Studying abroad in Norway was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I won't deny that I had the pre-departure jitters, but within the first couple of being surrounded by new friends and a... Kersti Taha
Health & Safety
The land of trolls, brown cheese, and cross country skiing
Submitted by Kersti Taha - Golden, Colorado Fort Lewis College | June 20, 2017
Studying abroad in Norway was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I won't deny that I had the pre-departure jitters, but within the first couple of being surrounded by new friends and a beautiful place, those jitters quickly dissolved. The first week in Norway is where you will spend time getting to know the fellow study abroad students, as well as getting to know the town in which you will call home. I am not going to sugar coat anything in this review, because I think that would be unfair to whoever is reading this. I will be honest, being in Norway during the winter was extremely difficult. It was light for only about 6 hours per day during the initial months, and even then the sun rarely broke through the gray skies. I will admit, if you are a person that is always use to warmth and sun, then you might be in for a little shock when you arrive in Norway. But change is good right?! Cross country skiing is a must if you are going to be living in Oslo during the winter months, this gives you an insight into the culture of Norwegians (and it's a great workout). The schooling in Norway is fairly different from the US. There is a lot more self motivation that goes into studying in Norway. In the US, I think university is a bit more guided for you, and you do more study in the classroom rather than outside the classroom. In Norway, it is required that you take the time to read the material on your own. It's a good method of studying, and teaches you to be more independent. The great thing about living in Oslo was the fact that traveling to different countries, and even around Norway itself was pretty simple. It is easy to find cheap flights out of the Oslo airport if you book in advance. I highly recommend visiting the north part of Norway (Bergen, Tromsø and the Lofoten Islands). If you go during the winter months, you will most likely see the northern lights-which is an amazing experience. These northern towns are gold for people who want to see where mountains meet the ocean. Also, prepare yourself to eat a lot of traditional Norwegian food (brown cheese, reindeer, and A LOT of bread) while you are abroad. The language is very different from English, but I had friends pick it up pretty easily. If you want to take a Norwegian language class, the University of Oslo offers some great ones. But if not, don't worry-English is almost spoken more than Norwegian is, so you won't have any problem with language barriers. Norway is known for being expensive, and let me tell ya, it surely is. A beer at a bar usually goes for around 100 kroner ($8) so be careful when you go out. The cheapest food is located in the part of town called Grønland, they have a lot of fresh produce at a pretty good price. The best way to save money in Norway is to not go out to eat often, and to not spend money on things you don't need. (Side note: the liquor stores close at 6pm on weekdays and 3pm on weekends- so if you want something make sure you go early in the day!). Spring and summer months in Oslo are great fun, everyone is outside enjoying the warmth. You can go on ferry rides, go to Sognsvann lake and have a bbq, or visit Vigeland sculpture park. Oslo offers a lot of activities for people with all personalities. If you like museums, they got them. If you like hiking, they have an endless amount of trails. If you like the ocean-it's right there. There is always going to be something to do in Oslo, I can promise that you will never get bored. So learn how to cross country ski, try some local foods, and take time to explore Oslo and the surrounding area. I can guarantee that Norway will not disappoint. Skål, fellow travelers! You will have a great time.
University Studies Abroad Consortium responded to this review June 21, 2017 at 9:36 AM
Thank you for the very detailed review Kersti! We're so glad you had a good time abroad, and appreciate your honest review!