Danish students receive their student grants conveniently all year round. Living can be costly, though.
’Make it happen, aim for the stars. That’s my attitude.”
This very un-modest phrase is being said sincerely by a 22-year-old Danish film and media student Rikke Schjødt, in a stylish café in the hipster district of Vesterbro in Copenhagen.
The reason for the un-Scandinavian way of thinking might be that Schjødt has spent a gap year studying in the United States, where the North European love for equality and modesty do not dominate. Across the pond, people were convinced that she came from a town called Denmark in South Carolina.
”But then again, in my study field, if you aim for the stars you might also fall. It’s like I am setting myself up for failure,” she adds laughing.
Confident attitude is needed in Schjødt’s future career, which for now seems to be in either documentary or fiction film industry. Preferably documentary.
”It is difficult to say whether we have jobs after graduation. Some will work as advisors, some will become producers, but my film education is very theoretical, you don’t study to become a director.”
Schjødt studies film and media at the University of Copenhagen and is about to finish her bachelor’s degree by making a documentary film and a supporting thesis this spring.
”Many known Danish film directors have started with this education before getting chosen to the National Film School of Denmark, which takes four students every second year.”
She has planned to continue her film studies either in the USA or in the UK.
”In my opinion, the National Film School is the only good option for studying documentary film in Denmark, but it is almost impossible to get in.”
Schjødt also chose to add a more practical touch to her theoretical studies by choosing to do her minor by studying one semester in a different institute in Copenhagen, The Danish School of Media and Journalism. In Finland it would be considered a university of applied sciences.
”It is really common here to do a minor in another school. Many choose to study a semester at the Business School. I also got minor credits from a half-year internship in a Danish film company.”
In Denmark, every university student gets 5000 krones governmental support, roughly 670 euros, each month.
Unlike in Finland, students receive the support even during summer vacations. July and August are the time when young Danes travel.
”Students don’t have to work in the summer if their rent is okay or their parents help them out.”
All-in-all, Schjødt likes the Danish education system, which provides equal chances for everybody, no matter what your background is.
”Our education at the university is planned to challenge students to criticize, argue and to be independent.”
One thing worth mentioning when it comes to the Danish universities is the concept of friday bar. Every department in the university normally has its own student bar which is opened on friday afternoons. And the beer is cheap.
”Already in gymnasium, we had a once a month ’eleve café’, where we could buy beer for 5 krones (0.80 €). The teachers helped us arrange it. I even took part in a beer club”, Schjødt laughs.
In Denmark, the legal age to drink beer is 16.
”I still think Danes drink too much. But going to Christiania to buy weed is not cool, at least in my circle of friends.”