International students happy with studies in Norway

May 3, 2013 - 06:16

Prices are high and sunny days are few, but quality education and research are the reasons why international students choose Norway as their study destination.

It wasn't only the studies that attracted Susanne Faber from Germany, but also the Norwegian nature, the culture and the people, James Hathaway from USA agrees.(Photo: Frøy Katrine Myrhol)

88 percent of international students report that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their experience as a foreign student in Norway; compared to 86 percent in 2010 and 84 percent in 2008.

The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) conducted a survey among 2.104 international students enrolled in 36 Norwegian institutions of higher education during the fall of 2012.

Both students doing their entire degree in Norway (full degree students), as well as exchange students, answered the survey.

Dutch and Spanish students are happiest

Students from the Netherlands and Spain are the happiest with their stay Norway. Exchange students are slightly more content than the full degree students.

«I didn`t know anything about Norway before I came, and I love it here. I love the nature and outdoor life, the cities, social opportunities, the welfare system, everything - except the prices» (Bachelor student from USA).

Some students find the weather in Norway a bit of a disappointment:

«I thought there should be some sunshines during fall. But actually there is no sunshine at all» (Master student from China).

Great nature and good reputation

The students in the survey were asked to report their most important reasons for choosing Norway as a study destination. In this question, exchange students and full degree students answered slightly differently. 

SIUs Head of Department of Communications, Kristin Solheim. (Photo: Paul S. Amundsen/SIU)

For the exchange students, the four most important reasons for choosing Norway were:

  • Norwegian nature and wildlife
  • English taught degree programmes and courses
  • Quality education and good reputation of research and studies
  • Modern and technologically advanced society

For the full degree students, they were:

  • Quality education and good reputation of research and studies
  • English taught degree programmes and courses
  • Improve career possibilities
  • No tuition fees
Quality before money

Director of Communications at SIU, Kristin Solheim, says she is very pleased that both student groups list quality and reputation among their top arguments.

– As in the previous two surveys, we expected English taught programmes and courses to be among the top listed reasons – for most international students this is a primary condition for studying in Norway.

– We are, however, pleased to see that quality and reputation weighs heavier than the fact that Norwegian higher education institutions don’t charge tuition fees, she says.

More students want to work in Norway

In the survey, 62 percent of the full degree students said they would like to work in Norway after completion of their degree, compared to 50 percent in 2010 and 30 percent in 2008.

Students from Portugal og Spain are the most positive in this regard, followed by Lithuania, Sweden, China and Russia. 60 percent of all students from USA, Canada, Germany and Poland would like to work in Norway. French students are the least positive in this regard.

“The share of international students wishing to work in Norway has more than doubled between 2008 and 2012. It is natural to assume that this is related to the financial crisis and increasing unemployment rates in Europe”, Kristin Solheim says.

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The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) is a public Norwegian agency that promotes international cooperation in education and research. Read more

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