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What are the alternatives to the free Danish language classes?

Emma Firth
Emma Firth - [email protected]
What are the alternatives to the free Danish language classes?
There are many different ways to learn Danish, outside of the free language courses. Photo: Alejandro Escamilla, Unsplash

Foreigners in Denmark can benefit from being offered Danish language tuition completely for free, but the course is not always for everyone. Here are some of the alternatives.

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What is the Danish Language Programme and who has the right to it?

If you are aged 18 or over, live in Denmark and have a CPR (personal registration) number, you are eligible for free Danish courses offered by your local municipality.

Depending on your education level and English language skills, your language school will place you in one of the three courses available, which are Danish Education 1, Danish Education 2 or Danish Education 3.

Each course consists of six modules. At the end of each course, you can take an exam to prove your Danish language skills. You will have a qualification equivalent to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which for Danish Education 1 is B1; Danish Education 2 is B1+ and for Danish Education 3 it is C1.

If you pass your Danish Education 3 with a grade 10 or 12, you can go on to take a sixth module, resulting in an exam called Studieprøven. Passing this test enables you to take part in further education in Danish.

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The Danish Language Programme lessons are usually held at various times of the day and evening, twice a week for one to three hours, with homework in between. The lessons can be a mix of in class and online.

The programme is free but you have to pay a deposit of 2,000 kroner before starting the classes, unless you are enrolled in an integration programme or an au pair.

The deposit is returned after you finish a module within the time frame given:

Module 1: six months;  Module 2: six months; Module 3: seven months; Module 4: eight months; Module 5: nine months; Module 6: nine months.

You can receive free teaching from the Danish Language Programme for a maximum period of three and a half years within a timeframe of five years, from the date of your initial arrival in Denmark. It's worth noting that before July 1st 2020, these language lessons were not free, in case you come across outdated information about fees.

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Why might you be unable to or simply not want to study the Danish Language programme?

You might be desperate to learn Danish but are not eligible for the free courses, if for example you're not yet a resident in DenmarkOr perhaps you're in a hurry to learn Danish and want to study full time.

You might want smaller classes and more opportunity for speaking Danish. The Danish Language Programme covers reading, writing, listening and speaking but there is not often much time to practice speaking in a big class.

Some people just want practical everyday Danish to use in conversations, rather than the range of sometimes academic topics covered in the Danish Language Programme.

So what are the alternatives? 

FVU (Forberedende Voksenundervisning, which means Adult Preparatory Programme) 

FVU is a free class for those who already speak some Danish but want to improve their reading and writing skills. Texts used are often newspaper articles or topics relevant to current politics.
 
To enrol onto FVU, your spoken Danish must be A2 level and written Danish A1 and above.

You have to attend a screening test at a language school before you can begin and be at least 18 years old, have a CPR number and expect a lengthy stay in Denmark. 

READ ALSO: 11 very useful Danish words that are very difficult to translate

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Private Language Courses

Private language courses are offered at some language schools, for example Studieskolen in Copenhagen and the Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use (CIP) at the University of Copenhagen.

There are also many individuals and private companies that offer Danish language courses, either online or in person.

These can be quite expensive but the benefit is you can pick a course that suits your needs, whether one-to-one, or in a smaller group. You can also work on your specific language needs, whether that's speaking at work, reading or writing. You don't need a CPR number for private language courses.

Study an intensive course at a university 

Some Danish higher education institutions offer intensive Danish language courses at the beginning of the academic year, or as a part of a summer university programme.

Danish courses are taught at several universities around the world. The Danish Cultural Institute also offers Danish language courses to foreign university students through their branches abroad.

READ ALSO: The seven stages of learning Danish every foreigner goes through

Language conversation groups and cafes

Getting out there and practicing your Danish in a safe place can be invaluable.

There are many places that hold language events, such as cafes, libraries (Nørrebro Bibliotek), or even galleries like SMK Kom, where you can chat to other people learning Danish.

The organisation Elderlearn can pair you with a Danish older person to chat to and keep them company, while you practice your language skills with a patient listener.

You can also find language events through joining your local Meetup group. 

Volunteer opportunities can be a good way to practice your Danish. Look up ‘frivilligjob’ to find  opportunities in your area, such as working in a Røde Kors (Red Cross) shop, or a library.

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