Education is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of life. In today’s competitive world it often feels essential to have a college degree.
Students between the ages of 16 and 21 from all across the globe are now seeking admission in colleges and universities overseas. This gives them the chance to experience a whole new culture, lead a different lifestyle, pick up a foreign language, meet various people, and live independently. At the same time, a degree from a foreign university can also add to their professional profile and boost their career prospects for the future.The educational authorities of many nations are trying to attract young foreigners by offering them internationally recognized degrees at highly competitive rates. A number of countries have also made it much easier for people to get a student visa, compared to a work permit or permanent residency. The majority of the expat students generally look at places like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, US, UAE, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Singapore when shortlisting colleges. However, if you are applying to universities overseas, you should definitely keep Norway in mind.
According to the 4th addition of the Student Satisfaction Awards, Norway has been rated as the best performing country in Europe, based on students’ experiences by assessing the extent to which they would recommend a university to friends or others. StudyPortal has created an online platform called SteXX.eu, for international students to share reviews of different European universities.
This year 15,965 students from around the world used this platform, giving Norway a score of 9.26 out of 10 (Excellent), putting the country at the number one spot, slightly ahead of places like Ireland (9.19), Poland (9.09), Finland (9.07), the UK (9.05), Slovenia (9.01) and considerably higher than Sweden (8.98), Denmark (8.97), the Czech Republic (8.93), Austria (8.90), and Belgium (8.85).
This shows that Norway is home to the happiest students across the continent. Of the 18 different schools and universities that were reviewed, 3 received awards. The only universities eligible for awards are the ones that receive an average student satisfaction rating of minimum 8 out of 10, based on fewer than 20 reviews. These were:
• University of Oslo, which got a score of 9.5+ (Outstanding) with 26 reviews
• Norwegian University of Science & Technology, which got a score of 9+ (Excellent) with 41 reviews
• University of Bergen, which got a score of 9+ (Excellent) with 35 reviews.
These results are also in line with the top universities in Norway, according to MastersPortal. Several students that studied in Norway shared their experience on the platform that was provided to them by StudyPortals. This year, more than 180 of the respondents left a review.
What Makes Norway A Great Place to Study?
International students who have studied there say that Norwegian universities have more than just a degree to offer everyone. The overall standard of education is way above other countries. You are likely to have a great learning experience, whether you sign up for a vocational undergraduate subject or a postgraduate research course.
Almost all the colleges provide a number of high-quality specialized programs taught in English. Moreover, the teaching methodology focuses a lot on promoting independent thinking, experiential learning, independent project work, and trainee interaction. Even though the number of students in each university is relatively high, the learning takes place in smaller groups. Many students also love the fact that the atmosphere is quite informal and the teachers, as well as the other students, tend to be very approachable.
The facilities at Norwegian universities are known to be well-equipped with the latest training aids and technology. Almost all the campuses are not only well organized, but also internationally oriented. Students in this nation believe that they are given a lot of practical experience even they are studying non-vocational subjects, and this opens up the way to more career options.
Another aspect that makes this Scandinavian country so good for teens and young adults is the strong sense of community, reinforced by a huge number of activities organized by the universities as well as student associations.
It is important to note that Norway is also one of the leading countries that conform to the Bologna Process guidelines for European higher education. This was developed to prepare students for a bright future career and for them to live as active citizens in a democratic society. The Bologna Process doesn’t just focus on academic grades but also aims to enhance students’ lives in other ways.
How to Choose a Degree Program
There are certain steps that you need to follow as a student in order to make sure that you sign up for the right course and with the college of your choice. You should:
• Conduct detailed research about the programs that are offered in your field of interest. Look for information according to subject areas (like Law, Business Administration & Natural Sciences) as well as universities.
• Check specific information for students applying from your home country. Go through the visa as well as the admission criteria carefully.
• Contact the international office or department of the university that you are interested in. Write to them with any queries that you may have about the program, faculty, and career opportunities. Also get clarity on any requirements that the program may have.
• Clarify what the prerequisites of the course are before you decide to sign up for it. For example, certain programs need you to have a specific degree or credits in a particular discipline before you can apply for them.
You can easily get all the information you need about the universities in various cities of Norway online. Study In Norway has a list of places that you could apply to. This portal will let you know more about where and what you can study. It also provides information about various aspects of expat students’ life in Norway, including the education system, scholarships, transfer credits & degrees, tuition, admission & application, student residence permits, the language, and health insurance. You will also come across testimonials and experiences written by students in this country, which could help you make a decision.
Once you are sure about which degree program you would like to be enrolled in, you can initiate the admission process. Gather all the documents that you think you may need, especially copies of your passport, program application, previous course transcripts, resume and recommendation letters. The paperwork required may be different for each university, so go through their checklist when making the arrangements. Place all the documents in an envelope and mail them to the universities of your choice. Some of the universities may have a screening process, where you have submit an online application. If you are selected, they will ask you to mail them the rest of the documents. None of the universities ask students to pay an application fee, so do not enclose a check or give out your bank details to process a payment.
Be on a look out for an acceptance notification via post or email. This could take several weeks. Once you have been accepted, you can apply for a student visa and make your travel plans accordingly. If the university has a Student Welfare Organization, get in touch with them for any assistance you may need in terms of travel and accommodation. Some of the colleges may even have a Welcome Committee that will pick you up from the airport, drive you to your new place and leave you with a bag of food to last a couple of days. However, these are some of the perks that are offered by only select universities, so don’t count on receiving this treatment unless you are specifically told that you will get some assistance.
What is the Cost of Studying in Norway?
The Land of the Midnight Sun has always been regarded as one of the happiest places in the world by locals as well as foreigners. According to the United Nations, this country is one of the best places to live in for people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds. This quality of life is bound to come at an additional premium; the cost of living in Norway is quite expensive. Many expat students from low income regions feel discouraged from seeking admission in Norwegian universities because of the high living costs in this country. Yet, this nation can pride itself on its quality of education even though the students don’t pay a tuition fee at any level, right from undergraduate courses to Master’s programs or PhDs.
Educational programs in the Scandinavian nations offered tuition-free courses until 2010. However, in nowadays the only tuition-free colleges for international students can be found in Norway. These universities offer Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD programs in English. Admissions are not based on scholarship but on merit and all the students who are accepted get to study without paying for their tuition. This is a huge advantage for those who are interested in studying further but don’t want to pile on higher student loans. Moreover, Norwegian degrees are widely recognized, especially across Europe and Asia.
It is important to keep in mind that even though there are no tuition fees, students are required to pay a semester fee that can range anywhere between Norwegian Krone or NOK 300 (US $ 35; £ 29; € 33) and NOK 600 (US $ 70; £ 57; € 66) per term. Once they pay this amount, they are eligible to sit their exams. At the same time, this fee offers several other benefits, such as access to sports facilities and discounts for several things like public transport, cultural events, museums and concerts. The semester fee does not apply to exchange students.
The Scandinavian Welfare Model includes subsidized higher education among other benefits. Students who have been undergoing a course in this country for over a year get insured under the local healthcare system, which is known as the National Insurance Scheme. This is a major advantage for a foreign student.
Do keep in mind that while you save on a tuition fee, you are likely to spend a significant amount on books and study materials. However, for most students, this is a one-time expense which is usually incurred at the start of the semester, depending on their course. Fortunately, it is quite easy to find great deals on second-hand books and other kinds of study material, thereby reducing overall costs.
Some of the universities in Norway have been accredited by the US Department of Education. This allows students to apply for financial aid from an American student loan program called FFELP. Those who are from developing nations can apply for a full scholarship, which usually includes travel and accommodation costs.
To sum it up, Norway is a great choice for students who are interested in learning and earning a degree, without racking up a huge loan. At the same time, it is important to consider the other costs that you are likely to incur once you move to Norway, as it is one of the most expensive places to live in. Weigh all the pros and cons of seeking admission in this European nation carefully, before making the decision to relocate.
Have you studied in Norway? Share your experiences in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!