USAC Norway: Oslo

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About

Study abroad next semester or academic year with the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) in Norway at the University of Oslo. Study in a huge range of subject areas in English, along with a wide variety of languages, including Norwegian. Norwegians especially appreciate students attempting to learn the language, although most know how to speak English.

Oslo (pop 560,000) is the capital city of Norway. Although the city dates back over a thousand years, past fires have caused the people to rebuild the city multiple times over, giving it a very modern feel. Designed for modern times with wide boulevards, parks, museums, and theaters, students will find it an easily accessible and exciting city to study abroad. Check out the USAC website for more information today!

Highlights
  • Choose from more than 800 courses taught in English, with easy access to the sites and subjects of your Scandinavian Studies courses
  • Participate in social and sports activities in over 250 clubs and societies on campus
  • Enjoy living less than 20 minutes away from ski slopes, the Oslo fjord, and other scenic destinations, with plenty of opportunities for cross-country skiing as well as hiking and biking

Questions & Answers

Reviews

88%
based on 23 reviews
  • Academics 7.8
  • Support 7.7
  • Fun 8.9
  • Housing 7.9
  • Safety 9.5
  • Growth 8.5
  • Support 8.5
  • Fun 6
  • Housing 6
  • Safety 9
  • Housing 8
  • Support 8
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9
  • Safety 8
  • Impact 7.7
  • Support 7
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9
  • Safety 7.7
  • Benefits 9
  • Support 6
  • Fun 6
  • Facilities 7
  • Safety 10
  • Growth 9
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 8.5
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
Default avatar
Elizabeth
10/10

Great Experience in Beautiful City

I chose this program on a whim but I'm so glad I did! Oslo is a great place to study, the people I met were great, and studying at the University of Oslo was a wonderful experience. It's helpful to do this program through USAC because you meet other Americans in the same boat as you and the orientation at the beginning was helpful in learning your way around the city. After the USAC orientation is buddy week for international students at the University, which is great in meeting people from all different countries. (Another reason this program is great is because there's people that come to study in Oslo from all over and you get to meet a lot of people from various countries!) I think both orientations are helpful in meeting people, though for me I was most excited about being integrated into the University (as opposed to some study programs where you only study with Americans) and I made many friends from different places.

I lived in Grünerløkka, which is a sort of hip neighborhood close to the city center. This area of Oslo is beautiful. It's a very safe city overall, the shopping is great, and I recommend learning the language because it's helpful & it's also a fun language to learn! I think Oslo is great because it's a large city, but it's not overwhelmingly large so you can explore the various parts of the city easily (definitely go to Aker Brygge!). If you want a beautiful view you should go hiking at Kolsåsstoppen!

I'm really glad I chose this program. The location is beautiful, safe, and fun; the people are nice; and the study programs are great. I took Norwegian and Norwegian Life & Society at UiO and learned a lot about Norway and about the language. I definitely recommend the experience! The only thing to look out for is that Oslo is very expensive.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lauren
10/10

Study in oslo!

Norway is a country that is consistently beautiful. It is rich in history, culture and art. Norway offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Studying in Oslo was such a rewarding experience because I felt like I lived in the movie Frozen. Everything is stunning! Studying in Norway was great because the University of Oslo was accessible and they offered so many valuable courses. Even if you don't live close to the school, it is a ten minute subway ride to the main campus. As someone thinking about becoming a lawyer, I even had the chance to study law which was helpful.

Norway has so much to offer, but everything can be expensive. I would bring as many clothes as you can because shopping in Norway is going to cost you! Fortunately, with socialized healthcare, if you get sick it is affordable. I once had to get a prescription that cost $400 in the United States and I only paid $5! If you have never left America, Norway is a really great place to choose. You always feel safe and everything is incredibly clean. I don't recommend trying it, but you could definitely eat off the subway floor.

The cuisine in Norway is vastly different from America. Try Moose and reindeer if you can. Maybe stay away from the brown cheese they are all so fond of. In Norway take the time to see the Northern lights, watch Norwegian skiing and try to stay for their National Holiday May 17. Thursdays in Oslo are free museum pass day, so take advantage of the opportunity to see The Scream for free or run to Vigeland and see the angry baby statue.

Since eating out is so expensive, going to restaurants is not going to be a weekly event. However cooking is so much fun in Oslo. My flatmates went dumpster diving and brought back a pound of lobster (Grocery stores are strict about throwing out food the second it "expires"). You get creative and you learn how to become an excellent chef. The Norwegians also love coffee. You will never not be able to find an excellent cup of caffeine.

I will never forget going to Tromso. I fed Reindeer, witnessed the Northern lights and witnessed mother nature at her best. Anyone that studies in Oslo should go there! I would encourage renting a car and driving to Stockholm. You won't regret it. Make sure to take a Fjord tour!

I am going back to Norway after graduation because the country is such an integral part of who I am. I feel like I was able to grow as a person in this Scandinavian World... I even did my thesis on Norway! Most people pick other European Countries to visit and I think for anyone who calls themselves an adventurer, Norway is the place to pick!

How can this program be improved?
Norwegian grading is very difficult and different from the American system. Some Professors will hand off their exams to other Professors to grade, which means that if your professor gives you a list of requirements to know for the final it does not mean that is what you need to know. I would prepare students studying in Oslo for the academic differences because it can be incredibly frustrating.
Yes, I recommend
Jake
10/10

Awesome

It was the best 5 months of my life and am so glad I was able to do it!i know it can always be hard to find the right classes and it was hard to find classes with my major in this school but if you save up your liberal arts they have plenty of interesting classes. No matter what semester you go for there will be snow but the spring is usually much more liked as the snow goes away pretty fast and is perfect for exploring the nature of Norway

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Maggie
1/10

Want to actually get credit for studying abroad in Norway and have a good experience? Here's what no one told me:

I am having a wonderful time in Norway, please do not get me wrong. So far throughout this entire experience, it has been my study abroad program that has given my the biggest headache. I think that USAC is probably a lovely program for some students, but in the case of the Norway program I am extremely disappointed.
Looking back on the whole experience, it would have been cheaper, faster, and easier to temporarily withdraw from my school and apply independently as an exchange student to the University of Oslo.
I'll start with the program fee. The entire program fee for the USAC Norway program is a bit over $5000, not including a security deposit. What USAC does not tell you is that international students get to study here at the University of Oslo for free. FOR FREE. Please let that sink in. So what does this $5000 program fee buy you? It basically buys you a set of instructions to get your visa (which can be found readily online), "help" with the application to the University of Oslo that you could have completed yourself, and the feeling that you are part of a group (most of whom you never see after you start at the university). This $5000 also buys you a t-shirt and some pretty cool USAC-emblazoned luggage tags, so I'm sure that my money is being well-spent.
In addition to this $5000, you must pay for your own food (Norway has some of the most expensive groceries in the world), housing expenses (around $400-$700 per month), and your own travel fees. The program doesn't even guarantee you a pass to the city transit system, which all students use.

Two more things that USAC does not tell you about up-front are the transfer credit process (or lack thereof) and the visa requirements. I'll start with the visa:
In order to study in Norway for more than 3 months, you need an official student visa. What USAC does not tell you initially is that you must apply for your visa entirely on your own and hand in your documents IN PERSON. This is not a big problem if you live in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or Houston. However it is a problem for the rest of us who must make an appointment at these consulates and fly out to them during the regular work week to apply for our visas.
Most study abroad programs, including all of the programs at my home university, do this service for their students. Perhaps this would have been a better use of my $5000? All relevant information about how to apply for a student visa to Norway from the United States can be found on Norway's immigration and visa website, which is called UDI: https://www.udi.no/en/want-to-apply/studies/studietillatelse/university-college-or-university/how-to-apply-for-a-residence-permit-for-a-student-at-a-university-college-or-university/?r=usa&n=n&c=usa

Now on to credit transfer. What USAC does not tell you is that there is absolutely no guarantee that your credits will transfer from the University of Oslo. This is not a problem that they can fix themselves, since they are in no way licensed to transfer credits from the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System), but it was not a problem that I was made aware of until I had already committed to the program and ASKED.
You would think that with so many students doubtlessly in the same situation every year and with more than $5000 from each student, a memo could have been made to let future students know about this significant shortcoming. If your university is like mine and only accept credits which have been been approved by a US institution, then congratulations. This program is not for you.
Yes, USAC does allow some of their programs to transfer credits through the University of Nevada, Reno. I tried to explore this option and sent about 20-odd emails to USAC staff when I first discovered that no system was in place to guarantee my credit transfer. There was literally nothing that they could do. I was eventually able to find a costly but official third-party organization called ECE that is transferring my credits for my for a significant fee of their own.

In short, if you are considering Norway and looking at the option of USAC, I strongly suggest that you either reconsider your program options or apply to the University of Oslo independently as an exchange student. I can honestly assure you that it will be well-worth you time and money. Norway is a lovely country and I would not trade my time and experiences in this place for the world. However, if you consider using USAC, be prepared to accept the consequences of the details that they don't tell you.

How can this program be improved?
USAC can improve their program by either providing visa and credit translation services like most study abroad programs, or by telling prospective students that they do NOT provide direct assistance with either of these services.
Response from USAC

Thank you for providing your feedback on your experience in Oslo. You are correct that it is possible to directly enroll in the University of Oslo but to do so as a non-degree “single course” student requires that students have an advanced level proficiency in Norwegian and the course registration is limited to subjects that have vacancies after all degree-seeking students have registered. While we understand that you have an advanced knowledge of Norwegian, this is not the case for most students who study abroad through USAC in Norway. In comparison, students who study abroad at the University of Oslo through USAC are exempt from the Norwegian language requirement, have access to more than 800 courses offered in English as well as courses in the Norwegian language. USAC provides an opportunity for students whose home universities do not have a bilateral exchange agreement with the University of Oslo to study there for a semester or academic year. Before every Oslo program, each student receives our credits, courses, and transcript document which explains that the credit transfer process is determined by your home university and is not within USAC’s control. We also remind (and recommend to) students multiple times to check with their home university to ensure that the credits will transfer back before they leave to study abroad. We understand that this may be confusing and we’ll work to improve our communication to make it more understandable for future students. Regarding visas, it is a government requirement, not a USAC policy, which specifies that you must appear in person. The government does not allow a parent or third-party representative to appear on a student’s behalf. Once again, we appreciate your feedback, and If you’d like to discuss any of your concerns further, please email us at [email protected]

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Elsa
9/10

OSLO, NORWAY through USAC

I thoroughly enjoyed living in Oslo, Norway. However, this program would, in my opinion, be best suited for a student who can function very independently. USAC offered no structure, and although there was a USAC contact, he only arranged 1 meeting at the beginning of the arrival. However the University of Oslo does provide a lot for exchange students, as they have international students from all over the world. This includes an orientation week and buddy week, so you get to meet many. Living in Sogn student village was full of exchange students, not many Norwegians, but it was very social. I found that culturally, Norwegians do not like to have large social circles, so it was actually very hard to meet Norwegians socially. I did enjoy, however, that most of my classmates were primarily Norwegian, so I got to know many through classes and also the nordic ski and climbing clubs I joined.

How can this program be improved?
Better organization from USAC with helping out with visas and residence permits, etc. That process was very confusing and I know one student almost was sent home early because of residence permit issues and she could not get any help from USAC.
Yes, I recommend

About USAC

USAC is a non-profit consortium of U.S. universities that collaborates to offer affordable, academic and authentic study abroad programs. There are abundant opportunities to immerse in the culture, history, and academics of other countries providing...