MDes Talks: Advice on the Danish Students' Grants and Loans Scheme

Anders Gammelgård-Larsen, a current student in Interaction Design (MDes), joining PolyU after completing his Bachelor's degree in TechnoAnthropology at Aalborg University, Denmark.



My life’s biggest adventure has begun! I have moved away from my home country of Denmark to study a master’s degree in Interaction Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. After two weeks since I arrived in Hong Kong, I’m still settling in. There are so much energy, happiness and new experiences to take in that it’s almost overwhelming. I am sure that I will continue to have countless exciting things to share about studying abroad in Hong Kong.


My father’s garden, Denmark 

However, studying abroad is expensive and need financing. In Denmark, all higher education is 100% free of charge, and with the state education support (SU) you are even ‘paid to study’.  Luckily as a Danish citizen, you are still entitled to public support when studying abroad, although the application process takes longer and is more difficult. Therefore, in this blog post, I will guide you through the application process and give some helpful advice to any Danish readers.

The entire application process is through the online self-service on www.su.dk, and messages regarding your application will be sent to your inbox on www.e-boks.com. You can apply for your regular monthly support of 6.090 DKK before taxes and the ‘Udlandsstipendium’ that will cover part of the university’s tuition fee. However, before you can apply for state education support, the study programme itself must be approved and entered on the Fast Track list. If the study programme is not on the list, you must apply for its approval. There are certain conditions that the study programme must fulfil, such as:

  • The programme and the University must be officially recognised in the country of study.
  • The programme must be completed in full-time study mode with no paid internship.
  • No more than 25% of the education can be facilitated as distance learning (online).

In addition to the general assessment criteria, there are special criteria for artistic and cultural educations, including Design. The application process for SU is the same as otherwise, but to receive the ‘Udlandsstipendium’ the education MUST be already listed on the so-called ‘Udlandsstipendieliste’ for artistic and cultural educations. This current list is valid until 31 March 2020, when it will be revised.

On this list there are 47 educations within the area of Design, and the only 3 in Hong Kong are specialisms within the Master of Design scheme at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University: Design Practices, Design Strategies and Interaction Design. (In fact, this is how I came to know about The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in the first place. And after reading the programme description I was sure that Interaction Design was my call!)

REMEMBER! That even when the education is on the ‘Udlandsstipendieliste’, you still need to apply for it to be accepted on the Fast Track list. The processing time for this is around 2-3 months - and only then you can apply for state education support, which takes another two weeks to process!

Personally, I only applied to have the education accepted on the Fast Track list sometime after I got the Notice of Offer (with conditions) from PolyU. This resulted in that I had to pay the initial non-refundable tuition fee before I knew for certain if the education would even be accepted or not. This was a very heavy decision to make – and I could have avoided it altogether if I had applied immediately.

Luckily, my applications were approved, and I got the Udlandsstipendium of 92.800 DKK plus monthly SU of 53.090 DKK. This is enough to cover the tuition fee, but there are many more expenses when studying abroad, as shown in the table below! Therefore, I have also applied for many smaller foundations and scholarships that are available in Denmark. Over the last 6 months, I have spent many evenings applying for these funds – But they are definitely worth the time and effort! So far, I have achieved 45.000 DKK. A good place to start is www.legatbogen.dk

EXPENSES

HKD

DKK

INCOME

HKD

DKK

Tuition fee

158,400.00

123.552,00

Udlandsstipendium

118,974.36

92.800,00

Accommodation

70,000.,00

54.600,00

SU

68,064.10

53.090,00

Food

30,000.00

23.400,00

Roblon Fonden

12,820.51

10.000,00

Study materials

10,000.00

7.800,00

Louis-Hansens Fonden

19,230.77

15.000,00

Return flight ticket

23,000.00

17.940,00

Anonym fond

25,641.03

20.000,00

Travel Insurance

4,615.38

3.600,00

Vaccinations

2,737.18

2.135,00

Total:

298,752.56

233.027,00

Total:

244,730.77

190.890,00

Estimated budget for 10 months in HK

I advise you to visit www.su.dk/udland for more information about requirements, documentation, processing time, etc. You may also contact me personally if you want to know more about my experience with the application process.


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Photo Credit: Cover Image and List Image by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

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About the Writer

Anders Gammelgård-Larsen, an international student from Denmark with a Bachelor’s degree in TechnoAnthropology at Aalborg University. Currently studying Master of Design (Interaction Design) at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, he is interested in designing technology that supports people with a physical handicap or mental diagnosis. These people have special needs that require personalised solutions, but they might not be in a position where they have much influence on the design. 

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MDes Talks is a series of student blogs produced by current MDes students and recent graduates. For its third edition, the editorial team consists of writers from China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Mexico, France, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark. They write about study life, living abroad, design, and what you don't know about PolyU and Hong Kong.