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Student Testimonials
International students talk about staying in Denmark after graduation.

Name: Rosa Bui

Birth year: 1991

Country of origin: Germany, Fürth/Vietnam

Based in: Copenhagen

Education: Architect

Educational institution: Aarhus School of Architecture

Profession: Architect at Cobe

Has lived in Denmark since: 2015


How would you describe studying in Denmark in three words?
‘Innovative’. Going the extra mile and approaching problems in new, innovative ways. ‘Free spiritual’ because you are encouraged to do what you want to do and not to just follow other people. Especially in architecture, it’s amazing to be free to express yourself without preconceptions. ‘Cosy’ – it’s the first thing you learn when you come to Denmark, to make yourself cosy, come together and light the candles.

What made you want to study abroad?
After my first internship in Rotterdam, I knew that there must be a bigger world outside Germany. In Rotterdam we were a lot of interns from all around the world and it was so inspiring to meet and work with people from such different backgrounds. Architecture has so many perspectives and every country have a different way of practicing it and teaching it. I believe studying in both Germany and Denmark and seeing their different approaches to architecture gave me a rounded education.

What were the main reasons to choose Denmark as the country to study in?
I didn’t want to go to the other end of the world. Denmark is close to Germany and I always admired the Danish and Nordic design. I wanted to speak English and Denmark is very internationally oriented, many studios in Aarhus work in English. And finally, I knew that Denmark is a happy and peaceful place to live in and I wasn’t disappointed when I came here.

What are the biggest differences between student life in your home country and student life in Denmark?
When I came to Aarhus School of Architecture, I was surprised how ‘artistically driven’ everything was. It was an exciting departure from the technical focus in Germany. I had much more freedom in pursuing things the way I wanted to go. I was encouraged to think outside the box. They taught me that choosing the safe option is not always the best option. After presenting my semester work, I was invited to a one-on-one talk with my teacher. We were not talking about the project but actually about me. At first, I thought it was quite intimidating, but it was actually very rewarding that the conversation was on a more personal level.

What were the hardest adjustments you made after coming to Denmark?
Rain and wind. First thing I bought was a rain jacket since you are biking 365 days a year, which I actually learned to enjoy. And the language. Denmark must be so much more fun when you speak the language. And buying a cup of coffee for 6 euros. Of course, Denmark is different from Germany, but I didn’t find it too hard to adjust to life in Aarhus and Copenhagen. It was rather new, exciting, inspiring and motivating.

When did you start planning your future career?
As part of my 2nd master semester, I did an internship in one of my favourite Danish offices, Cobe. I extended it from 5 months to an entire year. This gave me a deeper understanding of the work and culture of the office. For me, it was clear that I would like to come back to them as an architect. I managed to keep in touch with them and luckily, I got hired right after graduation.

How would you describe your future plans?
I don’t like to plan my future. I am very happy where I am today. I am lucky to work in an office with a lot of recognition, nice colleagues and exciting projects.

What made you stay in Denmark when you graduated?
I got my job just right after graduation. Denmark is a great place to work in. On one hand, I have ambitious and talented colleagues. I learn from them every day. I feel the hierarchy is flat and all voices have equal weight. On the other hand, I really like the social aspect at work. Eating lunch together in the office, going on study trips and having Friday bars, get my colleagues to be my friends. And besides that, I really enjoy Denmark and Copenhagen. The city is not too big and not too small. My Danish boyfriend and friends are also helping me feel at home here, of course.

What advice would you give to another international student who plans on studying and maybe working in Denmark?
I think it always helps to do an internship or to study in the place where you potentially see yourself in the future. For many companies, it is easier to hire a former intern than for them to look outside the walls of the office. The interns are already integrated in the office culture, and the transition from intern to architect is often much easier this way. Also, cracking the shell of the Danes takes time. Everybody is super polite, but it takes a while before you get comfortable and before someone invites you home for dinner. But after five years, it is luckily not a problem anymore. So, being open to the culture but also being patient is important.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I don’t like to plan so far ahead. Going with the flow! But I can easily see myself in Denmark.

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