Hi all! This post is about practicalities, for those of you who will actually come here in the future.
Well, the truth is that I have only seen four different student villages, but I can tell you what I think. If you can, book a place for Sogn studentby. That is where I live and most people here agree that it is very good as it is two T-bane stops from Blindern campus (the humanities faculty, among others, is there) and most rooms are quite nice. Flats and flatmates do vary, but there is nothing really you can do about this. I pay about 2800 kr per month, bills included. If you pay your bill at the post office, then you have to pay a 75 kr fee each time and you cannot pay with a foreign card. So, until you have your Norwegian bank account, you have to take out money, so just bear that in mind. To avoid this, find out if your bank allows you to transfer money directly to the university accommodation account and how much they charge you for it. Plan a trip to IKEA when you arrive as no bed linen, duvets or pillows are included in most rooms, and sometimes not even curtains. I’m still not sure about this, but I also think you can only pay for your laundry online by credit card. Most of all, don’t ever lose your keys or entrance card, because you’re going to pay a lot of money if you need a new one!
Go to Grønland and buy your groceries there. Fruit and vegetables are much cheaper there than in supermarkets, and there is a better choice, and maybe also better quality. You’ll have it better than you do in Scotland if you follow this advice! It reminds me of Italy in a certain way with the open-air market in the square, what a joy! In my opinion, the UK is still the country with the worst overall relationship between quality and price!
I definitely suggest taking part in the University of Oslo International Summer School, which I mentioned in my previous posts. After two years studying in Edinburgh, I thought level three was quite challening but it was worth it.
If you come here to learn Norwegian and you find it hard to find people who actually want to speak to you in their language,join the Tandem programme. I’m currently taking a course in oral Norwegian level four, but I’m finding it less useful than level three. It’s only three hours a week, all on one day, and there are not many chances to speak. I’ve had to prepare a presentation and it went quite well, but it’s not enough for me, at least. For bureaucratic reasons I could not take other courses for international students in Norwegian, but if you have the possibility, take as many as you can. I think they help.
Book yourself a cabin in the woods! This is one thing Norwegians really like to do. The good news is that you can use cabins as many times as you want if you are a member of Den norske turistforening and under 25 years of age. You pay 300 kr + 100 kr key deposit, you book your bed, and you are set to go. Here is the website you need: http://www.dntoslo.no. Just get organized and equipped. It was a great experience!