Daniel came to Norway and got surprised:
“I found a lot of stuff I had been warned about, such as getting to know Norwegians and being integrated into the Norwegian culture, to be completely wrong. Everyone that I met in my class was so welcoming and easy to talk to. That was the biggest misrepresentation.”
“For me, it was perfect and I loved it", he says.
I have a very good friend at my university back home who did a one-year exchange at HiOA. He just graduated, but he did a presentation in my class when I was in my first year. He showed me everything he did, told me about people he met, and that sold it for me! I had always wanted to travel to Scandinavia to study. My dad is Danish, so I have been able to come here a couple of times and have some family here. The different design culture they have here made it really attractive since I'm doing product design.
What was your idea of Norway before you arrived?
As for the studying side of things, it was very similar to what my friend told me. However, I found a lot of stuff I had been warned to be worried about, such as getting to know Norwegian and being integrated into the Norwegian culture, were completely wrong. Everyone that I met in my class was so welcoming and so easy to talk to. I didn't have to go out of my way as much as I had been told. That was the biggest misrepresentation. For me, it was perfect and I loved it.
What are the main differences from Australia when it comes to your life as a student?
You are more independent here than back home. I was able to just focus on what I wanted to focus on, but the way you are taught here is quite different. There are similar open collaboration studio spaces, but they don't spoon-feed you as much as back home. They kind of just sent us out, which I really liked. They are starting to do that back home too now. It forces you to really commit yourself to what you are doing. If you are not passionate about it that could be difficult.
In your opinion, what is the most important academic outcome as an international student in Norway?
Definitely skill development. I am motivated to try whatever I can and learn as much as I can. I really want to set myself aside from other designers.
Do you have an advice to other students who want to go to Norway?
It's going to sound like a cliché, but don’t waste opportunities; seize the moment, and be open. It is a different culture, different sorts of people, but if you take an interest in something and show that you are going to put in effort, people will respect that, and you get so much more out of it.
What are your future plans?
I want to come back to Scandinavia to do my masters as soon as I can, but before that, I want to get into the design industry and get some work experience.