Ahoy! And welcome back to Northern Europe, as we set sail for yet another Nordic capital! Now we are definitely having our fingers crossed that you enjoyed our full guide - Masters in Norway, and that our trip to Oslo will be beneficial for your current or future Masters study choice. For MARVEL fans, or more precisely – followers of the Thor franchise – we are aware that Norway has a very special place in your hearts. Remember Odin’s farewell to his sons?
Well then, now it is time to see why Oslo could be your next home for a year or two, as a study destination at the least. Ready to embark on the next MASTER AND MORE adventure?
During certain periods of history, the capital of Norway was also known as Christiania and Kristiania before it finally became Oslo. Initially, it was established by King Harald Hardrada in the 11th century, but only after a few hundred years, during 1624, the city went through great misfortunate after the events of a destructive fire. Since then, after being rebuilt and sustaining rapid development through the centuries ahead, Oslo has become the beating heart of the country, especially through the eyes of the maritime industry and trade within Europe. As of today, Norway is not a member state of the European Union, but rather forms the European Economic Area along with Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Popular landmarks include the Akershus Fortress, the Norwegian Royal Palace, Oslo Cathedral and the Viking Ship Museum. There is also a separate currency operating within the country – the Norwegian krone, with EUR 1 equaling around NOK 10. For the whole of Norway, there are more than 20 institutions of higher education owned by the state, although some private universities are also subject to public funding. But what about the rankings?
Unfortunately, according to our highly respected ranking sources, there is only one representative from the capital – the University of Oslo. But remember, quality, not quantity – it is ranked 131st on the planet! And that is based on Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings for 2020, whereas QS Top Universities 2020 can further surprise you – 119th! Of course, rankings are not everything, and it is definitely worth expanding our list with other notable universities in Oslo:
As you would expect, there are plenty of Masters opportunities offered only in English – while the standard period of study takes about two years. Additionally, the ECTS standard is fully functional, so there is no need to worry about measuring courses in credits. Alrighty then, time to move on to the financial part!
As you may or may not have heard, the higher education system in Norway is completely free of charge for all students –including international – at public universities. But even more interestingly, there is still a rich variety of exchange and funding opportunities that can help students to avoid exceptionally high living costs. However, it is important to mention that each student arriving from a country outside the EU/EEA is expected to show documentary proof of funds above NOK 121,220 that can cover living costs for the given academic year. Applications in the form of exchanges and/or with an awarded grant/scholarship only require passing corresponding documents.
For starters, if you are a student within a Baltic or Nordic country, chances are that your university is part of the popular Nordplus mobility programme. Given this fact, you can choose to participate in an exchange lasting between a month and up to one year at a partner higher education institution in Oslo, Norway – and even receive a grant! Furthermore, even though one would think that Erasmus+ is not available at Norwegian universities, it is actually a running programme that could be just the right option for you.
In a similar manner but on a smaller scale, the Fulbright Program is another example of an available exchange network dating back to 1949. Each year, a number of American students are awarded with the opportunity of receiving a grant worth between NOK 100,000 – 200,000 for a Masters study at a Norwegian university within a chosen academic field.
Russian students, at the same time, can benefit from the Norwegian-Russian Scholarship in the form of grants for certain universities around Norway, with the University of Oslo and the Oslo Metropolitan University included.
Last but not least, part-time jobs are also a potential source of reasonable income only limited to some general restrictions. EU and EEA students only have to register with the police before seeking employment of 20 hours per week, whereas internationals are required to acquire a study and work permit from their university. It is recommended that you consult the local career center at your chosen higher education institution in Norway before looking for a job, as this is the best way to learn about the specific requirements and possible positions for students with no knowledge in Norwegian.
In order to pinpoint a good example, the University of Oslo and their career services team will host an orientation meeting regarding part-time work in 2020.
Before moving on, here is an interesting fact – IKEA names beds, hall furniture and wardrobes after existing places in Norway! And even though it is a Swedish company, it simply shows how close related Nordic countries are, and yes, there are also a lot of beds, chairs and tables named after Danish and Finnish locations, too!
But back on track, life as a student in Oslo can be something entirely different, if you could live in a cabin in the woods and enjoy the near-by fjords. But from a housing point of view, universities within the capital are yet to offer something similar. Instead, most of them cooperate with the Student Welfare Organisation of Oslo and Akershus, or SiO, that provides different types of rooms at a variety of locations in Oslo.
If we take the University of Oslo, both exchange and international Masters students are guaranteed accommodation. And yes, internationals also include everyone coming from the EU/EEA as well. Standard offers include furnished and unfurnished rooms at more than 20 different locations in the area of the capital. By average, most students pay NOK 3750 (EUR 370) on a monthly basis, with the highs and lows of this price depending on the facilities, location and size of the chosen room.
For all listed universities in this article, including the BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo – which is a private university, you can find details related to accommodation offerings, as well as application, on the official website of SiO.
Of course, the private housing market is always an option – your best chance of finding something affordable, however, would be after consulting realtor agencies or simply browsing Norwegian housing websites. Remember the general rule of prices being at least 20-30% higher when seeking this type of accommodation.
So far, so good – but what about daily life in Oslo? Would we be able to afford a normal lifestyle even if we were to aim for private housing amounting EUR 600-700 each month? Absolutely! Even with visits to the local café where you would pay NOK 66 for a cappuccino with a glass of water or the near-by inexpensive restaurant with meals amounting NOK 190. General consumer goods and services can cost:
Roughly, you can expect to pay between NOK 2500 – 3000 monthly, or EUR 250 – 300 for a balanced lifestyle involving these listed costs. It looks like there might be some room left in our budget for travelling, right? Within Oslo, you can also get a 40% discount for a student public transport card and easily go from point A to B with the bus, tram, ferry or metro. As for health services, you can once again resort to the services of SiO and have a GP appointed or easy access to healthcare centers.