Norway offers a truly unique study abroad experience, perfect for those wishing to gain more than just a degree. Studying in Norway is becoming a favourite study destination for more and more international students each year, with over 15,000 currently enrolled at Norwegian institutions. With a population of around 5 million, Norway is a welcoming country that is ready to be explored.
Norwegian universities offer an excellent standard of education, whether you choose a vocational undergraduate subject or a postgraduate research degree, you’ll find some of the best teaching in the world in Norway. Where else in the world can you study, with the chance to see the Aurora Borealis (“Northern lights”), experience the midnight sun, and be taken back by the stunning fjords and mountains?
Norway offers a unique study abroad experience to any international student. No matter what your preferences are, Norway will have something to suit you. Norway has nine specialised institutions, making it a great place if you’re particularly interested in one of their subjects.
Outside of your studies, there is something for everyone too – from active outdoor activities available to take part in, to the cultural epicenters of the Norwegian student cities, there will be something that takes your fancy. What’s more, is that by living in Norway, you’ll be able to fully develop your new found hobby. Whether it is skiing or playing a new musical instrument, you’ll have the chance to practice whilst studying in Norway.
It’s not just a country that offers stunning vistas and backdrops however, as Norway is one of the leading countries conforming to the guidelines from the Bologna Process in European higher education. The Bologna Process was developed to prepare students for a great future career and for life as active citizens in democratic societies. Not just focussed on academic grades, the Bologna Process makes it clear that it’s aims are to enhance you, as students, something that must be a good thing.
By choosing to study in Norway, you’re choosing to study in a stunning environment, living as part of a welcoming community, at universities who put your success first.
Although predominantly known for it’s natural beauty, Norway also has a rich cultural history that anybody studying in Norway would be wise to explore. With Vikings and trolls, Norway has a lot more on offer than you may have originally thought. Of course, if you have a break between studies, you may choose to spend your time exploring the UNESCO World Heritage fjords or observing the Northern Lights above the Arctic Circle between late autumn and early spring.
Part of Scandinavia, Norway is the largest country in the cultural-linguistic region of Northern Europe. There are excellent transport links between Norway and the rest of mainland Europe and beyond, by road, rail or air, so you’ll never be too far from a new adventure either.
Enjoying a relatively mild climate thanks to the Gulf Stream that brings in warmer weather than you may have expected, given it’s location in Northern Europe, Norway also has three different languages to experience too. A country full of nice surprises, you could spend your spare time at a ski resort, trying a fjord cruise or even a wildlife safari. When it comes to food and drink though, Norway really does impress. When the lingonberries and cloudberries begin to ripen in the Norwegian mountains, you should follow the locals and take time off from work to enjoy the juicy berries and at Christmas, enjoy an Aquavit, Norway’s national drink, and you’ll fit right in! The potato-based spirit is flavoured with herbs and spices and is beautiful with Christmas food.
The top tourist attractions in Norway include:
Norway uses the Norway krone (NOK) for its currency. Whilst studying abroad can be an expensive endeavour, studying in Norway doesn’t have to be, as there are generally no tuition fees charged to foreign students. Students do have to pay a semester fee of NOK 300-600 each semester though, in order to sit your exams. It’s worth remembering, that although you can study for free in Norway, you will still have to pay to live in Norway, a country that can be very expensive. It does however have a very high standard of living, and will provide you with free healthcare if you are staying in the country for more than three months.
The cost of living in Norway does vary depending on which city you choose to study in and how you choose to spend your spare time. In many parts of Norway, especially in the student focussed cities, there are discounts to be had for international students on everything from bus fares to leisure activities.
There are a number of scholarships that are available for international students wishing to study abroad in Norway. The Norwegian government offers one such scholarship, created for international students from developing nations. Currently, they support around 1,100 students, of which, 800 are from developing nations. As with all types of scholarship however, there is fierce competition for them, so it is worth planning ahead if you wish to apply for this, or any other type of scholarship.
Of course, you may wish to work while you study to provide you with a bit more money. If you’re from outside the EU/EEA, you are allowed to work whilst studying in Norway. You’ll be allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week, although there are some restrictions, so it is worth double checking with potential employers and your embassy once you arrive. The best news is, that most students are allowed to work full-time during semester breaks.
In Norway, visas are only issued for 3 month periods, making them only suitable for international students on summer courses. Instead, all international students who plan to study in Norway will need to gain a student residence permit. You’ll want to apply for this as soon as possible, as it can take a while to get things sorted and to gain your Norwegian student residence permit. Unfortunately, without this you will not be allowed into Norway to study.
If you’re from the EU/EEA/EFTA, you’ll have to gain a student visa to study in Norway, however there are no processing fees. As a non-EU/EEA international student, you’ll also be required to gain a student residence permit to study in Norway, but there is an application fee of NOK 1,100 (around USD $180). Included in your application form, you’ll have to provide a copy of your passport, an admission letter or other proof that you have been accepted to study in Norway by an approved educational institute, documentation of housing that shows you have somewhere to live, along with proof that you have enough money to support yourself through your studies. You’ll need around NOK 90,000 for this and as a general rule, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration prefer the money to be deposited in a Norwegian bank account, which is in your name. For more detailed information, it is worth looking through the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website.
Despite having three official written languages, Norway also has a variety of spoken dialects, along with a great amount of people speaking English fluently. You’ll probably want to learn a bit of a local language however, such as Bokmål or Nynorsk, and there are usually countless opportunities to do this. There is a selection of courses that are taught in English, meaning you don’t need to be able to speak Bokmål or Nynorsk to get by.
For courses that are taught in Norwegian, you’ll need to be proficient in the Norwegian language. If you want to study in Norway in English, you’ll need to hold excellent English language skills, which you will need to be able to prove when you apply for your course.
The capital city of Norway, Oslo also has the largest population, and it’s also the fastest growing capital city in Europe, making it a place that is constantly evolving. Despite this, the population is only around half a million, making it one of the least densely populated cities in the world. Much of the city therefore is covered in woodland, parkland and other areas you’d be more likely to associate with the outskirts of a city, rather than in the center of a European capital. It’s got plenty to offer, with the stunning new opera house, and the Royal Palace to explore outside of lecture hours, Oslo is also the place where the Nobel Peace Prize winners get announced each year. There are more universities in Oslo than any other Norwegian city, so studying in Oslo therefore, could be the perfect preparation for your Nobel Peace Prize award.
Bergen is a city, located on the west coast of Norway. Greater Bergen has a population of 393,800, making Bergen the second-largest city in Norway, falling behind the capital, Oslo. Bergen is known best for its fish market, Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf, and the surrounding mountains and fjords, such as the stunning Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord. If you only manage to do one thing outside of your studies in Norway, make sure it is to visit the fjords. Consistently rated as the nation’s most famous geographical features, the fjords are renowned around the world for their unrivalled beauty. Whilst the majority of people access the fjords as part of an organised cruise, it is possible to access and view them by road, bike or just walking to them, making them easily accessible, even for students studying abroad in Norway!
Often called the Gateway to the Arctic, Tromsø is located nearly 350km north of the Article circle, making it the ideal launch point for expeditions to the North Pole. Whilst you probably won’t have time to plan and start your own mission to the Pole, the city does provide something you won’t fail to miss. Often called the land of the midnight sun, Norway experiences periods of 24-hour light and 24-hour dark. Tromsø is so far north that you could find yourself walking to lectures for three months in total darkness, followed of course by the polar opposite. The University of Tromsø is also the northernmost university in the world.
Home to the world famous Nidaros Cathedral, Norway’s capital of technology is a great place to be a student. It’s a laid back, friendly city that is just waiting to be experienced. Students make up over 10% of the population of Trondheim, meaning you’re in good company and if you’re looking to study in a fun place, full of life, parties and excellent nightlife, Trondheim is the place to study in Norway for you!
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