“I wanted to change my lifestyle and I have not regretted it. In addition to the scenery and spectacular nature, people are really friendly here.”
In making his choice, he had figured that he wanted to experience something completely different, and a tranquil place like Bergen seemed a nice contrast to his high-paced hometown of Toluca, nearby Mexico City.
There are many advantages of studying in a small city, says José. He likes the compactness of the city centre, making it easy to move around and get used to the city. Similarly, the small size of his class makes it easier for the students to get to know each other.
“We are a pretty closely-knit group. We collaborate, study together and even spend time together off campus. To get to know people outside of the class, the events that BI organises during the orientation week really helps. There are also plenty of student groups you can get involved in.”
José likes that Bergen is a student town with many universities and a lot going on, and has come to be fond of his new lifestyle so much that he wants to pursue a career in the city after graduating.
“My plan is to work as a business controller in the sea food industry. Hopefully, I can get a job at one of the main clusters of the country.”
The Norwegian classroom
While the next year holds an internship and the master thesis, the first year of studying has mainly consisted of reading, exams, lectures or other projects and José admits that is has been a lot of work.
“Studying in a master programme is quite demanding, but as long as you manage your time you will be able to enjoy the city, go hiking or catch up with your friends.”
Apart from the workload, there are other — maybe even bigger — differences from when he was studying for his bachelor’s back in Mexico.
“Here you are more independent. You need to make sure that you have prepared enough in advance to understand the lectures. You could ask after class, but you are in the end responsible.”
In José’s opinion, the Norwegian approach to teaching also poses a need for more critical thinking.
“Compared to Mexico, here you need to be more analytical. You have to be able to make comparisons and address or criticise different points of views. You need to think in a more holistic way and see things from several perspectives.”
The students need to write a lot and defend their essays, and to read a lot to be able to support their statements. Jose still thinks the style of teaching is quite good. The small size of the class also affects the dynamics of how students engage and interact with lecturers, José explains.
“I feel right at home in the classroom. The professors have a lot of knowledge and make sure to explain the subject matter in an easy way so everyone understands.”
Another way José gets to challenge himself is through the part-time job he maintains on the side.
“I work once or twice a week as a finance intern. My main duties are developing tools to control projects, cash flow, and inventory control. The job allows me to interact with people in a professional environment and to experience the Norwegian working culture.”
Not the obvious choice
Before he came to Norway, José already got professional experience within finance and accounting. Now he is developing a more bird’s-eye view perspective on business.
“Now I get ideas on how to manage people, implement change and those kinds of things that will definitely help me in the future. This is knowledge that compliments my background in finance.”
Even if he has decided on staying in Norway for longer, just the two years it takes to finish the degree can seem a lot to others. However, two years is ideal to develop your own perspective of a country in Jose’s opinion. By that time, you will actually have lived the culture, he says.
José thinks both Bergen and BI, and his programme, are definitely worth considering for people who wants to do a master’s abroad.
“I would primarily recommend it to people who want to have an international perspective and who like challenges. It’s tempting to just go to a certain country because it’s becoming popular, but the easiest option is not always the most successful one. You need to think differently in order to challenge yourself.”