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How is Student Life As An International Student in Norway?

Mohaimin Khan is a first-year master's student at the University of Stavanger in Norway. Before relocating to Norway, Mohaimin worked for five years at a leading bank in his home city Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. He's planning to use his master's degree as a springboard to future study and a career in risk analysis. We caught up with Mohaimin as part of the new Keystone StudentHub podcast series to ask him about life as an international student in Norway.

Feb 15, 2021
  • Study Abroad
How is Student Life As An International Student in Norway?

What made you want to study in Norway?

The most important thing for choosing Norway was its education system without tuition fees. Then the quality of life. And obviously the beautiful natural landscapes!

Living in Dhaka, how did you hear about Norway?

I heard about Norway from a friend who was in Oslo. He told me about life in Norway and the quality of education. His stories made me really want to come to Norway.

And why the University of Stavanger?

Though I got other offers, I choose Stavanger because it offered the subject I really wanted to study. I want to become a risk and safety expert, and Stavanger was the only university offering a master's course in risk analysis. Plus, Stavanger has all the world-class professors who are writing the most influential books on risk analysis.

And why this major?

After working in a bank for five years, I feel risk management is one of the main areas of concern. Everything is developing at great speed. And when things are developing at such a fast pace, there’s always the chance things can go wrong. So you need good risk analysts who can make assessments and management decisions.

How was the visa application process?

In my country, we don't have a Norwegian embassy, so you can't directly submit your application. You have to use an agency called VFS, and that is a super-smooth process. They make it easy for students. You pay your fees, make an appointment, and they give you a checklist of what documents to submit. Then VFS sends them to the Norwegian embassy in 2/3 working days...and they keep you updated during the whole process. I got my visa within seven days, but some of my friends had to wait between 20-50 days.

What's the difference between Bangladesh and Norway in terms of education?

The main difference I've noticed in Norway is the freedom students have. You don't have to memorize everything, like in Bangladesh. Instead, you have to do a lot of self-study, read lots of research papers, and understand the themes. And there are no ‘right’ answers in the exams. You have to describe the themes and concepts in your own way.

How are you supporting yourself financially?

I'm a self-financed student. But every student coming to Norway has to send a deposit to the university. That is almost 122,000 NOK (about $14,500). The university then returns the deposit when you arrive in Norway. So you have at least one year of expenses. It means you can survive here with your own money, even in worse care COVID!

Any tips on finding a part-time job?

I did food delivery in the summer. You can make good money. But it's not much fun doing it in the winter! It's tough for work at the moment because of COVID, but students can find work in restaurants, in the kitchen, or as a waiter if their Norweigian is good. Most of the restaurants post job adverts on Facebook. And there are some websites, like Adecco, that post a lot of part-time student jobs.

Student in Stavanger, Norway

Do you live in a dormitory or student housing?

I live in student housing. I found a house through the SIS portal. SIS will sort the contract for you even before you come to Norway. It's the best option. You get free internet, utilities are included in the rent, and the kitchen has all the modern appliances.

Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world! Can you tell us about the cost of living?

For students sharing an apartment, you'll never pay more than 3600 NOK per month ($420). For food, there are lots of price ranges. Most stores have lower-priced, own-brand options. It's possible to spend just a few hundred dollars a month and still have good food.

Is it possible to find vegan or halal products easily?

Yes! There are dedicated halal shops and restaurants, And there are also supermarkets and products for vegans, Whatever your beliefs or lifestyle, you'll find what you need in Norway.

What's your plan after graduation?

I'm confident there will be job opportunities in the future. But my goal at the moment is to move onto a PhD so I can study emergency response. That's my dream right now.

Good luck! Any last bits of advice for international students planning to move to Norway?

Don't hesitate. It will be the best experience of your life. I love it here!

Student in Stavanger, Norway

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Ashley Murphy


After graduating with a degree in English literature and creative writing, Ashley worked as a bartender, insurance broker, and teacher. He became a full-time freelance writer in 2016. He lives and writes in Manchester, England.

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