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Aarhus as an attractive career destination for internationals

3. September
In 2019, 12 international students from around the world chose to move to Aarhus to study their Master of Computer Science at Aarhus University. After their graduation this Summer 8 of them have decided to stay in Denmark for full-time work.

So why choose Aarhus as a study city and future home as an international?

To get a better idea of this question and understand the impact of our work in Destination AARhus we have talked with three CS graduates. They have shared their thoughts of moving to Aarhus, how it has been to study here, and their decision to stay for work after graduation.

In Destination AARhus, we aim to attract, develop, and educate the best IT talents and brand Aarhus as an attractive career destination for IT specialists. In collaboration with Aarhus University and our member companies, we help the students get established in Greater Aarhus by building a professional network and finding a relevant student job and a full-time employment after graduation.

The decision to move

You can only imagine that the decision of moving to another country for a least two years for studying is big. It also was for Mihai Mihalache and Iulian Hojda from Romania and Jana Puschmann from Germany. Questions about finding accommodation near the city, a job to secure the economy, the bad weather, and the possibility of making new friends filled in their minds. And yet the answer to choosing Aarhus was quite easy in the end, they all state.

Before finally deciding on the Master Program of Computer Science at Aarhus University the three students visited Aarhus. They all underline, that after this visit they made up their minds: “I got the opportunity to get to know the university and the IT companies around this area better and see with my own eyes what it is like to live in Aarhus. I got some really useful tips on that trip, and I was excited to move,” says Iulian Hojda.

The excitement of moving to Aarhus stems from the fact that they all find the city full of opportunities regarding both networking, social activities, jobs, and that the people are very friendly and easy to communicate with since almost everyone speaks English: “Aarhus has a perfect size and a lot to offer. When coming here there were immediately a lot of options for us to network and look for a student job in our field. And I also think that both the decision to move to Denmark and having a student job has helped me improve my career opportunities,” Jana Puschmann expresses.

The three graduates sought the opportunities and quickly got themselves a student job as student developers at Danske Bank, Grundfos, and Aarhus University when moving to Aarhus.

They would do it all over again

It is not only Aarhus as a city that has made an impression on the three graduates but also their time at Aarhus University and having a student job. Mihai Mihalache states: “It was a lovely experience to study in Aarhus, and I would definitely do it again! It is quite easy to make new friends by volunteering, participating in different cultural events at Student House or ESN Aarhus. And working and studying at the same time was not a problem at all.”

The flexible study time with both time for work, assignments, and friends is something the three students have appreciated. Concerning this, they all mention gratitude towards their employers, saying that the work schedule was very flexible and could be changed according to busy semesters and exams. Besides, they also think that their student job has improved both their professional, social, and networking skills: “I think employers value work experience before you start joining the workforce full-time and you have some experience to talk about during an interview. Additionally, you get a good understanding about what you want to do when you graduate,” Jana explains.

To move back home or to stay in Denmark?

When graduating this Summer, a new question arose for the graduates: should they move back to Germany and Romania to continue their careers or stay in Denmark? In the decision-making process they tried to offset what would be best for their careers but also thought about their family and friends back home. But something that became crucial in the decision, was that they all had built up their very own network during their education, both with new friends, employers, and colleagues.

Today they are employed in the same company as they had their student jobs. The opportunity to continue from being a student worker to permanent employment have had a great impact of them staying as well: “Being experienced in that workplace and knowing how things really work, and how to talk with people and what people to talk to is a huge advantage when starting a full- time job. It saves you a lot of time and energy being aware of all these things, and it makes you productive from the beginning,” says Mihai Mihalache.

Destination AARhus and Aarhus University cannot wait to follow from the sidelines of the new graduates’ careers, and we are happy that several of them have chosen to stay in Denmark for full-time work, and some of them even in the companies we introduced them to. Furthermore, we are excited to welcome and be a part of the new 20+ international Computer Science students’ career journeys: “Together with the Destination AARhus and the local business we have a lot of new initiatives for the students, so we hope this will contribute to an exciting time here and make even more decide to stay in Denmark after graduation,” says Rikke Nielsen, International Director, Aarhus University.