being an Eastern European in Denmark

First of all, the fact that I call myself an Eastern European is kind of offensive to all the Czechs out there and I get it- technically we are in the heart of Europe, but over time there's actually nothing bad about embracing the eastern spirit a bit. So what, if we complain a lot, drink too much beer, escape to our chalupa's during the weekend, lack any sense of fashion and wear socks in sandals. (I had to google all the stereotypes about Czechs just in case I forgot some of our amazing habits).

This article won't be full of complaints about my life here, don't worry. Although I have shitty days and experiences, I am still very glad about that random decision I made two years ago; the decision to move to a country which I never visited before and study abroad. I want to write something a bit useful this time; a tiny survival guide, based on my experiences which hopefully might make your life here or anywhere in the "rich West" easier. Some tips might be obvious, so be patient or skip to the others ;).

1/ before coming, make sure you have savings/financial support
-this is an obvious one but very crucial especially for us, poor people from the "East"
-I personally never found a job here due to my laziness and lack of language skills (nope, Danish is too boring for me, sorry) and I depend on the financial resources from my parents and grandparents
-of course, it sucks if you don't have a job and if you can find it, good for you! You can most probably get SU (financial support for students) from the Danish Government if you work around 40 hours per month (if you're Danish, you get that "automatically")
-don't forget! Denmark is REALLY expensive so this step is a must if you decide to move here

2/ live in a dorm or find roommates to save $$$ on rent
-living alone sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Because sharing a place with filthy human beings who can't even wash dishes after themselves sucks.
-but if you're willing to make sacrifices in order to save some money on rent, this is definitely a way to go
-I live in a dorm and I might be able to write a book one day about all the struggles I came across with while I was living here (the mess, the annoying dormmates, the food thieves and so on) but it is cheap (not so cheap in the Czech terms)
-if you don't have such option, look for roommates- join facebook groups where people look for people to share their apartments with and just wait if you get lucky

3/ food
-food is something that you can save a lot of money on especially if you're willing to get your hands (and clothes) a little dirty in the process
-I previously wrote an article about my experiences with dumpster diving and I can't imagine living without it- it became a hobby and something I enjoy doing
-if you want to try it, do a bit of research, look around the stores in your area and check their bins after opening hours. If they don't lock them, you might get lucky
-the more obvious point is to buy store brand food (Lidl, Rema, Fakta, Netto, Kiwi) and buy items on sale which usually have yellow stickers on them (Stop Madspild "movement")
-to get some extra cash, return all bottles and cans with flaskepant sign on them (gypsy tip: sometimes you can find these bottles on the street and get money for free)
-avoid buying bottled drinks (they are crazy expensive); invest in a good quality water bottle (ex. Retap) and drink tap water instead 

4/ must-haves
-bike: it will become your best friend, save your money, keep you fit and annoy you at the same time
-bike lights: you can easily get a fine and it's definitely not worth it
-raincoat: forget umbrellas! Good quality raincoat (ex. Rains) is a way to protect yourself during rainy and windy Danish days
-all black outfits: want to fit in? forget colors.
-activities that will help you overcome depression: this is crucial, trust me! Go to the gym, do yoga, read, attend parties if you're into it, join clubs at your school, learn new things... there are endless opportunities
-water bottle, spare canvas bags, good sneakers, backpack (Fjällräven to be stereotypical)
-an endless supply of chocolate (for the bad days)

5/ useful links
www.rødbillet.dk for cheap bus tickets
www.gomore.dk for ride sharing
www.etilbudsavis.dk for all the store magazines and finding amazing deals ;)

I probably forgot to mention a lot of things and I might as well write a better article one day but hopefully, this has been a little helpful for anyone who plans to come here or is looking for some tips.

Have a good one.


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