'Norway surprised me'

‘Norway surprised me. The quality of life is good, and the landscape is astonishing’

Marcela Reggiani from Brazil just finished her Master’s degree at NTNU in Trondheim. Her views confirm many of the findings in a new survey from the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU), showing that international students are very satisfied with Norwegian education and the study environment. 

Over 2,600 international students in Norway have answered a number of questions about academic quality, the study environment and social life and the reason they chose Norway as their study destination.

The survey includes exchange students and students who are taking their full degree in Norway. Here you can read the SIU-report on international students in full.

More contact

‘Overall, international students are very satisfied both with the quality of the programme they are taking and with the study environment. They are also satisfied with the social aspects of their studies, but we see that there could be more contact between Norwegian and international students,’ says Director General of SIU Harald Nybølet. 

‘The answers from the survey are interesting and useful for several reasons, among other things for recruiting more excellent students from other countries,’ the director general points out.

High-quality education

Among the survey respondents, most students are from Germany and France, followed by Russia, China and Spain. The reasons why students want to come to Norway is first and foremost the quality of education, in addition to unspoilt nature and a safe and peaceful society.

Marcela Reggiani heard about NTNU from a friend doing his Phd there. ‘I thought, why not? And I love living here. NTNU is a quality institution, and Norway has a lot of know-how in my field of study.’

The survey shows that as many as 66 per cent of the respondents are satisfied with their teachers’ ability to make the teaching interesting. A predominance of open answers also show that many students are attracted by good study programmes. A number of respondents highlight specialised fields such as aquaculture and engineering. And as many as 84 per cent are also satisfied with the level of teaching in English at Norwegian universities and university colleges. 

‘This is important feedback for Norwegian academics who obviously master teaching in English,’ comments Hege Toje, senior adviser at SIU who is responsible for developing the SIU report.

Careers and a technologically advanced society are also high on the list of reasons for choosing to study in Norway, while the absence of expensive study fees came further down the list.

Student

Deep or shallow friendships

High living expenses and getting to know Norwegians are the factors that most students mention when asked about the challenges of being an international student in Norway.

At NTNU, a buddy programme was Marcelas key to meet Norwegian students. ‘I have met a lot of people, and my friends here replace my family who live far away. Norwegians are more shy than Brazilians, and I find that social relations with them either become deep friendships or stay shallow. But I have some really good friends here’.    

Long-term perspective

Career is also a topic in the report. A many as 46 per cent of students can envisage working in Norway after completing their period of study. ‘Good pay and working conditions, a safe society and good career opportunities are the main reasons students wish to stay in the country,’ explains Hege Toje. 

SIU-director Harald Nybølet sees that the international students can  contribute new knowledge to their fellow Norwegian students.

‘In addition, international students can also be assets for Norwegian business and industry and society at large, both while studying and after gaining their qualifications,’ the SIU director general points out.

 

FACTS

  • SIU recently published the report ‘International students in Norway – Perceptions of Norway as a study destination’, based on a survey carried out among international students.
  • This is the fifth time SIU has published the results of a survey of this kind. A total of 2,623 students answered, equivalent to a 35 per cent response rate. 
  • The students in the survey came from 110 different countries. Just over half are from Europe.
  • The high quality and good reputation of Norwegian education institutions are the most important reasons for students choosing to study in Norway.
  • In 2015, there were 25,685 foreign national students in Norway. This corresponds to about ten per cent of the total number of students.
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