Camille - University of Oslo

M Writing, Editing and Publishing
Semester 2, 2016

Academic experience

I studied Norwegian for International Students, Human Rights and English Literature, and Runology. In Oslo, you sign up for classes but don't have to sign up for the exams, and the courses often had qualification essays or presentations before it was possible to sign up for the exam. So while I studied full time (3 courses), I only signed up for two exams because I only needed those credits for my degree. The final grade marks for Human Rights and English Literature and Runology were based entirely on the end of semester exams. The last few weeks of exchange would have been very intense because of this, but since I only needed to pass there was less stress.

Personal experience

I met one of my best friends (and soul mate) on exchange. She was also an international student, and we clicked right away. I made many other incredible friendships with people from many different countries. Making friends with Norwegians took some effort, which I did not mind. I met most my Norwegian friends at bars and in some of my classes.
Studying in Europe gave me the opportunity to travel to many different countries in the area. I loved weekends in Sweden and Denmark and the Erasmus student trip to St Petersburg. I also spent a lot of time exploring Oslo and immersing myself in the history of Norway.

Accommodation

I lived at Kringsjå Studentby. I shared my kitchen and bathroom with only one other student. There were always parties happening in the bigger Kringsjå buildings, so I never had to host anything and could leave parties whenever I wanted. It was only a 20-minute metro ride away from the city centre, but I chose it because of how close it is to Sognsvann. Sognsvann is a forest and lake you can walk around or hike through. In summer, you can pick berries and mushrooms in Sognsvann and on Sundays they have a stand set up so the rangers can check if your berries and mushrooms are edible.
The night bus ran on Friday and Saturday nights once the last metro left, so going out in Oslo city was quite easy. Walking from Oslo central took me about 1.5 hours, so it is doable but not ideal. It was easy to walk to the student bar at Sogn student village, though. So if you want to be close to other student parties, either live at Kringsjå or Sogn, but if you will be going out in the city on other nights then chose a closer place.
Keep in mind that while the drinking age in Oslo is 18, most places are 20 up and a lot of clubs and bars in the city are 23 or 24 and up.

Budget 

Things in Oslo are really expensive. Fresh fruit and vegetables are well priced, especially if you buy them from Grønnland. Frozen salmon was also quite cheap. I highly recommend travelling (Swebus does overnight bus rides to places in Sweden and Denmark) so make sure you have some budget for that. Alcohol is heavily taxed in Norway, so either bring what you want in from other countries or buy it duty-free at the airport. IKEA is really cheap, so I recommend getting bedding from there.
Overall, I recommend a $20,000 budget including travel.

Professional development and employability

Exchange taught me how to talk to people from different cultures, and as a writer, it also gave me a lot of inspiration.

Highlights 

For Christmas, I went up to Tromsø and went husky sledding. I got to drive my own husky sled and play with puppies, and afterwards, we ate reindeer stew under the northern lights.

Top tips 

Take advantage of every opportunity! Travel whenever you get a chance, and definitely try the local cuisine. No one knows who you are when you go on exchange, so you can be whoever you want to be.

Camille - University of Oslo