“Aarhus” is pronounced “Oo-hoos” basically, just FYI.
I already made a post about my top 10 tips for anyone going abroad, but I wanted to make something similar for students particularly coming to Aarhus because info was few and far between for me! So, let’s just dive in, shall we?
Bike. BUY A BIKE. Or rent one. Literally everyone bikes everywhere all the time, even in the rain or snow. They’re cheap (relatively) and its kinda fun to hop on your bike with your crew and head to the bars. You feel kinda badass, er as badass as you can feel on a bike. It’s definitely part of the Danish experience though. I suggest either Bikes4Rent or Easy-Bike. You can also go to a police auction (bring a Dane with you because its all in Danish) or go to dba.com which is kinda like Craig’s List for Denmark. Just be sure to keep your bike in a safe place if you go on long trips for more than a weekend. I got mine stolen during fall break when I was gone for almost 2 weeks. If that happens, you can contact the place you rented from and they’ll replace it for free, you just won’t get your deposit back. Other than bikes, use the busses. You can buy reloadable plastic bus pass cards (pricy upfront but save you money in the long run), 10-trip passes that you can buy at places like Føtex or Netto, or you can pay 20 kroner on the bus with each trip. I highly advise against free-riding… got away with it for awhile but got slapped with a 750 kroner fine ($113). NOT fun. Coming from the states, using public transportation was pretty intimidating. Not to fear! Get the “REJSEPLANEN” app on your phone! It is SUPER easy to use. Shows you which bus to take, where to get on the bus and where to get off based on your location.
Traveling to/from Aarhus
As you probably know, even though Aarhus is the 2nd biggest city in Denmark, it’s still relatively small (300,000+). It’s about the size of Plano, the suburb of Dallas I’m from back in Texas. So, even though there is an airport, it is TINY. Odds are you won’t be flying out of Aarhus. You’ll most likely be flying out of Billund or Copenhagen (actually spelled København and pronounced even weirder). My best suggestion is again the BUSES. If you do happen to fly out of Aarhus, you want to take the 925X blue bus. Ride time: approx. 30-40 mins. It leaves from the central bus station called “Aarhus Rutebilstation“. Super close to the train station, super easy to find. If you’re flying out of Billund, take the 912X blue bus. Leaves from the same place as 925X. Ride time: approx. 1.5 hrs. Copenhagen is a little more difficult– er– annoying, rather. But, there are way more options on how to get there. You can take a train straight to the airport, the official Line 888 bus, or you can take a bus that’s run by a private company (Rute1000, Rødbillet). It just depends on what you value more. Train PROS: takes you exactly where you need to be; always on time. Train CONS: expensive and takes longer than busses. Bus PROS: cheaper, faster. Bus CONS: can run late, drop off in weird locations, hard to find airport possibly. Ride time, bus: approx. 3.5 hrs. Ride time, train: approx. 4+ hrs. You can look online for bus timetables here. Notice, there are blue, red and green tickets. If you buy tickets online, you can save some kroner. Especially if you’re a student. Take advantage! The busses to airports run about 140 kroner or more which is like $15. The train is even more, like $60 one-way. Yikes. Also, look into getting a “wildcard” for the train to CPH.
So, I had no clue what kind of currency Denmark used, I thought it was the Euro for the longest time. Turns out, they use the Danish Kroner which looks kinda like Monopoly money. The conversion rate right now is 1 kr = $0.14. Don’t be fooled. Even though the conversion rate looks good, their prices are scaled differently. That means that something like a Coke is 18 KR ($3) and a “cheap” meal is around 50 to 75 KR. Because of this, you’re gonna be carrying around 100 KR or 200 KR bills all the time along with a TON of coins. The coins value 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 KR. It’s totally common to pay for an entire meal or drinks with just coins! It’s actually pretty cool. There’s something that looks like a penny called an ør which is 1/2 of 1 KR. They’re virtually worthless and almost impossible to get rid of. Good luck. As far as bills go, there are 50’s, 100’s, 200’s, 500’s and 1000’s. You’ll most likely have 100’s and 200’s on you. Cash is nice to have, especially if you’re on a strict budget, but it’s totally fine to pay with card. It’s not like the rest of Europe where cash is king. The only thing I suggest is getting a “chipped” card. Most places can still take swipe cards, but there will come times where it is necessary to have a credit card with a chip in it. Invest in one.
Where to Eat
Like I said, Denmark isn’t cheap. However, my friends and I made it our personal mission to find the cheapest/best places to eat in Aarhus! Here are our favorites and what to order:
- OliNico: Fish n Chips or Mussels n Chips (60 KR).
- White Elephant: Pad Thai, duh (115 KR). Or the 4 course dinner for 175 KR/person.
- Il Mercatino: Pizza or whatever Panini they have on hand (45-85 KR)
protip: they guys who run this place are straight from Italy and pretty much only speak Italian or Danish. Luckily, I know some Italian! Remember, charades can go a long way.
- Vaca: Vaca Ùltimo Burrito (58 KR).
- Chido: Closest thing to Chipotle. Make your own bowl, tacos, burrito or quesadilla (50-65 KR).
- Joe & The Juice: Literally anything and everything.
- Shwarma: on basically every corner. It’s like a middle-eastern burrito and super cheap (45-50 KR). Great after a night out with friends.
Where to Drink
Most places to go out are downtown near the canal and most of them are 18+. There are a handful of 25+ places, weird right? But, here are our favorites so far!
- The Irish Pub
- The Australian Bar
- Tir Na Nog
- Ping Pong Bar
- Café Smagløse
Where to Live
I lucked out, honestly. If you’re going to AU and getting your housing through the school, google map every residence while looking for a place. There are 3 categories of housing: student residences, shared-facilities housing, and sub-letting. I suggest either student res or shared houses. Student res is most likely a dorm or apartment and shared-facilities is a large house with probably 12+ people living in it. I live in a student res apartment, Rosensgade 18. When you apply for housing, they’ll ask you what you value most: proximity to school, single room, shared facilities, price, etc. But, there is a comment section where you can request a specific place. I specified that I wanted to live in Rosensgade and I got it. Like I said though, student res can be a dorm or apartment. In a dorm situation, you’ll most likely have a single room (furnished) with shared bathrooms, kitchen and common areas. Oh, its all co-ed, too. It’s a great way to meet international kids. In an apartment (like me), you’ll have one roommate. In my situation, we have our own bedrooms, (furnished w/o linens) share a bathroom and kitchen. Don’t worry though, the kitchen comes stacked with everything you need, though. Protip: For your room, I suggest bringing sheets with you to use on your first night and then getting to IKEA as soon as possible! With shared houses, you get to bond a lot with other international students. You’ll live with 10-15 other people in a big house with probably 3 floors. Don’t worry, you still have your own bedroom. If I didn’t have my apartment, I’d want to live in a house. It’s a really cool dynamic. Several of my friends live in a shared house and it’s always so much fun going over and hanging out with them, they’ve all become super close and that’s always cool to see. It all depends on what you want most. If you like more personal space/alone time, go with an apartment. If you don’t mind having a lot of people around all the time and want a big group of people to get to know right off the bat, do a shared house. If you want something in between those, go with a dorm. Like I said, Google Map everything before you choose. You don’t want something that’s 7 km away from school and downtown. My place is great for anyone who wants to be LITERALLY in the center of town, so good shopping, food, places to go out but is about a 10 minute bike ride to school or a quick bus ride if you’re feelin’ lazy.
Class at AU
Classes in Europe are pretty different from those in America. Here are just a fe things to keep in mind:
- At AU, classes are either worth 5 or 10 ECTs. You can only take 30.
- Your class will only take place once a week for 2 or 3 hours.
- There is no homework, there are no tests or quizzes. Your final exam grade is your grade.
- The grading scale is 0-12. 2 is passing in Denmark, 7 is passing at home. Possible grades are 2, 7, 10, 12.
- YOU HAVE TO DO THE READINGS. It’s not like home where you can kinda get by, you absolutely have to read the articles and chapters from the book.
- Final exams aren’t multiple choice. It’s either a written exam, an essay/portfolio of essays, or oral.
You might be confused at first on where to shop for groceries or toiletries. Fear not! Here is a list of places to go:
- Føtex- grocery
- Netto- grocery
- Fakta- discount grocery
- Aldi- discount grocery
- Matas- Drug store
- Løveapotek- Drug store
Protip: “apotek”= pharmacy
- Rain coat.
- Winter coat.
- Bike lights and lock (if you have a bike).
- Bus pass (if you take the bus).
- Black pants.
- Actually, just wear all black everything all the time and you’ll fit right in.
- A love of beer, or you better find one fast.
- A working phone*.
- A good attitude.
This experience is going to be what you make it. Have a positive and adventurous attitude and you’re going to have the time of your life.
*go to Fona, buy a SIM card from Lebara then buy a voucher for either 200 or 100 KR. Instructions on how to set up your phone come on the receipt. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE RECEIPT.