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
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 instills 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
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.