Surviving Copenhagen: Insights into Student Life in Denmark’s Capital city

By Paarnannguaq Nielsen

Denmark is one of the most expensive countries in Europe for students, since if you are a student in Denmark, you must use most of your money for dormitory rent.

That’s why we went to Denmark’s capital city Copenhagen, to find out more student life expenses.

“I mean, a lot of students have a student job on the side to try to get their economy to manage to get the ends to meet. But so many students who like can’t sleep well because of their economic situation.”

Salma El Habazi is a 22-year-old exchange student studying sociology at Copenhagen University. And she is having a hard time managing Education support.

“I would say that it’s quite hard for me to manage it, because I have many things to pay for, and sometimes I kind of get lost in paying for example my rent, paying for the transport, for food, dinners and stuff, but I try to do my best.”

The rents in Copenhagen are rising by every year

Important to have a side job

In the past four years another student, Emma Buchard, had to have a side job to make up for education support since they weren’t able to cover all her expenses.

“Right now, I have taken a student loan, but for like past four years of my studies I haven’t, because I’ve been having a job on the side,” says Emma Buchard.

Laura Normén is also a student at Copenhagen University, and she also has a side job in Human Resources, so she can manage Education support.

“My side job supports me enough, when I do like both, I have the job and issue, so I think side job supports my education support”

Emma Buchard says that she has used almost all her Education Support for dormitory rent, therefore she thinks it is important to have a side job.

“Expenses are very high, so the issue is not high enough to pay rent and food and other you know expenses but well that’s why it’s a good idea to have a job on the side yeah.”

Esben Bjørn Salmonsen is the President of the national union of students for higher education in Denmark (DSF). He emphasizes that there are many students who have student jobs to keep the finances together.

“A lot of students have a student job on the side to try to get their economy to manage to get the ends to meet.”

Expensive to live in a dormitory

But the students do not always have to take care of everything, because sometimes the parents will have to help them with dormitory rent or groceries.

Salma El Habazi’s parents pay the dormitory rent, to support her financially.

“In my case, it depends, because I don’t have to pay for rent because my parents pay for it, but at one point I had to pay for it, and I know it was the main source of anxiety for me because it was a big amount of money to pay all at once.”

Laura Normén is also a student at Copenhagen University, she also thinks that dormitory rent is the most expensive.

They are not only students who know about the financial problem, the international coordinator in DMJX Copenhagen Xavier Lepetit also knows that they have problems with housing.

Photo: Matej Majka

“Housing, definitely housing.”

That is why Esben Bjørn Salmonsen thinks it is important to adapt dormitory rent to students

“It’s important to build more affordable student housing. We see that a lot of the effort is used to build private student housing. But it’s not. It’s basically too expensive for students to live in. In reality, it’s not. So it’s important to build more student apartments. And especially social.”