A Mundusian Guide to living, studying and working in Aarhus

In this guide, we cover topics like where to eat, shop and socialise in Aarhus. Keywords: nature, culture and fun! We also provide helpful information about working, living costs, visa and health insurance.

2020.11.30 | Sabeen Jamil and Giorgia Macrelli

Welcome to Aarhus!

Located on the eastern coast of the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark, Aarhus is the second largest Danish city after Copenhagen and the first home of the Mundus Journalism students marking the beginning their two years of Masters' studies.

The foundation year for the programme is offered at Aarhus University and the Danish School of Media and Journalism. The modules in Aarhus are designed to develop students’ theoretical knowledge and analytical skills in ‘Journalism’ and ‘Globalisation’ studies. By the end of their 1st year, students are trained to take up the advanced courses in their respective specialisation programmes. 

Living in Aarhus

Vibrant, youthful and innovative - Aarhus is a characteristic Danish student city that combines the charms of living in the land of Vikings with the experiences of living in an international city where most people speak English. With its biking trails, sandy beaches, thick green forests, interactive museums and buzzing artistic scene, Aarhus offers a cozy and innovative atmosphere which is great fit for students beginning their Mundus journey.

City of Sandy Beaches and Forests 

Mundusians describe Aarhus as a city of nature, art, cozy cafés and Danish pastries. It is in this city where Mundusians discover the joys of hygge - the Danish concept which doesn't have a direct translation. It loosely means the warm feeling which is brought out by sharing laughter with friends over warm food and hot cappuccinos in candle lit rooms.  

While hanging out with friends inside warm cozy dorm rooms during winters, Mundusians pack picnics in the spring months and head out to Aarhus’ many sandy beaches and green forests.

If you're more of a museum person, you'll have a great time visiting Den Gamle By, the Aros Art MuseumMosegard Museum, Kvinde Museet and taking part in the many cultural events that take place in Aarhus all year round!

Mundusians Recommendations:

Denmark has a reputation for being one of the happiest countries in the world. Just like the other Nordic countries, this is attributed to having lots of things taken care of, like healthcare and a strong sense of community.

Here are some top experiences that Mundusians say you must have to share the Danish famed happiness:

 

  • Get together with your Mundus friends and organize a pub crawl of Friday Bars, the parties organized by students of all faculties on campus: there is one in every building! cheap drinks, music and fun :)

  • Studenterhus Aarhus supports a very active on-campus student life. International nights, karaoke, movie nights, flea markets, trips outside town and festival volunteering are just some of the activities they organize! Most activities are free of charge (apart from trips). The organization is run by students and you can volunteer there as a barista or during events to get discounts and a great international experience. 

  • Enjoy nordic music at The Spot Festival in May and the international musical vibes of Aarhus festuge in September.
  • Discover oriental food and international grocery shopping at Bazar Vest, a huge bazar with products from South Asia and Middle East.

  • Walk through 'Den Gamle By' at night time in winters and enjoy the Christmasy feeling in the old town.

  • Write your term paper sitting under the sun at Den Permanent.
  • Learn to ice skate (if you don’t know already) and enjoy the rinks all over town from December to February.

  • Run/bike through trails in the Risskov Forest

  • Best beach: Bellevue in Risskov!
  • Fan of music open-mics and intimate concerts? Check out the events at Headquarters - on weekends it's also a very nice club with different types of music. Also Fairbar is a good place for open-mics/concerts; as a non-profit café, it often hosts cultural events and flea market. If you fancy improving your barista's skills, you take part in the project and volunteer here!
  • The Dome is a very cute and cosy place where you can get coffee with a friend being surrounded by plants and good vibes. Run by a non-profit, it also hosts events, concerts and festivals that shares the values of sustainability, interculturality and community. You can also rent the whole place for you event/Mundus celebration :) 

There are many more fun activities and events that we recommend you to check out in Aarhus! 

Weather

Aarhus has characteristically Nordic weather with cold, dark, rainy winters and mild summers. Winters here start early and stay longer. So much so that the Danes say that unlike the rest of the world, Denmark does not have 12 months in a year but 15. August, September, October, November, November, November, December ;).

But don’t let the dark stormy November put you off from getting outside and exploring! Our advice is to invest in some nice warm clothes and winter jackets when you come here and enjoy the weather.

Oh, and while you are at it, don’t forget that your way through Danish winters is not just through warm clothes, it is through covering yourself in several layers to fight cold and wind.

Living Expenses

Mundusians define Aarhus as a relatively expensive city where you can maintain a comfortable living for €650-€1000 per month depending on your personal spending style.

Here is a break down of the average monthly expenses in Aarhus:

  • Housing: €300-€1000

  • Health insurance: €0 - medical treatment in Aarhus is free and these expenses are covered by the Danish Health Security Act once you receive your personal registration (CPR) number.

  • Transportation: €0-€50/ month. Aarhus is not very big and most students bike to school. Getting a second-hand bike is very easy, Sell you bike and other Facebook groups always have something for you. the price ranges from 50 to 150€ depending on what you are looking for!   
    If you would prefer to take a bus ride, there are different packages available for your daily, weekly and monthly usage. Check out this link!

  • Groceries: €250-€350/ month (vegan, organic & halal groceries cost more comparatively)

  • Entertainment: It depends on how much you want to spend. Student discounts and deals are available in most places.

Groceries & Supermarkets

Our alumni’s top picks for grocery shops are Netto, Aldi, Lidl, Rema, Føtex and Fakta. These supermarkets offer affordable prices (Føtex a bit less compared to others), regular discount and you can find them pretty much near every dorm. In most supermarkets you can find reduced prices for food with a short deadline. 

Ethnic supermarkets that sell African, Asian & Halal products are a bit more costly but they stock every delicacy and spice that you can miss from home!

Living on a Budget

Aarhus is a bit on the high-end of the expense scale but it is a student-friendly city and there are many options available for those who are living on a budget.

For eating out, we recommend you to check out restaurants and cafes in and around the campus. They offer delicious danish sandwiches, salads, desserts and coffee for more affordable prices. The restaurants, food stalls and bars at the Bazar Vest , Aarhus Central Food Market and Aarhus Street Food also offer great food and drinks without leaving a dent in your budget.

For shopping on a budget, Aarhus features dozens of charity shops and second-hand stores where students can get warm clothes or household items really cheap. We recommend you to check out flea markets at Godsbanen, Ingerslev, Risskov and Frederiks Allé 16. Other than the charity shops and second-hand stores, the Studenterhus Aarhus also holds a monthly second hand bazaar where you can get nice clothes and household items put on sale by other students for ridiculously cheap prices. Keep your eyes open for the next Bazar when you are in Aarhus!

Another affordable shopping option in Aarhus is Bilka. It is a bit outside the city centre but worth a visit for its discount deals and bulk shopping options.

For outside the campus activities, there are student discounts available on almost all activities including cinema tickets, museums, theaters and operas.

To stay fit on a budget, check out the activities and plans at Aarhus University sports centre and student discounts at local gyms. If those plans don't fit your budget, you can still stay fit for free by making use of the beautiful biking, running and hiking trails spread across the city.

Housing

Finding a room in Aarhus on your own is a bit challenging. But this is nothing to worry about because the Mundus Journalism team will help you find a place to stay before you arrive for the new term. Once you have confirmed your spot in the programme, you will get detailed information about the housing assistance offered by the university. There are serveral options such as regular dorm rooms, shared houses or a studio apartments.

Students who are accompanied by their partner or spouse and kids have alternative housing options. Check out this link!

If you decide to go for a room hunting yourself, our alumni recommend you to start looking for a place to live here 2 to 3 months before you arrive. Be prepared for a tough hunt for housing in late summers, as this is when most students are looking for a room and competition is most fierce. 

Some options to check out for accommodation:

For searching for a room on the private market, here are some options to look at. Please don’t forget that this list is just a recommendation from alumni.


Visa/residence permit for non-EU/EAA citizens

As a non-EU/EAA citizen, the first thing that you need to take care of while planning a move to Aarhus is arranging a Danish student visa. The Mundus staff will assist you with this process as soon as you have confirmed your participation.

Danish immigration law is subject to change, hence we recommend you to check out the Danish Immigration website.  

Health Insurance & Medical Services

The Danish Health Security Act covers foreign nationals staying for more than three months. Your Danish health insurance card is proof that you are entitled to free medical treatment, and you must take it with you every time you require health services, e.g. visit your GP or a hospital.

Working in Aarhus

Many students in Denmark have a part-time job. As an international student in Denmark you too are entitled to work while you live here. You can also seek full-time employ- ment when you have completed your studies. 

If you are a Nordic, EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, there are no restrictions on the number of hours you can work in Denmark. If you are a non-EU/EEA student, you are allowed to work 20 hours a week as well as full-time during the months of June, July and August.

But finding a student job is not easy. Aarhus is a student town and dozens of students are competing for each job. Getting a job is even more difficult if you don’t speak Danish. Mundusians usually find it quite easy to get into student jobs at restaurants, cafes, cleaning companies and some retail stores that don’t require you to know Danish. Many Mundusians keep there jobs back home or freelance while studying in the Mundus programme.

Our advice is to start looking for jobs as soon as you arrive and be persistent with your hunt. To avoid unpleasant experiences, we recommend you to bring adequate financial support with you to count on in case you are unable to find a job.

Where to look for work?

  • Danish employers are big on LinkedIn. Update your LinkedIn profile, follow Danish companies and employers on LinkedIn and keep your eyes open for the job postings. There is also a  regular LinkedIn networking event which takes place in Aarhus. Don’t forget to be there and make some connection.

  • Subscribe to websites like Jobbank.dk, Moment.dk and Graduateland.com 

  • Grow your network of Danish and non-Danish friends. Reach out to your network of friends and Mundusians for job recommendations 

  • Reach out to the retail stores, restaurants, bars and cafes and handover your CV

  • Look for remote based or freelance work online

  • Subscribe to the Facebook groups for international students

  • Grow your experience of working in Denmark through volunteer work at the local media and non-media organisations. You might find connections there that can recommend you for jobs

Volunteering

Feeling included in the local community can take different forms: working, studying, socializing with locals, but also volunteering. Some Mundusians did that during their time in Aarhus and they report it made them feel more included in the community, they met many new people and students and took part in meaningful project for them! Here's a couple of tips to find a volunteer opportunity in Aarhus: 

  • Visit the volunteer center: you can book an appointment when they will outline the opportunities that can fit your interests and availability - there are some international/English opportunities where Danish is not required.
  • Check out Aarhus for Solidarity, an association working with refugees and immigrants living in  the Departure Centre Kærshovedgård.
  • Check the website to find volunteering opportunities in Denmark.
  • Another option can be Wefood, a market selling surplus food from supermarkets. They also have thrift shops you can volunteer at.


What's next after Aarhus?

After completing your first year in Aarhus, you will have a few months before you head out to your specialisation city. We will recommend you to start preparing for your next move while you are still in Aarhus. Here are the city guides to help you prepare for the next step of your Mundus journey:



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Tags: Aarhus, City Guide, Living, Studying, Working, Denmark