Students enjoy Danish classes on Campus

Students enjoy Danish classes on Campus
“When I'm in a country, I like to be able to understand what people say,” says Maria Kruse, an exchange student from Germany.
In February, VIA and Lærdansk Aarhus moved Danish classes to Campus. The move has boosted international students’ interest in learning Danish.

“It’s important to learn Danish. Though I’m only here for one semester, speaking a bit of Danish helps me become part of Danish culture,” says Shannen Cozijns.

The 23-year-old Belgian is a third year student of social work on exchange at VIA in Aarhus.

Despite her brief 5 month stay in Denmark, she is one of 47 students, who through the Spring semester followed Danish classes on Campus C.

In February 2016, Lærdansk Aarhus began offering Danish classes on VIAs Campus C in an effort to make it as convenient as possible for international students to prioritize learning the language.

Language is important

According to Marianne Jensen, deputy head of Lærdansk Aarhus, the official language school for foreigners in the city, language is important.

“International students get more out of their stay in Denmark if they know Danish. This is true in relation to their studies, possible internships at Danish institutions and everyday life in general,” Marianne Jensen says.

Motivates students to stay

Even if students return home after their studies at VIA, knowing the Danish language and culture can motivate them to return, she says.

“We have many examples of students who either stay in Denmark or return to Aarhus after they graduate in their home country. If they already know Danish, they have a much easier time adjusting to living and working here,” Marianne Jensen says.

In addition to language and culture, students are introduced to practical issues such as and Skat.

More students follow classes

Danish classes have always been offered for free for international students. Until now students have had to go to Lærdansk’s premises for classes. This semester, however, VIA-students were offered classes on campus twice a week for six weeks followed by a level-2 course of another six weeks.

The move to Campus C has made more international students come to Danish classes, says International Coordinator at VIAs Department of Social Work, Anke Beuck.

”It’s a great offer from Lærdansk. Though our exchange programmes are in English, we believe learning Danish is important for our international students’ experience of studying at VIA,” says Anke Beuck.

Singing and playing

Maria Kruse, an exchange student from Germany, took both level one and two courses. She said she learned a lot of language and culture.

”The teacher was really good at targeting classes to our needs as students. Among other things we sang songs and played games that helped us understand Danish culture more,” Maria Kruse says.

The 24-year-old student of Social Work said Danish is a difficult language to learn. Her Danish skills came in handy, however, when on a recent hiking trip she met several Danes, who didn’t speak English.

“When I am in a country, I like to be able to understand what people say and be able to express myself,” she says.

Hear Maria speak Danish in this short video

Language makes sense for practice placements

Both things are important, according to Anke Beuck. ”Practice placements are a big part of VIAs programmes, so quite a few international students spend time in institutions like schools and daycare centers. Here, language and cultural skills are valuable,” she says.

The international coordinator adds that learning about Danish culture and society is not always a part of the exchange curriculum.

”This also makes Lærdansk a great addition to what students get through our programmes,” she says.

Classes continue in the fall

The potential for international students at VIA to participate in Lærdansk classes is big. In addition to the 60-70 exchange students at the Faculty of Education & Social Studies, VIA School of Business, Technology & Creative Industries has about 300 international full-degree students who are about to move to Campus C.

The plan is to continue offering Danish classes on Campus C after the Summer break.

Hear Maria speak Danish in this short video

See our exchange programmes here

For more information:

Anette Salling, VIA International
T: +45 87 55 15 10


Ann Elveberg, Lærdansk coordinator