AU for Newbies
Aarhus University is an amazing university which attracts equally amazing students. But sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of an intro to the university, who to speak to when there is an issue, and how to meet more people here, because everyone needs a helping hand sometimes 😊
Everyone feels a bit lost when moving somewhere new, no matter how calm and collected they seem. I’m a relaxed person, so I wasn’t super stressed when I moved here, but that didn’t stop me from making mistakes in classes, or suffering the crushing moment when you finally work up the courage to order something in Danish and get a response in English 💀 That last one can still be ongoing sometimes, but I’ve got used to it, and you too will get used to everything here which might feel totally unfamiliar when you are reading this! So, read on to learn about classes, uni services, essential apps to have, and meeting friends here.
Ahh, a 9am class in a building 10 minutes’ walk away… I guess I will leave my dorm at 9:05am then! If this sounds a bit strange, then don’t worry, because it did to me too a year ago. Most classes at AU operate within the ‘academic quarter’ framework, meaning that the class usually only officially commences teaching at 15 minutes past the specified time on your timetable. I am not advising you turn up at the last-minute before your class starts (👀), but I spent the majority of my first two semesters doing so as my lecturers made clear that this was totally alright. So, if your lecturers also approve it, then don’t be afraid to take those extra 10 minutes in bed if you want them! Just remember to do your set reading and homework, and turn up ready to join in class discussions, and it’ll all go smoothly. Here’s a few extra tips about classes which I wish I knew a year ago:
- Stakbogladen is the university bookstore which you can find at the Student House. They also sell some pretty nice AU merch here 😎
- AU Find – this app will help you find your classes and I cannot recommend it enough!
- As a student, you can download the Microsoft Office package to your computer for free
- Your student registration number and your AU ID are different (I know 🙄), but you can double check which is which on your student card
- You will almost always call your lecturers by their first name in Denmark, and emails might not be as formal as you’re used to (but better to be too formal than too informal, at least at first)
Using the Careers Service
You don’t need to have graduated to use the careers service at the university. They can help you in editing your CV to apply for student jobs and internships, as well as help you learn how to write a good cover letter. They can even help you prepare for job interviews! Your faculty’s career service organises free events and workshops throughout the year, which I would really encourage you to attend. I once attended one which was held in Danish just because I wanted to improve my Danish listening skills, but it actually ended up letting me see some great career paths taken by past students! Searching ‘Aarhus University career service’ on Google will bring up the uni’s page, which can give you more information on this topic if you are interested.
Meeting Friends at AU
I have found AU to have an amazing social life, and I have made some of my best friends here. But I also have some great friends who found it harder in the beginning to meet people that they really clicked with, and that is totally normal! I’m not saying it is the nicest feeling, but I just want to assure you that it does get better, and you will find your people 🥰 My top tips for making friends at AU are:
- Put yourself out there! I know this may be easier said than done, but it can be in small ways. Join a sports or common-interest club, try to join in discussions in classes and at Friday Bars, ask your dormmates if any of them want to join you at a Studenterhus event, or take the first step and message someone you met once but would actually quite like to hang out with again. I once messaged someone 6 months after meeting them briefly at a Friday Bar, and now we see each other all the time!
- Join the student ambassador network! The ambassador network is made up of international students who want to help other international students, and it is only as much as you have time for. Some of my closest friends are a part of the ambassador network, and there are events throughout the semester just to get to know each other 😊
- Say yes to everything! Within reason, of course. But saying yes to all invitations you get is a brilliant way to meet new people, even if you might not actually be that excited for the Halloween-themed pottery class to which you were invited.
- I have seen quite a few people post in the Facebook group Aarhus Internationals that they are looking to make new friends, and they usually get a fair number of replies. I don’t know anyone personally who has done this, but so long as you exercise caution and common sense (such as meeting in public), this could introduce you to a lot of potential new friends!
Where Can You Get Help?
If you are struggling, either personally or with university, please know that there are so many ways you can get help ❤ The university has resources such as the chaplains (who are there to chat regardless of your religious beliefs), student and welfare counsellors for each faculty, the anonymous student-run telephone hotline, and the Special Educational Support (SPS) service for students with disabilities. Studenterrådgivningen is also a service which can offer students free counselling sessions both online and in-person, and they have an English site as well as a Danish one. You should contact your GP for more serious issues, who can better advise you and help you to receive the treatment you need. Check out this link https://studerende.au.dk/en/boost-your-student-life/help for more information on help at the university and possible sources of external help.
So, there you have it! An intro to some of the most important points that newbies at AU should be aware of 🙂 If you have any more questions, then feel free to drop one of the student ambassadors a message on our Unibuddy platform or reach out to the relevant department at the university. Good luck!