Could you tell us the main reasons for choosing Norway as your study destination?

“I‘m interested in gender and social democracy. Norway is among the top three countries on the list when it comes to gender equality. In addition it is a safe country and it is known for getting involved in international questions – with peace as a purpose. I hope that my stay here will lead me to my dream job – to work for the UN.” 

Why did you choose the institution you are at?

“The fact is that the northernmost university of the world is interesting in itself, but to be honest I had not heard about Tromsø before I applied for it. I wanted to go to Bergen as well, but I am very happy that I ended up here.”

What was your idea about Norway before you arrived?

“I knew that Norway is a safe and peaceful country. I have heard that even Norway’s King can walk tranquilly around in the streets without any lifeguards. (Editor's notes: When King Olav V took the tram in 1973, he said that he did not need to bring any lifeguards with him, because he had 4 millions of them. He referred to the whole population of Norway).”

How did you proceed in order to actually get to study in Norway?

“In Japan I am studying at Waseda University in Tokyo, where it is mandatory to take a year abroad. We can choose between 85 countries, and we are asked to fill in a scheme with our preferences. When it was decided that I was going to Tromsø our university counsellor applied for the High North Fellowship Program. This scholarship program provides us 9440 NOK per month per person.”

In your opinion, what is the most important academic outcome as an international student in Norway?

“For me it is to be in the country that is top listed within the subject that you are studying. In my opinion you have to be in the country to learn the system. I‘m here because Norway is listed as one of the best countries when it comes to social democracy, international involvement and gender equality.”

Are there any personal experiences as a foreign student in Norway that you would highlight?

“I went hiking the other day. I felt great when I reached the top! Norway is a mountainous country. Even though we have mountains in Japan, they are different in Norway, and I never have time to go hiking when I’m in Japan.”

What would you tell students from your country about university life in Norway?

“There are both similarities and differences when it comes to Japanese and Norwegian university life. Actually, Japanese and Norwegians are quite alike. Both Norwegians and Japanese are polite and a bit shy, and very friendly when you start talking to them.”

What did you miss the most when you where away from your country?

“I miss taking a hot bath every night.”

In your opinion, what is the most important outcome of being an international student?

“I have lived in other countries before. When I was 14 I moved to India to attend a boarding school. I was there for three years. Then I moved to Fiji to go to high school. I think that is important to move to other places because you meet different people with different background.”

Which are the main differences from your country when it comes to your life as a student?

“We have a lot of spare time in Norway. The workload is not as big as back home. Still I see a lot of students studying in the library from early morning on.”

All in all: The best thing about living and studying in Norway?

“I think that the best thing about living and studying in Norway is that you can relax a bit. I love the fact that you can walk around without bumping into anyone by accident. I feel so relaxed that it will be hard to go back and adjust to my busy life in Japan.”

All in all: The worse thing about living and studying in Norway?

“The challenge is that I have a lot of spear time, but cannot fill it with a lot of activities. It would be too expensive for me.”

What are your future plans?

“I would love to work for the UN to make sure that the money they have goes to the people that really needs it.”

23 March 2015