Lydia - University of Oslo

M Development Economics / Economics and Public Policy
Semester 2, 2022


I had completed an exchange in my undergraduate degree and absolutely loved it! It was a life-changing experience unlike anything else.

Personal development

I met people from all over the world studying a variety of different courses. I explored different countries and cultures over Europe. More broadly, I developed my confidence in not only solo travel and meeting new people, but also in my learning capabilities and what I have to offer the world.

Academic development

Studying in Norway was quite challenging compared to Australia. The most challenging aspect is that there is only one piece of assessment worth 100% therefore this sole assessment can be quite stressful and anxious-inducing. It was also difficult as the virtual capabilities of the uni (ie. recorded lectures and tutorials, tutorial notes) were not always offered so when I was ill/had a broken wrist, there was not this additional support like UQ offers. During my exchange, I also had Tom complete an Oral Exam with my lecturer and a third-party examiner for the first time ever which was an interesting and rewarding experience (although stressful at the time). In terms of workload, it was the same as UQ with lectures and seminars each week and an adequate amount of reading/study.

Professional development

I have developed confidence in what I have to offer personally and professionally. For example, my exchange experience made me proud of my language and communication skills and my enhanced ability to communicate with people from all different backgrounds. I also found that my cultural awareness and empathy helped me foster quality relationships. 

Studying and living in a new environment also allowed me to develop my resilience as well as improve my ability to ‘roll with the punches’.


Norway was an incredibly expensive country and this is probably one of the most challenging aspects of the experience. Costs in Europe due to the Ukraine war/energy crisis etc. meant basic groceries were all quite expensive and fluctuated which meant it was difficult to budget a set amount each week. However, a basic estimated cost of my main costs is as follows:

  • phone plan with Telenor = 399kr/month
  • weekly groceries = 600-1000kr/week 
  • travel pass (Tram, bus, Metro) = 399kr/month for students 
  • accommodation (single studio flat with own bathroom and kitchen) = 6,300kr/month


The funding provided by UQ did not go to anything specifically but instead was used to pay for food, transport and my phone plan costs whilst away. The funding was incredibly beneficial and provides an additional boost to support those on exchange. This was greatly appreciated therefore thank you.


I was provided information by the University of Oslo about my accommodation options. The accommodation is provided by SiO which is a third party university accommodation provider. My experience with my accommodation and SiO was excellent and I have no complaints. 

My room was a single studio flat with my own bathroom and kitchen. I was in the heart of Oslo, close to both bus and trams and conveniently placed 10mins walk from the city centre. Only downside to the accommodation (and to living alone), is that you do not have a support network in your building that you can call upon if needed. In Scandinavian countries, it is not common to know your neighbours in your building and this became difficult when I broke my wrist and would have loved to have had some friends in my building to call upon if needed. Other than this, the accomodation was fabulous and all of the services/systems worked well and efficiently.


The highlight of my exchange was the opportunity to meet people from all over the world from all different walks of life - I met students from Germany, Italy and the many other countries as well as Norwegian lecturers and locals. There is no greater delight than meeting new people and hearing how different their life is to yours (ie. different Christmas traditions, different university systems etc). 

When speaking to a friend on exchange, she asked why I did an exchange again and I said ‘travelling makes to realise how insignificant you are but how significant you can be.’

Advice/Top tips

  • take as many opportunities to travel as you can 
  • don’t have any regrets - although money may be tight, going home with spare money is pointless. Use the money on food, experiences and adventures because that will be more rewarding and more meaningful at the end of the day.
  • during the orientation weeks, do not be afraid to walk up to someone and say ‘hey I’m …., are you studying …. too?’ Most of my friends that I am still in touch with from both my undergraduate/masters exchange are from when I went up and chatted to people. (Also, everyone loves Australians so that’ll be happy to have a chat about spiders/sharks regardless) 
  • don’t feel bad if you don’t make friends straight away; the reality is most of your time on exchange is alone and you need to get comfortable being alone before you can be comfortable with other people 
  • make sure you balance - although you do want to do well at university whilst you are over there, make sure you find time for fun and relaxation because the experience will be over in a blink of an eye