This year, I am studying in Copenhagen, Denmark, for a year. I normally study at Leeds, which is a very different vibe to here. I’d never stepped foot in the country before, and now I’ve been living here for 7 months (kinda crazy?!). It’s been better than I could have imagined! if any of you have the opportunity to live abroad at any time, I BEG you to take it. I haven’t yet fulfilled my parents’ predictions and bagged myself a tall, blonde, dashing, Danish boyfriend – thankfully. This year has been more about single life and self-improvement than about boys. However, my friends and I have not written ourselves out of the dating scene in Copenhagen, or using dating apps to meet people whilst out here. Dating in Denmark has its differences compared to dating in England, and we have had our share of stories to reveal.
I am used to dating with the purpose of seeing if there is something deeper there. An open-ended number of possibilities of what something will progress into. For me, dating whilst studying abroad is for a different purpose – purely for the fun and experience. I have no intention of coming home with a boyfriend. However, that doesn’t mean I should deny myself a scroll through dating apps to see the boys on offer in Copenhagen.
Dating without the pressure of it having to go somewhere serious can be really helpful, if you’re someone who finds dating stressful or pressurising in any way. You have no obligation to commitment, and can play things by ear. If your romance abroad does blossom into a relationship – that’s a bonus! Keep living your best life abroad!!
Experiencing Other Cultures
A massive bonus of dating whilst abroad is getting the opportunity to get to know people from all around the world. To experience people from different cultures, as well as cultures of dating, too. At home, where you might go to the local pub for a drink, drinking in Copenhagen is either a far swankier experience (this is a scarily pricey city), or way laid back at a café or ‘cosy’ bar with low lights and intimate settings. Also, I learnt a lot about Danish culture and how most young people live their lives after school.
Since university is free, less people go straight from school. This means that there’s a wider age group that all mingle, and the people you’re likely to meet are at different stages of life, but this is more normal. Cycling is the culture in Denmark and this added a really cute touch to a date I went on. I guess riding through Copenhagen on the back of the bike of a cute Danish boy is something I can check off the bucket list?
Exploring The Local Area
Instead, I’ve used dating here as an opportunity to get to know some Danish guys who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I find it really hard to get to know people in class, and so using dating apps has given me that door into meeting a whole new circle of people. The benefits of this are numerous. Dating is a really good way to discovering new bars and cafés to visit that you might not have heard of before. Four months into my year abroad, I was taken to two bars that hadn’t even entered my radar. Although nothing progressed further than the first date with Boy #1, it was a lot of fun!
I am grateful for the tour around a cool part of town called Norrebro, drinking at both classic Danish hygge bars with indoor smoking and low lighting, and rowdier cocktail bars with a younger crowd outside of my usual venue choice. My mate Abbie also went to various cute cafés, which we now have in our bank of places to study or grab a coffee.
A Small City – The Downside
Denmark is a really small city, which makes dating a different experience to London, for sure, and even Leeds with its dense student population. Whilst dating in Copenhagen is an easy way to expand the number of people you know and experience meeting people from all around the world, there are the shortfalls that come with living in such close proximity with people you’ve dated!
Bumping into the guy you gave your number to last week and then never responded to at a pre-drinks three days later? Being out with your new guy at a club and spending the whole night avoiding your last tinder one-night stand? Fancying a new guy you met and finding out that your friend has already slept with him? Rejecting a guy for him to later walk into the bar you’re in with your mates? Yep, we’ve been there, done that. I love the small city vibe, but this is something you just have to get used to.
And… Some Advice To Conclude
There are things to make sure to be careful of when dating abroad, as there are when you’re at home. Obviously if you’re in an unfamiliar place, it’s important to get your bearings before meeting anyone. If you’re going somewhere unknown in a new area, with a stranger or someone you don’t really know well, make sure to tell your mates where you’re going and look up your route home before you go. It’s ok to come prepped with an excuse for an early departure.
Being sure of your safety when meeting strangers in an unfamiliar place is priority. If you’re feeling nervous about dating, organise a double date or a group meeting to see that guy you’ve been texting. Check the address and process at your local GP or clinic for getting checked. Be prepped and safe, and make sure your partner is doing the same. When abroad, this process can be complicated depending on where you are, but it’s always easy to find out! Finally, don’t feel pressured into anything, especially as you’re far from home. This is your exploration of independence, so make sure you’re being you!
By Ashley Shaw