Natural Wonders

University of Oslo becomes rising preference among Indian students

By Ajaya Kumar Vemulapati

As educational horizons broaden, Norway has become a top destination for Indian students, and for good reason — with its exceptional universities, gorgeous natural wonders, and free tuition, it offers a unique opportunity for foreign education.

Norway, a small Scandinavian country with a population of just over 5 million, has repeatedly been ranked as ‘the best country to live in’ by the United Nations Human Development Report. It’s rated high for human rights, life expectancy, literacy rate, and material wealth.

Oslo, the capital, is located along the coastline and is Norway’s largest city. Today, 33 per cent of the population in Oslo are immigrants, giving the city a wonderful cosmopolitan atmosphere. City parks, forests, cycling and walking routes, skiing and hiking are all within easy reach. It’s also home to an incredible, globally reputed university.

Founded in 1811, the University of Oslo is a public research university — the oldest in Norway. It has over 30,000 students and more than 4000 employees divided across eight Faculties: Theology, Law, Medicine, Humanities, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Dentistry, Social Sciences, and Education.

Its campus is large and spread out over several parts of Oslo. The main campus, Blindern, is located on the western outskirts of the city centre, and most of the faculties are located here. There are several university libraries on campus and students will enjoy the variety of cafeterias and shops. Since the campus is just minutes away from the heart of Oslo, one can easily access both the downtown city and the nearby hills and forests.

The University is well-known for its academic breakthroughs in science, especially maritime, and is also appreciated for its law programmes. It’s ranked 102nd in the world and 39th in Europe, according to the QS World Rankings. Over 800 courses and 40 Master’s programmes are taught entirely in English, which gives international students loads of options.

UiO has top-notch faculty and high research output — four Nobel Prize winners associated with the university indicates the quality of the research. The student-faculty ratio is 7:1, which will be a new experience for most Indian students. With an immense focus on innovation and strategic research areas, the classroom atmosphere emphasizes critical thinking over rote learning.

The community at UiO is vibrant and active, and even most Norwegian students will speak English. There are numerous student associations on a variety of topics: archaeology, shooting, performing arts, book clubs, and politics, to name a few. Sports are a major part of campus life, with groups for everything from climbing to badminton.

Norway’s educational system is state-supported to ensure equal access to education. This applies to students from any country, which means that there is no tuition fee to study at the University of Oslo. There’s only a nominal student fee every semester.

However, Oslo is an expensive city to live in: living costs per month can range from 1000-1200 euros, depending on rent and food expenses. Student housing on campus is an option, though you’ll have to apply early to guarantee a seat. With a study permit, you can also work up to 20 hours a week while you are studying and full-time during holidays; this will help offset costs.

Living in Oslo is a wonderful experience because of its cultural offerings and proximity to nature. For people who like the outdoors, there are numerous winter sports options in the city: skiing, kiteboarding, downhill and mountain bike racing, rock climbing, and so on. The Oslo Opera House and the Astrup Fearnley Museum are well worth a visit — as much for the architecture as for the exhibitions and performances. Public transport is wide-used and accessible; students can travel to other parts of Norway easily.

After graduating, international students are allowed to Norway for up to one year to look for work. The University has a Career Services portal where it organizes workshops and seminars and also offers one-on-one career counselling services. Students are encouraged to become proficient in Norwegian — this will greatly widen job opportunities for them.

There are many perks to working in Norway, including a progressive work environment and several benefits such as parental leave, sickness benefits, employment protection, as well as high salaries. Its entrepreneurship sector is also competitive, among the world’s best, and the country is in the top 10 of 180 countries on the Ease of Doing Business ranking.

Geared towards technology, Norway is known for its focus on sustainable development and renewable energy. Other key sectors are medical and biotechnology, digital services, and maritime research. Any student interested in innovation, especially concerning the environment, would be well-placed in this country.

Ajaya Kumar Vemulapati, Director – IMFS, Hyderabad, Mail Id: ajaya@imfshyd.com

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