャンパスがあり、6つの学部があります。私が通っているのは、コペンハーゲンで一番大きなキャンパスで、サウスキャンパスと呼ばれています。新しいキャンパスの一つなので、とても開放的でモダンな雰囲気です。この地図は、キャンパス内のさまざまな建物を示しています。 6666666666image6

As shown on the picture it shows how Scandinavia architecture has come to play in the design of the campus (the big holes are the parking space for students’ and teachers’ bicycles). The campus is located in a new developed areas in Copenhagen, Islands Brygge. There is a metro station near the campus as well as a new developed swimming space for when it gets hot in the summer.


The campus also offers various cafeterias as well as cafés and restaurants with prices that are affordable for students.

また、キャンパス内には様々なカフェテリアやカフェ、レストランがあり、学生にとって手頃な値段で利用することができます。  11111111image1

In Denmark the bachelor education takes three years with six semesters and the master education takes two years more with only four semesters. It is most common to take both the bachelor and the master education as it can be harder to find a good job with only a bachelor’s degree. Though there are also many profession bachelors, which is for example an engineering education.  

In the university of Copenhagen, the obligatory class attendance is between 12-15 hours in a week, where there usually is a day of in the week. An example of a week schedule can be seen here.

As I study Communication and IT, I only have two different subjects in a semester, so I usually have a subject in communication on Wednesdays and Fridays and have a subject in IT on Mondays and Thursdays. On Tuesdays I usually work at my part-time job or study for the classes as there are a lot of reading. 





On Fridays there are always Friday-bar, which is a student bar for different institutions. I belong to the institution of Communication with film- and media science as well as other educational programs. At this bar there is always a specific theme every Friday for example beer-pong tournaments or karaoke bar.


In Denmark the drinking culture is very heavy and a little bit wild as you already start to drink in the end of middle school and throughout high school. The cafés at my university also offer beer on regular days. When my group and I finished our last group exam for this semester on the 1st of July, we all bought beer at 4.00 pm on the campus and drank while submitting our exam. The drinking age in Denmark is 16 years old where a 16-year-old person can buy light alcohol like beer, wine, and ciders, but when they turn 18, they can buy heavy alcohol like vodka or other strong sprit alcohol.

For a student the drinking culture is almost a “must” to “fit in” as the main events mainly revolve around alcohol and partying. 




Denmark is an overall happy country

Denmark ranked as the number 2 happiest county fits well with how, people live their life in Denmark, is represented. From growing up and live your young life in a country like Denmark and then to live a happy life after you graduate from university is the cause of how Denmark is structured and how the values of the country, like living life in a relaxed environment, are prioritized. If you ask me if I wanted to live my young life as well as study in another country, I will probably say no, just because of how many great benefits come with being a citizen of Denmark. On the flip side, there has actually been a lot of debate in the recent years about the overall student life in Denmark, and whether the benefits are too costly. The ministry of education has actually cut a lot of the capital funds for the students as the focus on student life has become lower. With that in mind, we don’t know how the future of the new generation of students will look like, but right now it still feels like a privilege to live in a country where your youth is considered as an important element to the future growth of Denmark and its development. You have to remember that the students right now are the future generation of the Danish later prospects. 





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