You have been studying in Norway for five years. Could you tell us the main reasons for choosing Norway as your study destination?
“The amazing nature and Nordic culture was my first thought when I chose Norway. Before I came here, I read stories of medieval Norse men that really impressed me. I am very interested in the culture and people here."
Why did you choose the institution you are at?
“I went to Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) for bachelor programme in Development Studies and Environmental policies. The course focuses on humans and society. I found the curriculum very interesting. Afterwards I went to Oslo and Akershus University College (HIOA) for my Master programme because this university has a good reputation in the field ofsocial sciences. The model of Nordic welfare system is very good. I wanted to learn more about how this welfare system is implemented effectively.”
How do you find Norwegians?
“I thought people here can be very open-minded to foreigners. However, many Norwegians are quite shy and do not talk too much. Sometimes, they are even more silent to you because you are talking English rather than Norwegian. The first winter time was quite a shock. Now, I am used to winter but still miss sunny days.”
Which are the main differences from China when it comes to life as a student?
“The main difference especially for an Asian is that here you have to be independent. Some courses required lots of reading and self-studying. This can be hard to adjust to. You must rely on yourself and trust yourself. You must find suitable ways to learn more, for instance to engage in group discussion with other students.”
In your opinion, what is the most important academic outcome as an international student in Norway?
“There is a very open academic atmosphere. If you have questions, you can contact professors through emails and arrange a meeting. Moreover, there are many academic events for example workshops and seminars that students can join.”
Do you have any advice to international students just arriving in Norway?
“Don’t miss the chance to explore natural views throughout Norway.
Don’t always stay inside your own room. Try to get to know people. People are different. It’s important to broaden your experiences.. Travelling will change your perspectives.”
What would you tell students from your country about university life in Norway?
“Sometimes, academic grades and school performance may not be the most important thing. Be tolerant to some particular things, for example your poor grades. To have good grades is not the only purpose which brings you here.”
“Try to make as many friends as you can although you are a shy person.
Join one of student associations in the university and build your own network. If you have enough time, try to find some part-time job or volunteer.”
What do you miss the most when you are away from your country?
“My sweet home and my parents. If there is one solely reason for me to return back, it’s my parents. I am the only child they have.”
In your opinion, what is the most important outcome of being an international student?
“I guess the most important outcome is that I share the same rights as Norwegian students here. There are numerous academic sources I can use.”
What are you doing now?
“I am now working on my master thesis. I will graduate in the summer of 2015.
In the past couple of weeks, I conduct several interviews and collect field work data relevant to my thesis theme.”
What are your future plans?
“I am now looking for a new part-time job during my stay in Oslo. I plan to pass the Norwegian Language Test before graduate and I practice Norwegian as much as possible. I may return back to China if there are no relevant humanitarian jobs here for me after graduate.”