Hei hei! I am currently in the 5th Year of my combined Bachelors of Arts/Bachelor of Laws. Undertaking an exchange at the University of Oslo (UiO), Norway, in the second semester of my 4th year of study, provided me with everything I could have hoped for, and more. I made amazing life-long friends from all over the world, studied at a world-class institution, and was able to experience an incredible country, which perhaps I might never have visited otherwise.

Academic Experience: I studied only law courses at the University of Oslo, using four electives to complete a full-time semester. This required me to take three courses at UiO, of which I chose Public International Law, International Humanitarian Law and Comparative Private Law. They were all academically rewarding and the professors had very impressive international backgrounds. The workload at Oslo’s Faculty of Law was more manageable than that of TC Beirne. Exams are fairly set at 4 hours in length, to which you are allowed to bring food and take breaks when you wish.

Personal Experiences: My exchange was personally enriching on so many levels. Whether I was partying at the law school’s club or having barbeques at the nearby lake, Sognsvann, my social life was well catered for in Oslo. As an exchange student, the university guarantees you accommodation in a student village, making catch-ups and dinner parties with your new international friends very convenient. I lived in Sogn Studentby, which was centrally located and where most of my other international friends were staying. While Oslo is well located for exploring the rest of Europe, do not miss the opportunity to travel in Norway. It is truly beautiful. Some of my highlights were visiting the fjords, going on an amazing hiking trip with friends and dogsledding and seeing the Northern Lights in the Artic Circle. Also, although everyone speaks English in Norway, the locals truly appreciate you having made an effort to learn some of their unique language and you will be able to interact with the Norwegian culture on a deeper level. I enrolled in the introductory Norwegian course offered by UiO for 2 months – it was challenging, but a lot of fun!

Expenses: Do not be scared off!! Oslo is notorious for its high prices, however the cost of living in Oslo is comparable to that of Australia, if not cheaper. In fact, Sydney is now considered to be more expensive than Oslo. Yes, alcohol is very expensive, taxis are exorbitant and eating out can be a little costly. I found however that my weekly grocery bills in Oslo were less than mine in Brisbane, my rent was very affordable, clothes were cheaper and public transport was very frequent and extremely accessible. Upon witnessing the advanced infrastructure and impeccable cleanliness of Oslo, you will understand where those few extra dollars go.

5 TOP TIPS:

  • Get Outdoors – Do as the Norwegians do and get outdoors and active in the crisp Norwegian air whenever possible. This could involve skiing in winter or hiking in the warmer months. Oslo is perfect for both, and I also recommend getting active in other scenic areas of Norway. Check out http://english.turistforeningen.no/ for ideas.
  • Salmon – Salmon is a Norwegian stereotype that truly lives up to its reputation. Salmon in Oslo is extremely fresh, of the highest quality and CHEAP! Eat plenty of it.
  • Coffee – You will unavoidably end up paying approximately $6 on multiple occasions for a cup of coffee, whether barista-made or from an automatic machine. REMA1000 (one of the major supermarkets) offers 12 Kroner (~$2) for decent takeaway coffee. United Bakeries on Karl Johans gate also offers free refills on their filter coffee.
  • Meeting Norwegians – Norwegians are not rude or cold, but actually very polite and sometimes reserved to strangers. After breaking through the initial stages of friendship however, you will make some lovely, genuine Nordic pals. How? I recommend meeting some of the many Norwegians in Brisbane before you go to Oslo (check out the Norwegian Student Societies in Brisbane – NorSK and ANSA Brisbane) and getting involved with student societies in Oslo.
  • Vitamin D – Norwegians practically overdose on it during the dark months, but with good reason. The lack of sunlight will affect you. I highly recommend taking “Möller’s Dobbel Omega 3” capsules on a regular basis.

Lykke til (good luck) for your upcoming exchange in Norway!
 

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