– Could you tell us the main reasons for choosing Norway as your study destination?
At home, I heard legends of the glorious quality of living and social equality in the lands of the frigid north. While it is not as frigid as I expected, I can certainly see how Norway consistently rates as one of the best countries in the world to live.
– Why did you choose the institution you are at?
I come from a small town in Minnesota, and I always wanted to experience life in a major capital. The University of Oslo, being a huge school, also places different demands on me than my smaller colleges back home. Furthermore, UiO has the prestige of being one of the greatest institutions of higher learning in the world.
– What was your idea of Norway before you arrived?
I had the idea that Norway is a progressive country filled with fair income brackets, gay marriage, and reticent but kind citizens. You can't really go wrong with that.
– Which are the main differences from your country when it comes to your life as a student?
Tuition is free. This is an enormous difference from the United States. I am actually saving a huge amount of money by studying in Norway, and the surplus funds will greatly help in my post-graduate academic career.
– In your opinion, what is the most important academic outcome as an international student in Norway?
Learning for life seems to be a common thread in much of the courses. We are encouraged to know factual knowledge, of course, but the process by which we come to conclusions is ever more important. Similar thinking is reflected at my home university, but I have never seen academic appreciation on such a massive scale like at UiO.
– Are there any personal experiences as a foreign student in Norway you would highlight?
Talk to people in Norwegian. Mess up talking to people in Norwegian. Make a fool out of yourself in Norwegian. It is important that you do not let language barriers prevent you from socializing.
– What would you tell students from your country about university life in Norway?
If you are coming from the United States, expect a lot less hand-holding when it comes to learning the material. Often, there will only be a single graded item in a class, and much of the learning is done independently.
– What do you miss the most when you are away from your country?
I miss my family the most. Internet communications and webcamming can only do so much to replace the familiar scent and warmth of home.
– In your opinion, what is the most important outcome of being an international student?
The most important outcome of being an international student is perspective. You can become a brilliant scholar of other cultures, but the peculiar quality of human cognition is the understanding that comes about by immersing yourself wholly into lifestyles through which stories were your only acquaintance.
– What are you doing now?
I am learning how to learn, really. I have spent so much of my life worrying about the grades I earn, but I am only now realizing not only how insignificant grades are in the long run but also how much learning for the test precludes deep understanding.
– What are your future plans?
I want to work in health psychology in the future, and I hope to get some internship work at psychiatric clinics in my home state. More importantly, I plan to be happy. That sounds trite, but the perspective I have gained by living in Norway and learning at UiO has given me the faculties I needed to plan for a future that I want rather than just the one I think any culture wants of me.