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Sophie Schmalenberger


Name: Sophie Schmalenberger

Country of origin: Germany

Field of studyMA in European Studies


1. What is the best thing about being a student at Aarhus University?

I really enjoy that I am studying with Danes as well as with international students from all over Europe. Furthermore in my European Studies course we also have a lot of different academic backgrounds from our BA studies. Those multiple perspectives, opinions and criticisms make the discussions and group works we have in our seminars very rich, interesting and inspiring.

2. What worries did you have before applying?

I was mainly worried that my application would be rejected because my BA studies might not be relevant enough for the European Studies programme. In addition I was worried that it might be complicated to find accommodation in Aarhus. Also the question whether I could actually afford living in Denmark for 2 years was something I was thinking about a lot.

3. What is the biggest difference between studying at Aarhus University and where you studied before (please include where you studied before)?

It might sound banal, but the biggest difference for me is the fact that the library is open for students 24 hours a day! At my university back in Berlin, it was annoying to be kicked out of the library at 8 p.m. or 10 p.m. Here I can write my papers and do research whenever I want, no matter how late it is. 

4. What would you like to have known before applying?

I think it would have been nice to know more about the selection criteria as well as about the chances to be accepted for the MA programme; for example some numbers of the students applying/being accepted for the European Studies MA in the previous years.

5. Please give 3 good tips to keeping living costs down as a student in Denmark

First of all: watch out which supermarkets you are going to! Føtex for example is extraordinary expensive whereas Rema 1000, Fakta and Kiwi have more student-level prices. On a weekly basis most supermarkets also have certain products on sale, meaning that they are significantly cheaper than usually:  So if you don’t need to stick to a certain diet it definitely saves you a lot of money to become a “on sale”-shopper.

Moreover, for me, working as a volunteer at Studenterhus Aarhus brought some economic benefits as I get 50% discount on all the beverages and snacks they sell in their Café and at “Studenterbaren”.  

Last but not least: always have your student card with you and watch out for student/”ungdom” (=people under 25) discounts! For example the DSB (Danish Railway Operator) offers the so called “Wild Card” for people under 25: Once bought you can save a lot of money on train rides in whole Denmark (and they are usually quite expensive!) .

6. What is it like to study and live in Aarhus and in Denmark?

It is fun and “hygge” (a unique Danish word for enjoying life's simple pleasures)! Due to the high amount of students living here, the city is very young and dynamic and there is a lot of events and activities for students. I really recommend participating in some volunteer work (there is a lot of different possibilities): It helped me to integrate and meet a lot of people outside my study programme and made friends with other internationals but also with Danes. And once I had Danish friends, the Danish “hygge”-culture got to me faster than I thought it would.

7. What are your plans after you graduate?

I have no to fixed plans for what comes after my graduation. If I had the free choice I would like to work in a media, press and communication related job, preferably for an Institution representing or cooperating with the European Union in a regional or national level; either here in Denmark, back in Germany or somewhere else in Europe. I am currently also considering applying for a PhD-position here at Aarhus University – but that is something I have to figure out over the next few months.