8 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad in Copenhagen

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CIEE Copenhagen

What is the first thing you think about when you think Copenhagen or Denmark? Bikes? Perhaps the fact that we are a very sustainable society? Perhaps nothing at all? Fear not! If you need any convincing that Copenhagen, the gorgeous historic capital of Denmark, is your dream study abroad destination, here are eight reasons that this is the perfect place for you, written with our trademark Danish humor and “ironi” :)

1. You roll better on two wheels than four 

Copenhagen is one of the bicycle capitals of the world, and every day Copenhageners bike 35 times around the world according to the Cycling Embassy of Denmark (yes, that’s an actual organization here). Most people here own a bike, if not two (you know, in case they lose the other), and we have both car-free roads and bicycle highways here. Nine out of ten Danes own a bike, while only four out of ten own a car.  

Apart from being great for the environment, studies also show that adults who bike to work every day have 30% lower morbidity than their peers.  

2. You are super into sorting your own trash 

We loooove sorting our trash here in Copenhagen – both paper, hard and soft plastics, cardboard, electronics, metal, batteries, bio waste… it keeps going. You can even get money for your old beer cans and soda bottles if you bring them back to the store. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also super rewarding.  

3. You can’t get enough of Danishes 

Perhaps you have tried some of what you in the US call “Danishes” – PAH!! What a disgrace! In Denmark, we take massive pride in creating and eating these little confections, and we almost have as many different types of Danishes as there are days in a year – frøsnappere (“frog snappers”), kanelsnegle (“cinnamon snails”), and gåsebryster (“geese breasts”). Sound yummy? Probably not, but we promise you that they are.  

We do have one confectionary-confession to make – Danishes aren’t Danish (*gasp*). In fact, we call them “wienerbrød” or Vienna-bread here in Denmark, as that is where they actually originate from. 

4. You want to meet and fall in love with a Viking 

Sorry to disappoint you once again, but there haven’t been any Vikings in Denmark since the 1100’s, and the stereotype of the tall, blond, blue-eyed Dane isn’t necessarily true either (which is great! We love increased diversity!). But a lot of the cultural heritage from the Vikings is still alive and well today in Danish culture – like Bluetooth technology, which is named after the Danish Viking king Harald Bluetooth! Viking society was also quite egalitarian and democratic, and both men and women took equal in many of the day-to-day tasks – something that is still very valued in modern Danish society. So if you do intend on finding a Danish partner, we certainly won’t fault you for that ;)

5. You need a little bit of “hygge” in your life 

We definitely won’t fault you for wanting to experience some Danish “hygge” while you are here as well. “Hygge” is one of those words that are sort of hard to translate into other languages, but the Oxford Dictionary describes it as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).” “Ih du milde”, what an “un-hyggelig” explanation! If you actually want to find out what hygge is, we here at CIEE Copenhagen host something called Wednesday Hygge every week, where we hopefully will let you experience it firsthand, which is after all, the best way to learn about something.  

6. You love any excuse to whip out your raincoat and umbrella 

Something that actually *can* be very “hyggeligt” is bad weather – as long as you are inside, snuggled up under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate or tea (bonus hygge points if there are snacks involved). Being outside, completely drenched because you accidentally just stepped in a giant puddle – not so much. But hey, if dancing in the rain is your thing, or if you want to take advantage of a free, very sustainable shower every once in a while, then you can most certainly look forward to some Danish weather! 

7. You enjoy doing linguistic acrobatics 

I have never done a successful cartwheel in my entire life, but some would say that I work linguistic wonders every day when I with perfect ease pronounce words such as “smørrebrød”, “Nørrebro” and “speciallægepraksisplanlægningsstabiliseringsperiode” (okay, admittedly that last one is not the easiest, even for a native speaker). The Danish alphabet has three additional letters, æ, ø and å, but we also pronounce some letters quite differently compared to English and sometimes we just give up on pronouncing half the letters – the island of Amager is for instance just pronounced ‘Amar’. Danish is a lot like French in this way, although sadly somewhat less aesthetically pleasing to the ear. Oh well, you can’t have everything.  

8. You want to find a home away from home 

Okay, we might have joked around a little bit in this post, but this last one is serious enough. We here in Denmark and particularly at CIEE Copenhagen have a strong interest in ensuring that Copenhagen feels as homey to you all as possible, and, when we talk to our students, we get the feeling that this is something Copenhagen is good at. So if you can get used to the at times wet weather and the fact that nothing seems to be pronounced the way it is spelt, but you love Danish pastries, then we are certain that Copenhagen will feel just like home to you in no time.  

Looking forward to meeting you in Copenhagen! Vi ses!