Sure, I would love to be curled up, warm in my bed right now, but thanks to a 7 hour time difference I am instead pounding back a steaming cup of joe and feverishly trolling Danish rental sites for new listings. I am frustrated, exhausted and on the verge of a caffeine overdose.
So, what is all this painstaking effort for?
I am but a simple girl and I would be more than happy in a studio or a humble one bedroom. I lack bicycling skills, so I would prefer the apartment to be somewhat close to Copenhagen Business School. I think these are very reasonable requests. Yet, I have tried everything from Couchsurfing forums, expat blogs and Facebook groups to subscription online listings and apartment company websites, all to no avail. If the dark bags swelling under my eyes are any indication of my effort, then I can safely assure you that I have been trying my damn hardest. So far, my email inquiries have been met with either the all too familiar "apartment is already reserved" message or... a cold unnerving silence. When I called into apartment companies, I was told that there was a 100+ person waiting list for current listings, and nothing new is available until November. Oh and the kicker - company policy mandates that rentals are for professionals only, NO STUDENTS ALLOWED. When I pushed the the agent to elaborate on their policy, she explained that the landlords in their company view student tenants(even graduate students) as liabilities since they are often "unreliable with rent" and "irresponsible with the apartment".
WTF??! When did students become second class citizens and marginalized to derogatory stereotypes? I am having trouble reconciling this discrimination against students with my perception of Denmark as a country known for its politically correct rationale. Why do the naysayers fail to consider the fact that if a student is paying a full year's tuition up front, then they are more likely than not to be financially stable. Additionally, in order to succeed in school and gain entrance into a graduate program, graduate students are by default, responsible!
Why is it that a smart, capable gal like me, with a more than generous budget can't seem to catch a break when it comes to finding a place in Copenhagen?! To be fair, it seems that I am not the only one in this rapidly sinking boat, because everywhere I look there are post after post from desperate people(mostly students) looking from rentals in CPH. Hell, I even stumbled upon a Facebook post by a Danish TV reporter seeking students for a segment about the daunting challenge of finding a place in CPH. And I would like it to be noted that in less than half a day there were over 80 comments!
Sigh, my journey to Copenhagen has not even begun and I am already feeling defeated. As a lowly graduate student I guess I might just have to settle for a sturdy box under a bridge...
Final Month in Chicago
During my two previous forays into Copenhagen I fell in love with the architecture, the food(oh the hotdogs!) and most of all the people. I met some truly upstanding characters in my brief stay, and it was precisely because of this refreshing open-mindedness that I chose Denmark over Sweden as the place to continue my studies. Therefor, I sincerely hope my negative house hunting experience is just a small blip in an otherwise auspicious beginning and...not a foreboding forecast of things to come.