University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


See my student job: “I turn up for work exactly when I want, on the days that I want to”

Student job — Anna Strand Thomsen loves her student job as student assistant at the Danish collection and disbursement authority Udbetaling Danmark. She decides what her working hours are herself. And she reckons that she has better working conditions than anyone else she knows personally.

Student job: I am a student assistant at Udbetaling Danmark which is the authority responsible for collection, disbursement and control of a number of Danish public benefits. There are a number of different tasks, but as a starting point, I have the same tasks as the lawyers and case managers in the department. Of course, my position is limited by the fact that I only work 15 hours a week!

I know that the public sector might not be everyone’s favourite, and that – especially when studying law –  you hear that if you don’t get good grades you end up in the public sector. For me though, working at a place with responsibility for other people’s money and legal security is one of the most trusted assignments there is. I do not fetch coffee or play secretary. My responsibility is making sure that the citizens that pass my way get exactly what they are entitled to, and with a bit of good service on top – completely for free.

Subject: I am studying law on the 8th semester, that is, the first year of the master’s degree. At the moment, I am in the process of completing the subjects of personal data law, conflict resolution and psychiatry law.

How long have you been working at Udbetaling Danmark? For almost 2 years, since August 2015.

How did you get the job? I saw the message on jobbanken (as far as I remember) or on one of the other public recruitment websites. I applied for the position because it sounded really exciting and challenging. A real emphasis was put on the person needing to be really sharp at administrative law, and so I thought “Great –I can do this!”. And this even though I, at that time, had just deliberately failed an administrative law exam.



I am sure there is probably somebody else, who is really good at contacts, and the kinds of tasks that ensure that private companies get their money. But this is just not me.
Anna Strand Thomsen

A day on the student job:

I turn up at work exactly when I want to, on exactly the days that I want to! I buy some breakfast and grab some coffee. Then I go to the office where I sit with all my colleagues.

The day’s tasks vary quite alot, but include the administration and delegation of access to documents in Udbetaling Danmark. I deal with complaints cases where I handle the cases from when we receive them until I make a decision. The decision is either in favour of the citizen or not. If the decision is not in favour of the citizen, the case is forwarded to the Danish appeals agency Ankestyrelsen.

Finally, I am in the process of structuring the internal guidelines for access and service complaints. That is set up and structure some basic rules for handling the cases. The complaints may include many different things, for example, an alleged failure to comply with the Constitution or with the Personal Data Act.
I also regularly contact private citizens or other public authorities, where it sometimes can be useful to be experienced in conflict management – especially in contact with citizens.

I eat lunch together with either the lawyers in the department, or some of the other law students. Here we discuss legal issues – or just the exam situation!

I have a lot of freedom during the day to plan my meetings and activities myself, and if I am busy with my studies, I go home early. It’s an incredibly flexible job, where I even have the opportunity to work from home.

Would you like to tell us about your student job? Write an e-mail where you respond to the same questions asked in this article – and tell us about your day on your student job. Send the e-mail to