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University of Copenhagen
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Guest students at Life Sciences speak out

Shoddy accommodation and poor information about the Danish way of studying. These were the main complaints in a survey conducted among guest students at the Faculty of Life Sciences. But on the whole they were positive about their stay

Most aspects of student life in Copenhagen live up to the expectations of guest students at the Faculty of Life sciences. Apart from the substandard accommodation, lack of contact with the Danes and the culture shock of incomprehensible plagiarism rules, that is.

These are the findings of an evaluation conducted by the Faculty of Life Sciences.

One in five dissatisfied with housing

While most of the comments reflect gratitude to teaching staff and satisfaction with the Faculty, guest students complained about the housing. One in five were not satisfied with their living arrangements.

Accommodation on offer is too expensive and standards are too low, say respondents. Neither did the students feel that they were being well-treated by the Faculty housing office.

Unhelpful and unfriendly

»The housing department was very unhelpful, especially when there were complications with my application,« writes one disappointed student, while another calls for more detailed and realistic descriptions of rooms, since many guest students sign contracts without seeing the room first:

»The housing office is the main disappointment. They were very unhelpful and unfriendly. A description of what the accommodation is really like would be helpful,« writes another.

The Faculty points out that there was only a temporary staff member in the office at that time, due to a maternity leave. The standards are now greatly improved, the Faculty writes.

Didn’t understand plagiarism rules

Another major issue for international students was the lack of contact with Danes. Half of them felt that they were not well integrated, and were dissatisfied with how little contact they had with the locals during their stay.

A number of students bemoaned the lack of information about the Danish way of studying. Plagiarism rules are difficult for guest students to get to grips with. One student demands, »much more knowledge about plagiarism, because it is a huge problem for foreign students«.

»In my home country, we have another system of education so it was difficult for me to understand the Danish rules by myself,« another student writes.

In the academic year 2008-2009 there were 239 guest students. 177 of them took part. The group of respondents is mostly made up of Erasmus students, and represents 31 countries.