As I was writing a blogpost about choosing courses and study abroad, I got an e-mail asking me about my experience here in Norway. I wrote a lenghty answer and decided to partly publish it as a personal reflection of the last semester. It seemed to fit a bit better than simply writing about courses. As I am wanting to create a bit more personality on the blog, I thought this may be a good start. Here is what I said:
“Essentially, I am really content about choosing Oslo. The city sometimes feels a bit small, but it is nicely quiet and calm. Living expenses are okay if you are staying in student accomodation.Other living expenses are very high in comparison and even in the cheaper supermarkets you will usually spend lots of money, even if you are only buying handful of things. Meat and fish is expensive. Going out to eat is one level above that.
Academically, it depends a little bit on your courses, one of the main differences to me is that you are always required to have read and worked through the chapter. Otherwise you won’t get far. It is more frontal teaching than at home, but the courses are also generally larger. These are the courses I am taking:
- Research & Econometrics: Great professor, a well laid-out course, very fair and doable workload.
- Political Economy: A topic of interest of mine, a little less well structured but average workload and no calculations.
- Media Management & Economics: Not that nice, structure could be improved, at least 50% of classes were held by guest lecturers and the term paper question was unclear.
- Real Estate Finance: Another personal interest and it turned out to be my favorite course. I had to get used to our professorat first, but I enjoyed it more and more as we moved along.
The travel opportunities are endless, Norwegian Airlines has a deal for young adults that cuts fares in half (“UNDER26”). Connections to the airport are great. I did not travel as much as other people while here – “just” a few trips – but there are many destinations to visit, such as Kjerag, Preikestolen, Trolltunga, Lofoten, Tromsø, Bergen, other European cities…
Overall, I am quite content as I mentioned, but I realized I am not one for the cold. The two biggest downsides for me are prices and the weather and now, if I could choose again, I might have gone to Spain. But those are personal preferences for language and lifestyle and have nothing to do with me being dissatisfied. Also, I heard a lot that Norwegians are cool and reserved, but in my experience, it really isn’t true.”
Adding a few thoughts to what I said in my e-mail: I did not look into private apartments, but I am sure it will be much more expensive. It is my first time staying in student housing here, but I quite like it. My house is on the smaller side, we each have a room and bathroom and share a kitchen and balcony between seven people. I am also close to the city center, which is a bonus.
One of the reasons I did not travel as much was that I was really happy with my travels in South America this year. Study abroad is a great once (or twice) in a lifetime event. And as much as I enjoyed my year abroad, it is very true that there is no place like home. Am I sad that the study abroad period is over? Yes. Am I also super happy to be back with friends and family? Absolutely.