Denmark consists of a peninsula and a multitude of islands in the North Sea. Bridging Scandinavia and continental Europe, this friendly country is a confluence of modern, cosmopolitan cities, simple, historic architecture influenced by Nordic tradition, and fairy-tale villages with town markets, country churches, and castles. This flat country, has moors, lakes, farmlands and woodlands, and its traffic-free pedestrian streets are ideal for riding bicycles or chatting with friends at a cafe. Denmark is one of the world’s oldest monarchies, with Queen Margrethe II the current reigning monarch.
People & Culture
Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world, you will see that Danish people are very friendly and welcoming. The Danes are known for being cosmopolitan, well-educated, and open-minded people. Equality is a key word in Danish culture. The vast majority of people belong to the middle class, and the percentage of poor people is low. The idea that everyone should have equal opportunities is reflected in the healthcare system as well as in the educational system, among other things. In Danish culture, people follow the concept of hygge (creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people) – they value their personal space and love to be cosy and comfortable.
Climate and Geography
Denmark is composed of the Jutland Peninsula and 406 islands, but only 79 of them are inhabited. And even though Greenland and the Faroe Islands are self-governing, they are still part of the Kingdom of Denmark. So, if you are inserted to go to the North Atlantic if you want to be in Denmark mainland you can say no to a North Atlantic placement. But even in the mainland you will probably be placed in the countryside or suburban areas.
Danish food is diverse and has a wide variety of fresh produce, grains, and meats. Other staples are roast pork, pickled herring, fish, beans, Brussels sprouts, rice pudding, potato soup, meatballs in curry sauce, salted black licorice, and pastries.
Danish lunch is traditionally an open sandwich called smørrebrød. Dinner is usually the main meal and typically a time for the whole family to gather and talk about their days. Occasionally, Danish families will go out to eat at a restaurant, but this is a rare treat.
Danish is the main language spoken but Faroese, Greenlandic and German are also recognised as official languages. As you can see from the name of the language, if you are in the Faroe Islands you will find more Faroese language and if you are in Greenland you will hear more Greenlandic. However, as English is widely taught in Denmark, a large part of the population speaks very good English.
A typical school day in Denmark starts at 8 am and finishes at 3pm, with extra school activity after courses. You will need to quite independent because Danish students tend to be more mature than young people the same age in most other countries. A key phrase in Denmark is “freedom with responsibility” so any student who cannot respect this freedom may have trouble at a Danish school.
Families in Denmark are close and most prefer to cook dinner at home together every night. Key values in a typical Danish family include punctuality, planning and responsibility. They often trust and share their daily lives with each other. It is common for all family members to attend sports clubs or other local activities after work and school. Typically, both parents in a Danish family work full-time and are away from home during the day. They are quite involved in their children’s school lives and activities. Each family member contributes to household chores and is treated equally. Parents, teachers and elders are usually referred to by their first name.
On weekends, Danish teens, like most teens around the world, like to get together with friends to hang out, go to parties or see a movie. Although soccer is the most popular sport, they also enjoy swimming, sailing or rowing (nowhere in Denmark is more than an hour away from the seashore!) Danish schools and local community organisations offer various activities, such as sports, music, crafts, drama, and scouting. Danish teens are generally independent and proactive with their schoolwork, as the Danish school system is quite rigorous.
Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure
AFS provides comprehensive orientation for all students and families before, during and after your exchange – AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you the whole way through! In-person orientation camps in New Zealand and your host country are supplemented by our world-leading online Student Learning Journey, which is an interactive course that brings AFSers from around the world together to develop essential global skills, learn intercultural communication techniques, and practice social impact. This journey will help you maximise your experience, cope with the challenges of navigating a new culture and community, and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding throughout your time abroad and as you return to your home country. Find out more about our educational expertise here!
Explore the Programmes Available in Denmark
- DurationsMultiple durations
- Program Dates
- Aug 2024 - Jul 2025
- Aug 2024 - Dec 2024