Jonathan – BI Norwegian Business School – Norway
Semester 2, 2022
Bachelor of Business – International (Accountancy)
Hello! My name is Jonathan and as part of the Bachelor of Business – International degree I was fortunate enough to undertake a yearlong long exchange at BI Norwegian Business School (BI) in Oslo, Norway. Now for most people, Norway wouldn’t be their first exchange, let alone a place you may not ever have heard of, but trust me, IT IS WORTH IT! From the most breathtaking landscapes to the Northern Lights experiences, Norway has something for everyone. For those considering heading to Europe for exchange, I would highly recommend choosing Norway. Here’s a few reasons why along with some tricks and tips for those looking to head to Norway for exchange.
Orientation Week – ‘Fadderullan’
Before even starting your studies at BI, the student organisation, BISO goes all out to welcome you to Norway by organising Fadderullan – BI’s version of orientation week. From putting you into a buddy group, to partying, going on a boat party in the Oslo Fjord, and throwing a concert, Fadderullan was an amazing way for me not only get to know the Business School but also to meet new friends.
One of my favourite sayings from Norway is that ‘pain and suffering builds trust’ and as part of orientation I experienced this firsthand with their city scavenger hunt. As part of this activity, you and a group of other international students get given a set of clues that lead to different locations around the city of Oslo. For many of us, we’d only arrived a few days beforehand, so it was scary but also very fun deciphering the clues as a team and completing the different challenges at each of the locations. Through it all, we definitely built our trust of each other and became good friends.
The City Scavenger Hunt Around Oslo
BI’s Oslo campus is definitely smaller than QUT, being only one building but the building itself resembles something more like a fancy shopping mall than a university. I found it really easy to navigate as each level is split into four quadrants and all levels are connected by lifts and this really cool spiral staircase. You can also take one of the longest escalators in Europe up to the library.
BI Norwegian Business School – Oslo Campus
In terms of classes, BI has only one class per week for each course (unit) which is a mix between a lecture and tutorial. Occasionally you may have an additional lab/practical class like a Bloomberg Lab session. Unlike QUT, BI assigns you into all your classes and if you get lucky like me in my first semester, you may only need to attend university 2-3 days a week which means a longer weekend to explore and travel around. However, in saying that classes at BI aren’t recorded so if you do miss a class, it is up to you to catch up with the week’s content.
One thing you will have to get used to is the weighting of assessment. In some courses I only had one exam piece which was worth 100%, and in other cases I had one assignment and one exam worth 20% and 80% respectively. So, if you, like me hate doing exams, it will be something you need to adjust to. In saying that, the academics are really helpful and there’s lots of support services to help you succeed.
BI has a cafeteria which serves different meals each day for less than what it would be to eat out at a restaurant in Oslo. Additionally, there is a Market Shop which sells baked goods, hot dogs, and other snacks. One of my favourites things to buy from here were these really addictive flapjacks. On top of that, each Tuesday and Thursday, Kroa, BI’s student bar has free coffee and buns which students can grab and chill out at one of the numerous seating booths in the bar. There’s also a bunch of board games and a dart board which you can play with.
One of the most important things you should do while on exchange, is to join a club or society. It provides a great way to meet new people and get involved with campus life. In my first week, I joined BIISA – BI ‘s International Student Association and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was even an outdoor club and a F1 society! Crazily enough, I also signed up and joined their board as their General Manager in my first month in Oslo. I had such an amazing time in that role and helped organise BI’s first ever International Student Week which turned into a great success. While you don’t have to join an executive team, I’d highly recommend joining some of their many clubs and societies and going along to their events. You won’t regret it.
Celebrating International Student Week and Representing Australia with other QUT Students
Exploring and travelling around Norway and Europe
One of the best things I found about living in Norway was the ability to jump on a train or plane and be in a completely new country in about 2 hours. During the Winter break, I bought an Interrail pass and ended up backpacking throughout Europe to around 15 different countries in just over a month. An Interrail pass is a rail/ferry pass that allows you to travel on one of the many trains and ferries in Europe for free or at a discounted rate. It was such a great experience seeing many historical sites, visiting the different Christmas markets, travelling with friends, and meeting new people along the way. One highlight was watching a Barcelona match at Camp Nou on NYE and spending New Years in Barcelona! Europe also has many budget airlines like Ryanair that allow you to travel around Europe on a budget.
Celebrating New Years in Barcelona
Norway itself has some of the most scenic landscapes in the world and is a must to travel around country while studying there. From the UNESCO heritage listed fjords, to the quaint sea city of Bergen, to the many hike-able mountains, Norway has by far the most picturesque natural landscapes in the world. One thing you must do is see the Northern Lights in Northern Norway. My friends and I travelled to Tromsø in early March and were treated to the most extraordinary Northern Lights show I’d ever seen.
Seeing the Northern Lights in Northern Norway
It’s one of the main reasons why I chose to go to Norway on exchange. Below are some tips for studying in Norway:
Tips for Norway
- Download the ‘Ruter’ app: This is Norway’s equivalent of the TransLink app, but you can also purchase your tickets through the app. I recommend paying for the student 30-day pass as it is cheaper than buying single tickets.
- Be prepared for the weather. Norway has really long days in summer and long dark periods during the winter so your body clock and sleep patterns will be affected. Additionally, it does get really cold during winter, so winter jackets and thermals are essential.
- Create a budget: Norway is an expensive country to live in so creating a budget will help you manage your expenses.
- Download the ‘TooGoodToGo’ app for cheaper food options.
Go travelling around Norway: Don’t just stay in Oslo, take a plane, train, ferry or car and go explore some other parts of Norway. There’s lots of amazing places to visit such as Trolltunga, Trollstigen, Trondheim, Bergen, Kristiansand, Svalbard and many more.
Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website.