What are the main reasons for choosing Norway as your study destination?
I chose Norway because I wanted to visit a country which I have not visited before, and always wanted to travel Scandinavia due to its beautiful landscapes. Furthermore, I wanted to visit a country that had a sufficiently different culture compared to my home country, but wasn’t TOO different (as, e.g., Asian countries).
Where did you study and why did you choose this institution?
I studied at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) in Bergen. I chose NHH because I wanted to study in Norway, and NHH was the best option, the university had great reviews from previous students from my University, and has a really good reputation in the field of economics and business administration.
What was your idea about Norway before you arrived and did you find the impression to be true?
I had no real idea about how Norwegian people would be like, but I have heard that Norwegian people were rather quiet, down-to-earth, not talking much and do not show their emotions freely. However, when I arrived I found these impressions or stereotypes to be false – the Norwegian people were very friendly, open-minded, talkative and very interesting to talk to. Maybe this was due to the high exposure to international students at NHH, I don’t know – but I was glad to be received in such a warm and friendly manner.
Compared to your country, what are the main differences when it comes to student life in Norway?
Student life was very different compared to my home country. When it comes to academics: at my home university, we usually just attended courses and took an exam (that usually makes up 100% of the grade) at the end of the semester – disregarding what we do during the semester (or if we even attend). This usually leads to a very relaxed first half of the semester, and a rather stressful exam period. In Norway, however, academic life was different – almost all courses required the completion of several assignments during the course, consisting of papers, group works, presentations, and so on, with the exams making up only (sometimes very small) parts of the grades. This led to a very relaxed exam period compared to my home country, but during the beginning of the semester I had to spend more time to study – but it was alright, not too hard.
About the fun part of the student life: compared to my home country, the nightlife and student activities differ a bit in Norway – it is not usual to go to bars or pubs a lot (due to extremely high prices for alcoholic beverages), so a lot of partys happened in private rooms or student residence kitchens – which were great fun, I actually liked this a lot better than at home.
What is the most important academic outcome of your time as a student in Norway?
For me as a student, the most important academic lesson in Norway does not lie in the subjects/classes that I took, but in the group works and presentations that were required during those classes. Working together with so many international people from several countries, cultures and different backgrounds proved to be a fantastic opportunity to get to know other cultures, work with people from other countries who may have other work ethics / do things differently. This cultural exchange combined with an academic project / task was what made the academic life abroad so successful and interesting for me – I firmy believe that what I learned here in terms of cultural understanding, awareness, soft skills and collaboration of very different people is much, much more valuable for my future life than the actual contents of the courses (which, luckily, were very interesting as well J )
Are there any personal experiences as a student in Norway you would highlight?
There is not much to say here – Norway offers so much, from beautiful landscapes, hiking trips to endless possible activities for students. I can only say: sleep is for the weak! If you spend only 1 semester abroad, and there is so much offered by the university and the country, you need to make the most of it and try to do as much as possible in the short time that you spend abroad.
Would you recommend studying in Norway to students at your home university? Why/why not?
YES, I would definitely recommend studying in Norway. Especially for people at my University, we not only get to know another culture and many, many international people, we also get to know a whole other style of teaching (as explained in question 4)
What are you doing now and what are your plans for the future?
After I left NHH at the end of 2014, I proceeded to complete my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Mannheim in June 2015. In August 2015, I started a Master’s degree, again at the University of Mannheim, which I will most likely complete in the end of 2017, or early 2018.