Poor employment opportunities and an expensive cost of living have sabotaged Copenhagen’s chances of becoming one of the best student cities in the world.
A report by leading global career and education network QS ranked Copenhagen as the 39th best destination for international students out of 98 cities around the world with a population over 250,000 people.
The cities were rated in four main categories: quality of living, affordability, employer activity and student mix. Copenhagen ranked high in the quality of living but faded in the other categories, with the cost of living being especially dire.
The education minister, Morten Østergaard (Radikale), was not satisfied with the 39th place ranking and indicated that it will take new initiatives and ideas to propel Copenhagen further up the list.
“We need to become a more attractive country to study in, and with the ambitions Copenhagen has of being a global city, we must look at improving the situation,” Østergaard told Politiken newspaper. “Our education system is of a high standard but the package as a whole is inadequate. We need to take better care of our guests and help them settle in.”
Mads Engholm, a senior consultant at the research group Ungdommens Analyse Enhed, was adamant that it is especially the social and cultural aspects that are languishing for the international students in Copenhagen.
“Most indicate that they have been well received and that the Danes are good English speakers, but the Danes are simply not very interested in them, nor very good at including them,” Engholm told Politiken.
Engholm headed a study a couple of months ago that focused on international students in Denmark and nearly every third international student in Denmark didn’t make a Danish friend in school. Engholm said that the Danish students needed to become more involved with their international peers.
“To be a good host, you have to have some tools with which to work, and nobody has really thought about that,” Engholm said.
In February, a study conducted by Momentum - the newsletter of the association of local councils, Kommunernes Landsforeging - and the career centre at CBS found that over three-quarters of foreign students could imagine staying in Denmark after their studies, but many of those surveyed felt that Danish businesses were uninterested in hiring qualified foreign workers.
According to the QS report, the top five best student cities in the world were Paris, London, Boston, Melbourne and Vienna. The full report can be read here.
QS also annually ranks the top 700 universities in the world. In their 2011 rankings, the University of Copenhagen was number 52, Aarhus University came in at 79, the Technical University of Denmark at number 150, the University of Southern Denmark at 311 and Aalborg University ranked at number 362.