It had to be in Scandinavia, she decided. Norway, with its leading research in childhood studies seemed the obvious choice.

Hailing from beautiful Canada, Patricia was no stranger to snow. Seeking academic challenges as well as cultural, she has found both at Queen Maud’s. Not only that, but she has been able to work with an esteemed researcher within her field. Truly a dream come true, and an opportunity she would not be without. We sat down for a quick chat at the end of her six-month long stay – to learn about her and her experiences studying in Norway.

– What was the main reason you chose Norway for your studies?

It is hard to pick a main reason, but few big ones are that I wanted to come to a Scandinavian country because they have a well-regarded education system, especially when it comes to childhood education. I ended up choosing Norway because the literature on the research topic I was interested in, was coming out of Norway, and the main inspiration for my thesis ended up being my supervisor here. The facilities here are great as well. It’s the little things, such as not having to queue up by the printer.

– Has your impression of Norway changed during your stay?

This hard to answer because I have been here for so long now, it is hard to think about what I thought before coming here. The one thing I can think that has shifted is that I thought Norwegians were really mentally tough people (and they are! Just not the way I thought), but I thought they were out in the cold suffering all the time and doing really dangerous extreme activities outside. And it is true they are outside in the cold all the time, and doing what some people may deem extreme activities, but they are not suffering and not engaging in risk without taking significant precautions. Norwegians are very prepared for the elements and the activities they do and have a lot of really awesome apps, systems and gadgets to make outdoor life and challenging activities, really quite enjoyable! Being prepared so that hard and potentially uncomfortable things can be more enjoyable is something I will definitely take home with me!

– What are the main differences between Norway and your home country when it comes to a student’s academic, cultural and social life?

I feel very comfortable culturally and socially in Norway. I think that in some ways Norwegians are similar to Canadians, and the difference maybe comes from a bit of American influence in Canada. I think some Canadians, myself included, are more “Norwegian” and others are maybe more American (depending on politics and activities enjoyed, worldviews, etc.). I think that the activities I like to do (outdoor stuff) and the way I think is almost more congruent in a Nordic way of being. I think a lot of Canadians would feel similar to me, and some would think the opposite. Studying seems quite similar, and I read a lot of articles written by Norwegians, so I knew what to expect in regard to academia as well.

– What do you miss most about Canada?

I miss familiarity. I have met so many great people here, and I love all the systems (food stores, buses, ski trails) and surrounding nature, but I am ready to know my surroundings well and be with my social network again. Just things like getting on buses the wrong way, not having a stable living location, and translating Norwegian to English when I need to figure something out, stuff like that.

– In what way do you think your stay here will influence your career opportunities?

I have expanded my network to people in Norway is one way it will influence my career. I am hoping to keep working with my supervisor here a little bit on research and writing about risky play. I also think that choosing to do research in a different country and having that experience, reflects who I am, and employers will acknowledge that.

– What is the best part of studying in Norway? What would you recommend for people who are thinking of studying here?

I love to ski and the access to ski trails is AMAZING! I think that there is a lot of readily available things to do outside in Norway and in general systems and cities are easy to navigate, and people are really friendly! I have no hesitation in recommending people come study in Norway! I don’t really have any advice, because things are quite easy to figure out on your own here, nothing is overly obscure or challenging.

About the exchange programme

Patricia received a grant through the Mitacs Accelerate International programme to go studying in Norway. With this programme, master and PhD students from Norway and Canada have the opportunity to have research internships in a company in the partner country.

Watch our full video interview with Patricia:

14 May 2019