I moved to Denmark in 2015 after exploring what my options are for around 2 years. After researching for a while I discovered that the best and easiest way to move to a different country is by way of studying. I was in luck, I finished my Bachelor in Economic Management and I was looking to expand my knowledge in the field. If you’re looking to move to a different country there are other ways, but in my case this was the most feasible option. As a student you also have access to various resources and benefits and you get residential status faster.
Where to start?
Explore faculty programs that interest you
In case you don’t have an idea of which country you want to move to, do a general search of the program you’re interested in. From here see which country/city/university has the programs that interests you the most. You can make a general idea of what your options are and see if those places suit your needs. You might be interested to learn a certain language or already speak it and want to improve. This might be another place where you can get some orientation.
Know your financial potential.
Some learning programs are free, some are not but they are affordable (I’m talking about Europe here). Know what you are willing to spent and how you’re going to provide for yourself. If your family is helping out that’s great. If not, you might want to look into the job market in that country. Sometimes as a student you might have access to programs that support you through your studies. In Denmark if I worked 12h a week I got something called an SU, which is like a scholarship from the government. This was very helpful as my family could not help me with money long term.
Research job market
It might be challenging to find jobs. Make sure to do your homework and contact other students and people from that area, city, etc. Usually the students are the best to get in touch with, they know what’s up. But don’t listen to only one or two people. Sometimes people can be a bit negative. It happened to me. I was told it’s almost impossible to find a job if I don’t speak danish and I still did. It took me almost 3 months of hassling and searching though. Be prepared financially in case this happens.
Finding a place to live in this economy can be another hard part. I had to search for a while and changed basically 5 places before I found something stable. I’m telling you this to be realistic so you know what to expect. This is not always the case. Many times people are lucky and find a great place to live fast. Go on facebook student groups, renting groups from the area etc, and make a few posts, see who responds. You can do the same with the job search. Make a post in student groups and maybe you’ll be lucky, many companies look for people willing to work in these groups.
This is very different depending where you go. As a student it was very easy to get permanent residency in Denmark. I don’t know in other countries. However in Europe it should be as easy if you’re an EU citizen. In case you’re not from Europe or you’re interested in other continents, contact the emigration office there.
Have it all figured out before. Do your homework.
What I liked most
There are so many things I enjoyed but my top favorite things were:
Lots of nature - they care so much about the environment.
Free medical care
Student programs - working part time and earning money from school
Very chill place to live, super peaceful
Bike lanes everywhere - bicycles have priority
Meeting people from all over the world
I decided to make this transition from various reasons:
Explore a different lifestyle and culture
Continue my studies
More work and goal related opportunities
I met incredible people with whom I shared many common passions and ideals. I started teaching yoga and meditation in the first month I got there . It was easy to make friends from here on.
Connecting with people who are passionate about the same things as you. That’s how you start a conversation. Go to student houses, or student nights where you can play board games. Join Toastmaster and other groups where you can improve your skills and met people. Two in one. Otherwise as a student you have a lot of colleagues and if you live in a dorm it’s even easier. I lived in an apartment and I’m also a bit of an introvert, I am quite quiet and passionate about specific topics. I don’t drink or am quite a healthy eater, therefore joining certain activities was not in my schedule. That is why for me teaching yoga and meditation was a gateway to making friends. If you have a passion and you’re very specific just like me, join a related workshop or teach one. There are many ways to get integrated into the culture and make friends.
What I gained from this experience?
Honesty all the way - it was hard at first, but the experience was totally worth it. I would change it for nothing. I gathered so much knowledge. I learned how to manage my time, my money, my energy. My social skills, public speaking and english improved significantly. The program I enrolled in was great too - Brand Management and Communication at SDU in Odense. We focused on study cases mostly. Not too much theory which was great. You learn so much more and it sticks with you.
I had plenty of free time, which I was able to dedicate to studying what I love - Buddhism wisdom, nutrition, fitness, yoga and environmental topics. In a faculty like Brand Management you can focus on whichever topics you like and search for companies that function in that field. Learn the business behind what you like, how it works in the real world and how you may bring something new to it. There is always time and space to do what you love. It’s all about perspective. We can focus on the negative - it was hard and I had to work a lot for this experience. Or the positive side: this experience although challenging it helped me grow and mature, be responsible and aware of my environment and resources.
Bottom line, If you are unsure about what to do and don’t know where to start, remember that it’s alright not to know everything. I figured it out along the way and if this article can give you a bit of perspective I feel like the experience was more than worth it. Start somewhere that’s the first step. Take a day, reflect on what you want your life to look like, where you see yourself, what do you want to see and experience and take a step in that direction. Life is short and the unknown is beautiful. That’s why we are alive to experience it all. Be kind to yourself and others along the way and everything will work out.