Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Danish learning environment

The Danish learning environment may not be as formal as you are used to.

In the Danish educational system, the relationship between student and teacher is often very informal. The environment in class and the amount of group work may differ from what you expect or are used to.

This page will help you figure out the wide range of activities related to studying in Denmark, getting to know the academic field and to create the appropriate framework for your studies.

Academic and social behaviour

In the Danish educational system, the relationship between student and teacher and the environment in class may not be as formal as you are used to.

"Active participation in classrooms is expected and encouraged - it is even, in some cases, the core of the teaching itself,” says Sarah Croix, an international PhD student at Arts.

The objective of active participation is to get you to reflect upon the topics and the material presented during the course.

Informal relationship

From time to time you might be surprised by the very informal relationship between students and teachers in Denmark, Sarah points out. It is not uncommon that a student expresses clear disagreement with the teacher's ideas or methods in the classroom.



  • Call you teachers by their first name.

  • Present your point of view in class.

  • Feel free to disagree with the teacher or the textbook.

  • Ask the teacher questions about an assignment.

  • Talk to the teacher if you have any problems.

  • Call your teachers by their title and surname.

  • Expect to be left alone during the class.

  • Just repeat what the author says.

  • Suppose everybody else has better ideas than you do.

  • Panic if you don’t understand the reading.

Studying at Aarhus University

As a new student at Aarhus University, you may find things a little confusing at first.

However, there are things you can do in order to find your footing and benefit as much as possible from your time here at the university.

  • Find a study group – Many courses at the university include group work as a compulsory and important part of the structure of the course.
  • Aarhus University provide several study facilities at the State and University Library. Sometimes it is possible to get your own place to study at the university. Ask your own department about the availability of personal workplaces there.
  • Do not panic – it is often difficult to see the big picture right away and you always have the possibility to get help and guidance at AU.


What did other international students experience?

Watch this video where four international students tell what surprised them the most when they first came to Aarhus University.

Useful links:

Websites about academic skills:

  • Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Find information on how to research and write with correct grammar and style. Includes detailed style guides for different referencing systems.

  • How-To-Study An American site for lower level students from elementary school to college with easy to understand tips in both English and Spanish.

  • Study Guides and Strategies. Besides information about reading, writing, researching, studying and managing projects, this American site has tips for memorizing and concentrating.

Literature about academic skills:

The list appearing on this page is based on “10 gode råd til studiestartere” by Thomas Harboe, Pædagogisk Center Samfundsvidenskab, University of Copenhagen. The videos was produced by Anni Pedersen.