A great experience!

In the fall semester 2011, the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences welcomed 31 exchange students from nine different countries.

Four international students: Lasse (Germany), Jakub (Czech Rep.), Pernilla (Finland) and Lena (Germany).

If you wonder what it is like to study at NSSS, who would be better experts to ask than some of the exchange students already here? We asked Lena (Germany), Pernilla (Finland), Jakub (Czech Rep.) and Florian (France) to share some of their tips and experiences after some time here at NSSS. They all agreed on one thing: At the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences you can get the perfect combination of high academic standard and a great social student environment!

Not an ordinary day at school

The organization of studies varies considerably from country to country, and many of the exchange students found the Norwegian education system different from what they were used to.

- The courses are bigger with more credits, but fewer lectures. This was quite different to what I am used to in France, says Florian, who has studied Sport Management. He refers to the typical Norwegian education system with relatively few lectures a week and more self-study.

About half of our exchange students study outdoor education, and they have a very different study schedule. Students in outdoor education go on trips that last up to a week, but all the trips with other exchange students and Norwegian students make this program very social.

picture of exchange students on a rainy day outside- One thing you should be aware of is that you can experience all kinds of weather – so make sure you read the equipment list and bring enough warm clothes. This year it starting snowing on our week long trip in the mountains in August, and that was cold! The Spanish students now call themselves Matador Vikings, says Jakub.

The students point out that it is not a problem studying at NSSS even if you don’t speak Norwegian because NSSS is offering an  increasing number of courses taught in English.

- Language is not a problem, everybody speaks English. And it is attractive to go here. The school has "a name", and it sounds good to have it on your CV. This is good for my degree, and I will never regret it, they all agree. 

The best of both worlds

The school is located in the outskirts of Oslo, and this is one of our big advantages. Close to the city and on the border to nature – you can certainly get the best of both worlds.

- The school is really close to the city, and on the border to nature. It is a perfect location, smiles Jakub. You can ride a bike, go skiing, swim, and if you need something, the city centre is only 10 minutes away by metro, he continues.

Norway, and the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, is not the most common choice. Choosing an exchange semester here will give you a different experience, according to the students.

Students enjoying a sunny day in the mountains on a Outdoor Life trip

- Coming here is something special, it is not that common. And you learn more about the country when you go to a small school like NSSS, they all agree.

- Many are talking about taking a “holiday semester”, a sun and party semester. At NSSS you learn more and it’s not like your social life is less active and fun than in other countries; you just get an academic dimension to your exchange as well. The perfect mix of serious studies and the typical Erasmus experience, says Lena.

The Norwegian School of Sport Sciences is a fairly small and specialized institution and it’s easy to find your way around and to get to know other students. The first week has many “get-to-know-each-other”-activities, both for exchange students alone, and together with the Norwegian students.

Busting the myth?

Norway has a reputation of being an expensive country to live in, but according to our exchange students, this should not scare you from coming here for an exchange experience.

- Of course, when you go to Norway for a semester, you know that you are going to spend a little more, says Lena. The first month might be a bit expensive, but after that you know the tricks of where to go to do your shopping, which brands to get and so on, she continues.

Also, you can turn this into a social advantage, and buy and cook food together as a group from time to time, as our students have done this year. Most of the exchange students live at Kringsjå or Sogn student housing together with other exchange students who attend the University of Oslo, and also Norwegian students. Some find the student housing to be very expensive, whereas others find it is about the same price as their home country – depending on country of origin.

It is difficult to estimate precisely how much one needs to set a side for a total budget per month, but you should calculate at least 700 Euros per month, our students estimate.

- Of course, sometimes you want to spoil yourself a little, or you want to do some extra travelling, but it is usually possible to stay within the budget of 700 Euros.

Exchange students have many opportunities to travel around Norway, but also to the neighbouring countries.

- Travelling is quite cheap in Norway, especially if you use buses and trains and book your tickets early. And if you bring your tent along, you can make quite cheap trips, is the tip from our experienced students.

Exchange students playing beach volley during Buddy WeekExchange students can study at NSSS both the fall and spring semesters. However, there are more courses in English in the fall semester.

- In the beginning of the fall semester there are quite a lot of activities for exchange students, and you are probably more motivated when the days are longer. But if you come for the spring semester, you have more opportunities to go skiing, for example, say our four students.

- If you are here for a year, you probably get more out of the spring semester. You will probably have a basic knowledge of Norwegian, and can follow at least some activity classes that are taught in Norwegian. That is also a good way to meet Norwegian students.

If you have further questions about being an exchange student here - send an e-mail to Lena, Jakub or Pernilla.