Could you tell us the main reasons for choosing Norway as your study destination?
The reputation of BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo and the highly specialized nature of the courses were two of my main reasons for choosing Norway as my destination for exchange. The good standing economic status of the country as well as their high regard for safety were other contributing factors to my decision.
What was your idea about Norway before you arrived?
Before I arrived I honestly did not know that much about Norway. I imagined it being a lot colder in Oslo than it actually was. I also was a bit afraid that I would have trouble communicating with people, but I was extremely impressed by the fact that most people in Norway speak near perfect English.
How did you proceed in order to actually get to study in Norway?
My faculty at the University of Victoria has done a good job of integrating the exchange semester into our degree. Essentially you just tell them if you would like to go on exchange or not and they do the rest for you. So it was very easy. The application for a residence permit and applying for housing were a few of the tasks I had to do on my own, but they were not too much of a hassle.
In your opinion, what is the most important academic outcome as an international student in Norway?
Before coming to Norway I was interested in operations management and logistics, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with it. Studying in Norway helped me realize my passion for transportation logistics through courses in the shipping management program at BI Norwegian Business School. In speaking with Canadian transportation companies the general response has been overwhelmingly positive as they have noted that experience like mine is hard to come by with new graduates.
Any personal experience as a foreign student in Norway you would highlight?
I would advise future students to make the effort to get to know Norwegian students. Many of the other exchange students decided to just be friends with other exchange students, but for me it was more important to get to know locals so that I could learn more about Norway and Norwegian culture. My Norwegian friends are fabulous and very hospitable – they truly made my experience unforgettable.
How is Norwegian academic life as compared to Canada?
The way courses are structured differ a lot. In Canada we tend to have a lot of assignments, essays, quizzes, midterms, and final exams, whereas at BI I found that there was a lot fewer components. Thus the responsibility is a lot more on the student to read and learn outside of the classroom.
What did you miss the most when you where away from your country?
Besides my family, not much. But if I have to pick, I would say eating out at restaurants, because it is much cheaper in Canada than Norway.
In your opinion, what is the most important outcome of being an international student?
The opportunity to learn and grow as a person. Travelling is one thing, but actually living in a new country and immersing yourself in the culture is an amazing experience. You learn new things every day and it teaches you things about yourself you never knew. You learn to be more independent and gain more respect for the differences individuals have.
All in all: The best thing about living and studying in Norway?
The people and the beauty of the country. Norwegians are very friendly. They might be shy, but if you get to know them they are some of the kindest, most hospitable people I have ever met. My favourite place in Norway was lake Sognsvann. It was just so peaceful and tranquil – a great place to escape from the city and enjoy the nature.
All in all: The worse thing about living and studying in Norway?
I loved my time in Norway so in retrospect it is hard to say bad things. I guess the only negative was that the cost of living was higher. However it was manageable and not as bad as I thought it was going to be.
What are your future plans?
I just graduated from my university with my Bachelor of Commerce. I plan to gain some experience in the transportation industry and then go back to school to do my masters degree in operations or logistics. There are not many masters programs like this in Canada so I will likely go abroad, perhaps even back to Norway!