University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Corona pandemic has exchange student numbers down by 55 per cent at the University of Copenhagen

Exchange — Many international students withdrew their applications to the University of Copenhagen during the pandemic. »We can still maintain a good internationalisation of our study programmes,« university states.

Ever since the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe this spring, there have been travel restrictions throughout the world. This has impacted the University of Copenhagen’s (UCPH) exchange agreements with international universities.

In the autumn of 2019, the University of Copenhagen welcomed approximately 1,000 international exchange students. This year, the number is about 450. And the majority of applicants come from European universities.

Many students, in particular them from farther afield, have had to withdraw their applications.

Anne Bruun, International Education (UCPH)

Even in the midst of the intense phase of the corona pandemic this spring, the University of Copenhagen got a total of 850 applications by the application deadline in May, slightly down over the normal number of almost one thousand. Some of these applications were later withdrawn:

»We were actually surprised by the number of people who applied, the circumstances taken into consideration,« writes the acting head of the International Education unit at the University of Copenhagen, Anne Bruun, in an email to the University Post.

»Many overseas students have subsequently had to withdraw their applications. Partly because their own universities have cancelled all incoming and outgoing exchanges, and partly because it has not been possible for them to travel. Probably also because they generally feel unsafe going and living abroad,« she writes.

»We are pleased with the approximately 450 that we end up being able to receive, and feel good about having the opportunity to do so.«

Not only will there be fewer students at the University of Copenhagen, fewer Danish students have also gone abroad to study, according to Anne Bruun.

Full-degree student numbers unchanged

It is part of the official strategy of the University of Copenhagen to collaborate internationally in order to develop the quality of its education programmes.

However, according to Anne Bruun, the quality of the programmes at the University of Copenhagen will not be impaired by the drop in exchange student intake. The number of international students who do several years of their degree programme at the University of Copenhagen (in the so-called full degree student category) is virtually unchanged:

»I do not think that the quality of education at the University of Copenhagen will generally go down because we see a decline in exchange students for a few semesters. We get more than 900 international full-degree students for two-year degrees, so together with the exchange student group that is also coming in, we can still maintain a good internationalisation of our study programme environment,« she writes.