by Matthijs Binnema
After seeing the 'this could be your exchange experience' posters in the Harmonie cafeteria and law library, I decided that I wanted this too and therefore I decided to apply for the famous Erasmus exchange program. After waiting several months, I found out about my exchange destination and, in the summer of 2017, I went off to the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
In this blogpost I will share my experiences on Norwegian student housing and the courses I took. Thereby, I will give you my honest opinion about Oslo as an exchange location.
In Oslo, I took the following courses on bachelor level: Comparative Private law, International Humanitarian Law and Norwegian for International Students (60 hour Introductory Course). Besides that, I took the International Environmental Law course on a master’s level.
All the bachelor courses, except for the Norwegian course, had open book exams. This means that you were allowed to bring your textbook to the exam. Therefore, the exams were not that difficult.
I would definitely recommend taking the Norwegian introductory course. It is not too difficult and it is a great way to make friends.
During my stay in Oslo, I lived in an old Olympic village that is now being used to house students. The name of this place is: 'Sogn Student Village' and I would definitely recommend living here for your Erasmus. With a furnished room, six housemates, and +/- 360 euro rent a month, I had a great time living here. These accommodations are probably one of the better options for exchange students in Oslo.
First of all, I think Oslo is a really pretty city. With a ski area close by, beautiful fjords accessible by ferries and various tourist hotspots, such as the ‘Opera House’ and ‘Vigelandsparken’, Oslo is the ideal place for the student that loves to go on adventures.
Next to that, the public transportation system works really well! For +/- 45 euros a month you can use Oslo's metro's, trams and ferries to roam around the city. The metro’s are (almost) always on time and there is a stop right next to the law faculty. The public transportation system made my life a lot easier while I was living in Oslo.
Although Oslo is a pretty city with terrific public transportation, I did, personally, find it a bit too quiet. I expected Oslo to be a bit more vibrant, since it is the capital. This silence is something I found a bit disappointing, but it can surely be ideal for others.
Also, as a country that rates no. 2 on ‘The Economists Big Mac's index’, an obvious downside about Oslo (and Norway) are the costs. While doing groceries can cost you a fortune, there are some cheap places to go to in order to save up on your expenses. For example, doing groceries in the district of ‘Grønland’ is already much cheaper than the average Norwegian grocery store, but the quality of the products here varies.
All things considered, I had a pleasant stay in Oslo. Yes, there were some downsides, but also a lot of upsides. I made friends, discovered different cultures and I learned a lot about Norway during this semester abroad.
So, Oslo can be really fun, as long as you know what to expect!
Takk for at du leste!