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Life in Norway

An Aussie in Norway

Norway and Australia – polar opposites, right? Correct! But let me tell you, it is an experience worth having. I’m Nikola, an Aussie from a very small town called Home Hill. I completed my Bachelor of Mathematics at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and made the big move to Oslo to study a Master of Science in Business Analytics at BI.

Full Name: Nikola Maree Poli
Home Country: Australia
Bachelor's degree: BSc in Mathematics
Previous University: Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
Current programme at BI: MSc in Business Analytics

“But why would you want to move to Norway? It’s so cold!”

I get this question quite a lot. Yes, it is cold. Living in Northern Australia means winter temperatures don’t drop below 20 degrees during the day, and highs of 40 degrees in summer are the norm. However, there is something special about being able to experience the seasons in their true beauty. The sight of snow never gets old, the feeling of not sweating in summer is something every Aussie dream of, but, be prepared to lose your tan. Some tips for any Aussies considering to make the move to Norway: pack any of the winter clothes you own – you never know, they might be useful in summer, visit Poland for a good range of affordable winter clothes, and to make the move as easy as possible, book your plane ticket for summer!

So, what about the cultural differences?

Australians and Norwegians are quite similar in many ways. Laid back, a sense of adventure and a love for the outdoors and summer weather are just some of the similar traits. However, there is one main difference that has stood out to me. Norwegians come across as very guarded people, who like to keep to themselves. Don’t expect to go to the shop and have a conversation with the cashier about your weekend. But, in saying that, Norwegians are quite easy to crack. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help or even to make friends with a group of Norwegians; they are very friendly and helpful once you make the effort to get to know them. And yes, Norwegians have perfect English! Sometimes I forget that there is another language used here. Signs, advertisements, maps, you name it, generally always feature some English. But, Aussies, remember, slang can sometimes get lost in translation. And don’t feel upset when everyone asks you if you’re from England – somehow this is easily confused. 

One of the main reasons I chose Norway was for the reputation they have in education. Particularly, BI is known as one of the leading business schools in the world and offers a great study environment. The study dynamic is quite similar in both Norway and Australia. Each subject usually consists of one, two-hour lecture, with some having additional classes to work on extra questions or homework assignments. All of my lecturers are very friendly and are always there to help you whenever you have questions or concerns. Something that catches me off guard quite often though is the order of semesters. Aussies – semester 1 refers to the semester beginning in September – good luck getting used to that! There is also a large focus on the practical side at BI. Group work is a common feature of our assessment, and there is a clear link between our theory, and its application in the business world.

So, for anyone considering studying in Norway, or just giving it a visit, I definitely recommend giving it a go! Despite the differences, I am having an amazing experience, all whilst working towards a degree from a world class business school. You will be left with memories you will never forget and experience a beautiful country!