Isabelle - University of Bergen

B Advanced Science
Semester 1, 2023
I feel as though my worldview has widened as well as my ability to practice introspection.


I wanted to make a change in my life as I felt university was taking a toll on my mental health, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to make a change in my life while gathering more independence.

Personal Development

I made some of the best friendships I could have hoped to make from this experience, and learnt about several cultures as well as Norwegian because many of my friends were other exchange students. I think I became a much more patient person from this experience and I feel as though my worldview has widened as well as my ability to practice introspection.

Academic Development

Because the expectations at my host university were not as rigorous as UQ science courses, I feel as though I was able to concentrate on my classes far better because I was no longer chronically stressed, and achieved better grades while simultaneously being able to take more care of my physical health. I also took a class to learn the Norwegian language, which gave me a great appreciation of the evolution of languages and cultures, and how they change based on borders and the environment.

Professional Development

I think I gained an ability to practice more patience than I've ever had before. I believe this is because I often had to deal with new challenges by being in a very different environment, and I believe this gave me an ability to be more patient with myself, but also with other people.


I mostly avoided eating out because most restaurants in Norway are very expensive, and ended up spending about $80 per week on food. This was also because I avoided buying meat and other expensive items, and rather bought a collection of spices at the beginning of my trip and used these. Transport for me mostly consisted of public transport, which cost one $300 ticket that covered everywhere in the region of Bergen city for my whole 6 month trip. My rent cost about $550 per month. I calculated what I spend on living costs in Australia and used this to predict what I would spend each month in Norway. I was very careful my first month and wrote down what I spent, and at the end of January I realised that I was quite underbudget. Because of this, I could relax a bit and mostly did not pay too close attention to what I spent on living costs after my first month.


The funding was hugely beneficial as it allowed my friends and I to go on a trip to the town of Stavanger and complete Preikestolen, a famous hike in the region. We were able to hire a car and drive the 5 hours there before camping at the base of the mountain. Public transport to this region takes a very long time, so hiring a car is largely what made this possible. I was one of the most incredible hikes of my life, and being able to stand on the edge of the cliff and look over the Lysefjord at the end of the hike was a hugely daunting experience and made me feel insignificant in an awe-inspiring way. While this was "merely a hike" it was one of the most breathtaking experiences of my life and definitely the best experience of my time away.


The accommodation is guaranteed through the university to all students, with the only con being that it is based on preference, so you are not guaranteed your top preference. However, I was very happy with my housing and had no issues with it. My host university explained this very clearly when I first applied, and it was a very easy process to sign up.


Experiencing a culture full of people who are so proud of their country was a great experience. Norwegians love the outdoors and they make sport very accessible and cheap. This is different to Australia, where equipment and court hire can be fairly expensive. However, equipment hire in Norway is free as long as you have a Norwegian number (I believe it is subsidised by the government), and I was able to borrow equipment for free and complete activities such as camping and skiing for very low prices. I have never been a very "outdoorsy" person, but being able to catch a bus and start a hike 20 minutes after leaving my apartment was something that I like to think I never took for granted, because this is not so easy in Brisbane

Advice/Top Tips

This sounds very cheesy, but taking every experience that was offered to me was something that I never regretted, and future students should do this too.