Amy - University of Oslo

B Biomedical Science
Semester 2, 2018

Academic experience

I studied 3 courses at UiO: FYS3700, MBV3050 and BIO3081. Subject enrolment was relatively easy, however, make sure you have satisfied the prerequisites and have a few backup courses just in case of timetable clashes etc. I definitely did notice a few differences regarding assessment at UiO compared to UQ. For example, my physiology subject had multiple oral exams instead of written exams. This was quite daunting at first, however, after time I actually really enjoyed the different type of assessment, as it was a nice change from the usual written exams. Overall, the academic experience at UiO was very enjoyable and all of the subjects were related to my degree.

Personal experience

Going on exchange was one of the best decisions I ever made. I met so many incredible people from all around the world and got to see some beautiful parts of Europe. I also got to experience Europe through the eyes of locals, which was extra special. When I first arrived in Oslo, I was extremely nervous, however, as I soon realised, everyone was in a similar boat and those nerves went away pretty quickly. UiO was very organised and actually met us at the airport if we arrived on a certain day and directed us to Oslo Central Station where I met most of my friends, which was extremely helpful and welcoming. 

I arrived in Norway in August while it was still quite warm, so I got the chance to do some incredible hikes including Vettakollen, which gave a great view of Oslo and Preikestolen, near Stavanger on the west coast of Norway. One of my biggest recommendations when travelling to Norway is to hike, as the country has so much untouched beauty that you need to experience.

Accommodation

During my exchange I lived in Sogn Student Village which was about 15 minutes by bus to UiO. Most international students either stay at Sogn or Kringsjå. Sogn is closer to the city and UiO, however, Kringsjå is closer to Sognsvann, a beautiful lake where you can swim, run and hike. SiO, an affiliate company with UiO, sorts out your housing which was extremely helpful, so you just need to add in your preferences for what type of room you would like. I shared a kitchen and bathroom with 5 other people for around $585 AUD a month. My roommates and I had weekly dinners where we all tried the traditional food from our respective countries which was really fun.

Costs

It is no secret that Norway is quite an expensive country to live in, however, having a budget can definitely help when you first arrive. Rema 1000 and Kiwi are by far the cheapest supermarkets and I used MyCall for my phone which was super cheap and worked across the EU.

Challenge

One of the biggest challenges I faced during my exchange was being on my own. As I had never travelled overseas alone, this was initially quite difficult, but over time I gained confidence in travelling and met so many interesting people along the way. I was also quite homesick when I first arrived in Oslo, however, I knew that this was quite normal, and once I stopped comparing everything to my life in Australia it went away.

Professional Development

Some of the main skills I acquired during my exchange were independence, organisation and confidence. Academically, completing those oral exams and learning how to modify my study techniques to a difference assessment type, was extremely useful for my confidence in my abilities as a science student. Also, it was really important that I got out of my comfort zone and pushed myself to try new things and experience new places. This resulted in some incredible memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Highlight

One of the highlights of my exchange undoubtedly, was seeing the Northern Lights. A group of us had travelled to the Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle and after a cloudy weekend, we flew back to Oslo quite disappointed not having seen anything. Our plane took off and we were incredibly lucky to see the beautiful phenomenon right outside our window. I have to say it was truely one of the highlights of my travels.

Top tips

If you are considering going on an exchange, just do it! It was one of the best decisions I ever made and it was by far the best 6 months of my life! You meet so many people from all around the world and learn about many different cultures. Of course there will be difficulties along the way, but it is all a learning experience and you will grow so much by being in unfamiliar environments and situations.