Intern Abroad

Gaining new experience in Denmark

July 14th, 2022 | by
  • Computer Science B.Sc.
  • Denmark, Sønderborg
  • Danfoss
  • February 2022 – June 2022


My experiences:

Hi! I’m Katharina, I study Computer Science at RWTH Aachen University and I’m at the end of my Bachelor’s degree with a focus on Data Science. In the summer semester 2022, I completed a four month internship at Danfoss in Denmark.

Finding an internship

At the beginning of 2021 I was very fortunate to be chosen as participant for the UNITECH International exchange program as a representative of RWTH. The UNITECH program is a unique opportunity, which combines an academic exchange semester at one of the 8 partnering universities (incl. for instance ETH Zürich, Trinity College Dublin, Politecnico Milano) and an internship with one of the corporate partners. Therefore I spent the winter semester 2021/2022 in Lyon, France as part of the exchange and then started looking for an internship through the network around October. UNITECH arranges career fairs for us to get connected with the corporate partners. In one of these events I came in contact with a team from Danfoss in Denmark. After interviewing with several corporate partners I decided to go with Danfoss, because I very much liked their philosophy and the project description suited my profile very well. Additionally I was swayed by the conditions, as the position was compensated fairly well and accommodation was found and paid for by Danfoss. At the beginning of 2022, I had signed my contract and was looking forward to another opportunity to live and work abroad.


Getting settled in Denmark might take some time, since there are several formalities to take care of upon your arrival and most steps include some waiting time before you can move on to the next. For any kind of official correspondance (bank accounts, getting paid by your employer, going to the doctor) you will need a NemID. This is something to take care of as soon as possible. Before you can receive the NemID, you will need to get a EU-Residence document from SIRI (apply before arrival!), a CPR number from the citizens’ centre as well as a health card (yellow card). If you reside in Denmark and are registered with a CPR number you are entitled to receive Danish health insurance. I would also recommend to contact a bank as soon as you have the health card so that they can start the process of opening a bank account for you. When these things are settled, you should be good to go. If you are planning to stay in Denmark for a long time I would recommend getting a Danish phone number in order to use the MobilePay app which is very commonly used as a payment method.


Danfoss is a Danish multinational company, with more than 40,043 employees globally. Danfoss was founded in 1933 by engineer Mads Clausen. Within Denmark, Danfoss is very known and is one of the biggest employers. In the south of Denmark, Danfoss has several office locations, the two biggest ones being their headquarter in Nordborg and the site in Gråsten (within Germany, the main location is in Hamburg). Nordborg is also where Mads Clausen founded the company, so many people living in the area are connected to Danfoss. The corporation is still family-owned and as an employee you can really feel their moral compass through the board’s decisions. Danfoss main market is the energy sector but their product portfolio is quite diverse, ranging from cooling & heating solutions to pumps as well as frequency converters (AC drives). From the beginning, energy efficiency has been part of Danfoss DNA, which is why their motives in terms of sustainability and decarbonization are very credible to me.

My Internship Project

I completed my internship in the Drives Intelligence department, a technology development department focused on embedded digital solutions for variable frequency drives. My project’s title was “Vibration Analysis using Machine Learning” and dealt with creating a Machine Learning solution for mechanical fault detection using signals from a variable speed drive and additional vibration sensors. My tasks included traditional steps in the Data Science pipeline (Data Collection from a laboratory setup, Preprocessing, Feature Engineering, Training a Machine Learning model) as well as working on the deployment of the model. Since the department is R&D, they are bringing many new ideas to life and prototype solutions quickly, which is fun to be part of.

Office Routine and everyday life
 © Katharina Alefs

© Katharina Alefs

Our office was located in Gråsten, while all interns were living in student accommodation in Sønderborg, which meant commuting to the office by bus (takes approx. 45 minutes door to door). This wasn’t a very exciting part of my day, but since I became friends with other interns that commuted with me, time was flying by. I usually had a daily meeting with my supervisor and a weekly discussion with other members from the team about how my project was going and to receive their input. I was very lucky when it came to my department, since they were all very supportive and accommodating. Some weeks of the internship I mainly spent in the lab to collect data from the fault simulation setup, but generally I was in the office and most people were present in person as well. In terms of the pandemic timing I got lucky because I didn’t have to work from home and I got to meet people face-to-face. This contributed to a good working environment.

I also recognized that working in the Danish job market is characterized by flatter hierarchies than in Germany, everyone is very approachable no matter their status and you usually call people by their first name, independent of their rank.

Daily Life/Leisure

The south of Denmark is a really beautiful place. Our student dormitory was located 5 minutes away from the beach and starting April/May we spent many days there, in the water or next to a bonfire. Sønderborg is a small town which is overall quiet but you will find everything you need. SDU university is located here which means that there are many (international) students. Regarding the nightlife there are unfortunately not many things happening. There is a student bar on campus that we visited from time to time. Since I made many friends through UNITECH that were also working for Danfoss, we still had a great time cooking together,

 © Katharina Alefs

© Katharina Alefs

playing sports or travelling to places like Aarhus, Kopenhagen or Berlin.


My internship experience has been really great. I was very happy with the team and how my project developed. It showed me the importance of people and communication on how you perceive going to work everyday. I gained more confidence in my abilities through working independently but also receiving support when needed. Fortunately, I was offered to continue my work for Danfoss as a remote student worker, which I will do so while writing my Bachelor thesis. Lastly, I made very good friends who had a significant impact on how I perceived the overall experience.


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