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Danish universities lead the way

Read how one university successfully managed to redefine the changing landscape of higher education.

Photograph: Aarhus University

Text: Skyler Bentley Hall

Internationals around the globe are intrigued by the Danish way of life, whether following world-renowned university or happiness rankings, Denmark is one of the most desirable destinations to travel, work or study.

According to Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, three Danish institutions rank top 200 worldwide and are leading universities in Denmark: the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University and Technical University of Denmark.

Internationals are keen to pursue a degree in Denmark and who could resist joining the land of hygge in one of the happiest countries worldwide?

Embracing the new normal

Higher Education, as we know, it is changing dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more innovative virtual experiences. As universities strategise next steps, several considerations are continuously reviewed: flexible study options, student recruitment, campus life, accommodations, student exchanges and partnerships with universities. Similar to institutions globally, the teaching and learning model at Danish Universities adapts monthly, if not weekly.

As a premier research institution in Denmark, Aarhus University (AU) has a lot to be proud of. The team at AU has made great efforts to address the diverse needs of the community by ensuring a safe and productive transition during such trying times. International Director, Rikke Nielsen shares some facts about AU and describes how they are embracing the 'new normal'.

International students

They encourage a culturally diverse environment, representing 120 nationalities. Located in the second-largest city in Denmark, AU works closely with local industries, offering numerous prospects for internationals. With 38,000 students, including twelve percent internationals, AU actively recruits students that may be interested in staying in Denmark.

"To put it frankly, the city is extremely welcoming, homey, lively and beautiful. The danes are some of the most genuine and friendly people I have ever met. Aarhus university is amazing and the city is just beautiful. You'll be wanting to visit as soon as you leave...I know I sure do." - Claudia, Australia

Study programmes

Offering 58 English-taught degrees at the Bachelor's and Master's level, with further options at PhD. English undergraduate programmes. These include Cognitive Science; Economics and Business Administration; Global Management and Manufacturing. AU received a steady number of full degree international applicants for Fall 2020, admitting similar numbers as 2019.

Summer university

A thriving summer programme with approximately one hundred campus-taught courses. All courses are credit-awarding ECTS at the Bachelor's or Master's level. As a result of the pandemic, AU continued to offer sixty-five online courses and hosted thirteen courses on campus in 2020, targeted to current and partner AU students globally.

Exchanges and partner universities

With over 1000 partner agreements worldwide including the EU Erasmus+ programme. These partnerships are still in effect, although travel restrictions vary by country. With 750 exchange students annually, close to half of incoming students will attend AU in 2020.

Academic and campus life

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, AU took the initiative to act quickly and implement the hybrid learning model, limiting class sizes and social events. Safety is of the utmost priority on campus. Housing is available for internationals, administering an Ambassador programme to ensure a smooth transition. Virtual care packages were introduced to new students, offering free Danish lessons and other perks to help settle into Denmark.

Open days

Aarhus Universities Open Day on 12 February 2021 is ideally hosted at the main campus, but alternatively, a virtual session will be offered. Students can experience university life, speak to admissions, counsellors and current international students. Visit

When searching for a university, there are numerous variables to consider. Delving deeper into how a university manages during a crisis like the recent pandemic, speaks volumes about the institution and support students will receive. Aarhus University models this successful transition. If you are in the initial phase of exploring higher education or continuing your educational journey: be resourceful, engage with admissions, and ask relevant questions to find that 'right fit' institution for you.

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