– Could you tell us the main reasons for choosing Norway as your study destination?
The main reasons that I chose Norway as my study destination were both for the natural beauty that the country had to offer, as well as the opportunity to travel to Europe. During my time in Norway, I have been able to se many beautiful sights, such as Preikstolen, Stavanger, and Oslo. The fjords that surround Norway, as well as all of the wildlife and mountains are perfect for hiking and sight seeing. Also, I have never been to Europe and have always wanted to go. I chose Norway to have the opportunities to travel around Europe and experience other cultures.
– Why did you choose the institution you were at?
The reason that I chose the University of Agder was because the university had a business program, and the small size of the university would be beneficial for small classes and a different teaching experience. I am used to classes that are around 40-200 students, so classes that had 15-20 were great for class discussions, and provided a different way of learning the subjects. Also, the university is right by the ocean, and is also located next to hiking trails!
– What was your idea of Norway before you arrived?
I knew that Norway was incredibly safe and had the highest ‘happiness’ percentage out of all countries. I also knew that Norway was famous for the Northern Lights, which I have always wanted to see, and that the country gets VERY cold during the winter. I did not have much information regarding Norway before I studied abroad, which served to be beneficial as I was pleasantly surprised about the culture and country.
– Which are the main differences from your country when it comes to your life as a student?
In the United States at Oregon State University, we learn through many different types of learning methods. We also have 10-week terms instead of semesters, so I was used to learning a great deal of information in a fraction of the time. Our grades are composed of in-class assignments, attendance, online assignments, papers, group work, presentations, midterm and finals. In Norway, our final grade is only made up of a paper and the final. I am used to learning by doing, which was hard to adjust to, and the finals are also sometime more than a month after the classes end.
– In your opinion, what is the most important academic outcome as an international student in Norway?
The most important academic outcome of being an international student in Norway was learning about the different cultures of the students that compromised our classes, as well as the different implications for operating in an international business environment. All of my teachers tried to incorporate different cultures in our lessons, and we learned how to work with people from different places around the world. To me, this is invaluable and can not be taught unless in an international environment.
– Are there any personal experiences as a foreign student in Norway you would highlight?
My experiences that I would highlight would all come from travelling. If I could give any recommendations to future students, it would be to attend all of the ESN events, as well as to take all opportunities to travel that you can. ESN provided many opportunities to travel around Norway, and see the famous sights and travel destinations. Also, it was a great way to connect with other international students. For someone like me who has never visited Europe, the chance to travel was one of the most memorable things that I experienced while here.
– What would you tell students from your country about university life in Norway?
I would say that it is much more focused on academia, as compared to a university that has Greek Life or sports teams. The classes and university size was very small (around 2000 students), and I felt that students only came to the university to learn. At home, the university is a gathering place for students, and many events and activities are held on grounds.
– What do you miss the most when you are away from your country?
Surprisingly, I miss having the ease of buying all of my grocery and household products at one store (such as a Walmart in the United States). In Norway, there are mostly small grocery stores, and you have to go downtown to a mall to buy household products. I also missed the ease of having everything proximate to me. Above all, I missed how inexpensive Oregon seemed to the prices here in Norway.
– In your opinion, what is the most important outcome of being an international student?
One of the most important outcomes of being an international student was meeting people from different cultures around the world. This gave me the opportunity to learn first hand about other countries, traditions, food, and even some of the language. Being able to acclimate to a different country and climate shows that you not only have the ability to adjust (which is great for the business environment), but also that you have the ability to live and learn on your own. You develop a sense of independence that can only be learned from experiences like these.
– What are you doing now?
Currently, I am studying for my finals here at the University of Agder and preparing for my trip back home!
– What are your future plans?
I will have one year of school left after I return home to my university, and then I plan to work at Target in Human Resources. I look forward to my time at home, but will miss Norway and the close friends that I have made here.