Why did you choose Norway as your study destination?
I chose to come to Norway as a bilateral exchange student for many reasons. Having grown up with many people of Norwegian descent, a certain admiration for the homeland has always been a part of my mindset. I had also read of Norway's progressive society, the
extremely high quality of life and the availability to see the highlights of Europe from a safe and accessible distance. It also doesn't hurt to see that Norway has a similar climate to Canada, with a very similar landscape (not nearly as cold in the winter though!).
What was your idea about Norway before you arrived?
I had always pictured Norway to be a utopia, a country overshadowed by a greater Nordic presence, but hidden away as a safe refuge from the world. The population size and the isolated geography gave the impression of a country untouched by Western media and culture. I was
pleased to see that while Norway maintains a unique identity the commodities and the benefits of a Western life were just as easy to come by, while maintaining a level of exposure that doesn't frighten me away.
Which are the main differences from your country when it comes to your life as a student?
Student life in Norway is surprisingly different than that in Canada. I would be expected to be at school from 8:00 till 16:00 every day back home, doing rigorous lab work and studying all evening. Studies in Norway take a more relaxed approach to learning, one that allows
the student to enjoy their youth, their surroundings and their colleagues as much as it instils the confidence that our subjects have been learnt.
In your opinion, what is the most important academic outcome for you as an international student in Norway?
In terms of academic benefits, I have gained a new appreciation to self-guided study. The opportunity to prove to oneself and keep you accountable to your own desires of studying is a breath of fresh air.
What would you tell other students from your country about university life in Norway?
If I were to endorse Norwegian Studies to fellow Canadians I would let them know how accommodating professors and lecturers are. The ever present feeling of being a number in a huge system is lost in Norway. You, the student and the individual are just as important to the
University as are the research dollars and the post-doctoral fellows it seeks to please.
What do you miss the most when you are away from your country?
While Living in Norway sounds too good to be true at times, there are aspects to my home life that I dearly miss. The cost of food and the availability of a vibrant night life are small parts of my nostalgia, though friends are easily made which cuts down on a 'party scene' and
cheaper alternatives are always available if you look hard enough.
In your opinion, why is it important to have a study abroad experience?
I believe study abroad is an important part, or at least should be an important part of every student's career. Regardless of where we come from, we are sheltered into thinking that our way of doing things is the universally accepted means to a resolution. By studying and being
under the influence of another culture we learn to be less ignorant and more accepting of alternatives we would frown upon in our homelands.
What are your future plans?
As for myself, I plan on completing my Bachelors degree this coming winter. Afterwards I will apply to Universities across Europe and Canada in search of a proper law school so I may study to become a solicitor. If all else fails, I would be just as glad to return to Norway and enjoy one of the many Masters programs taught in English.