Author: Brooke Nisbet
When I heard that I had been offered a place to study at the University of Oslo for a semester of third year, I didn’t know what to expect. I had considered it might be colder and possibly more expensive but I didn’t know much else. My aim in this blog is to ensure that anybody interesting in studying there or has already been accepted to study in Oslo will feel more informed and confident about their move than me!
In preparation for moving to Oslo, my priority was accommodation. Luckily, the University of Oslo offer a variety of different student accommodation; some are located nearer the city and others are situated slightly further away but easily accessible with public transport. I was allocated with my second choice in Kringsja. I would recommend this option to anyone studying in Oslo. This option is cheaper than a lot of other accommodation and a short train ride from the University. You can also choose between a room or studio flat. Kringsja is located near an outdoor winter sports park and a large lake which you can cross-country ski or walk around. There is a large shop, gym and restaurant/cafe also situated within Kringsja grounds which is especially useful.
The cost of living in Oslo is considerably more than in Glasgow. I has been advised this before leaving for Oslo but it was much more expensive than I had anticipated! Don’t worry though, accommodation is affordable which helps.
Like the cost of living, alcohol is very expensive, too. If we did go out and face the cold, this meant lots of pre-drinking and less buying in bars/clubs.
I found Oslo to be VERY cold (but maybe that was just me). It snowed every day until late March so there was always a thick covering of snow on the ground. I would recommend buying a durable pair of boots and a warm, waterproof jacket before moving to Oslo. You will save lots of money buying this before you leave.
Since it is so cold, excellent public transport in Oslo means that you never have to spend too long outside. I would recommend installing the ‘RuterBillett’ app as this allows you to buy tickets instantly. You can buy a monthly train ticket that allows you to travel within Oslo that costs roughly £40. This is definitely the best value for money considering a 24 hour ticket is £10! I used this to explore Oslo and get to University every day.
I went skiing in Oslo and took my family sledging when they came over to visit. There are lots of outdoor skiing parts close to Oslo that you can get the train/bus to. The price of ski hire was affordable and definitely worth it as the views from the mountains are incredible. Aside from sporting activities, you can also take a boat trip around the Norwegian Fjords from Oslo. This was one of my fondest memories of Oslo so I have attached pictures to give you a little insight. I would definitely recommend this as an activity to do with friends if you have some extra money saved!
Oslo is the perfect city to explore the rest of Europe from, too. I visited Copenhagen for a couple of days during the semester and Stockholm is also close by. I didn’t travel much within Norway but you can get the train of fly to the other near-by cities, too.
Before the start of each semester, the University holds a week of activities for international students which helps integrate you into Oslo life and meet other students in the same position as you.
Oslo University is different to my experience at Glasgow as there are less essays and seminars during the semester. Classes are mostly 2 hour lectures each. This means you have to keep up with the workload yourself without much encouragement from tutors. I found this independent studying enjoyable as I really enjoyed the classes I took. My 4 subjects varied from human rights to commercial law.
I sat 4 exams at the end of the semester which were roughly 4 hours each. This initially felt a daunting task to sit in an exam for that long but Norwegian exams are written on computers and are much more informal than what we are accustomed to at Glasgow. Exams felt more laid-back and relaxed even though you have 4 hours ahead of you.
You definitely aren’t expected to remember everything, nor are you expected to write for 4 hours solidly. If someone had told me this at the beginning, I’m sure I would have felt much less stressed.
I brought the bare minimum with me to Oslo as I knew my accommodation was well equipped. Since I knew it would be cold, my suitcases consisted mostly of cosy jumpers/thermals.
My flat already had kitchen utensils that the flat shared. I did choose to take a trip to IKEA to get some more of my own kitchen bits and bobs. I also bought a study light as I thought that my room needed this.
Before moving to Oslo, I set up a bank account with Monzo which you can use all over Europe for no added charge. The Monzo app is also really helpful to keep track of your money.
1 Norwegian Krone equated to about 85p. I installed an app on my phone which converted Norwegian Krone to Pounds. This was helpful to work out the prices in shops, for example, when I first moved.
I would thoroughly recommend studying at the University of Oslo. It might have been cold and expensive but I have met some really special friends and made lasting memories. Oslo is a fantastic place to study and ticks all the boxes you would want as a study abroad destination.