My Erasmus Exchange in Oslo, Norway - by Marta

Why did you choose to go to Oslo, Norway?

Out of the four destinations my university offered me to choose from, it was the best city to learn English in. I was also very attracted to the country due to its countryside and culture.

How long did your exchange last? How much were you paid?

My exchange lasted for six months. I was paid 300 euros a month (or slightly less). This was really very little compared with how expensive life is in Norway. I received financial help from my family, too.

What's the student life like in Oslo?

Great. When we arrived, we were welcomed by a group of students who were already at the university. They organised us into mixed groups, threw welcome parties for the Erasmus students to get to know each other, and told us about their student societies we might like to get involved in. The students there are very active and organise loads of cultural activities, hobbies and sports... every faculty at the university has its own bar, run by the students, where you can work as a waiter and get free coffee and other discounts during your time there. These bars are also open overnight, and are a great place to go partying, since they're cheaper than the bars in the city.

Would you recommend the city and university of Oslo to other students?

Yes. My experience was a really positive one, and the people I met also had a good time. I went everywhere in the city, with a map in hand, since it's not very big. I found loads of things to do, places to visit, walking routes, museums, parks...

What's Norwegian food like?

Varied and original, healthy and at the same time unhealthy! I ate a lot of salmon, which you can buy frozen in the supermarket. Even if you buy the cheapest brand, it tastes delicious. I also bought a lot of fruit and vegetables from a shop in the Grondland district, which was cheaper than in the supermarkets. I didn't go out to many restaurants, since they were too expensive for me.

Did you find it hard to find somewhere to live in Oslo?

No. I was recommended what to do by other students. There are two halls of residences which are the most popular, Krinsja and Sogn. They're both very near each other, and both have their plus and minus points. They're the most important halls, and all of your Erasmus friends will be in one or the other.

How expensive is living in Oslo?

Living in a hall of residence costs around 380 euros a month (electricity and water included), a travel card (valid for the metro and for the bus) costs 50 euros a month, a pint of beer 7 euros (at least! ).

Supermarket shopping isn't as expensive, but you still notice the difference in prices in comparison with Spain.

In the university cafeterias the daily menus are cheaper. I always brought my own food from home.

Travelling around Norway isn't expensive. You can get good deals on the train if you book tickets in advance - it's one of the best ways to travel since it means you can enjoy the countryside.

How are you finding the language? Have you signed up to a language class at the university?

Norwegian is very complicated, and has various dialects which make it even more difficult. I signed up for a free course at the university. At the start, I was really excited to learn a new language, but then I realised how hard it was to keep up with the classes, and remembered that I'd come there specifically to practise my English.

People speak very good English in Norway. Not absolutely everyone speaks it, but many people do and there are people in every shop who will.

What are the best places for partying in Oslo?

The university bars (UI), the Grunerlokka district... there's a rock bar in the centre of Oslo on Jahanne Street with cheap beer. There are other neighbourhoods worth exploring, too.

What about eating out in Oslo? What are your favourite places?

I don't have any particular restaurant I'd recommend.

What does Oslo have to offer in terms of culture?

Viggeland Park, the National Museum, the Bigod peninsula, the Akker bridge...

Do you have any advice for future students coming to Oslo?

Make the most of the opportunity to bond with other students at the university, try and get to know lots of people, mix with the Norwegian culture, rent the citybikes and explore the city... also make the most of the opportunity to travel around the country: see the fjords in Bergen, the aurora borealis and the arctic circle in Tromso, mountain walking and the Stavanger peak... and everything else!

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