”My experience was overwhelming but satisfying”

I'm a student of Bachelor of Social Services. My internship took place in Norway, where I studied at the Vid University in Oslo. The university provides education and research in the field of health and social studies, pedagogy, management, diaconia and theology.

Introduction

My Erasmus studies took  place in VID University of Oslo, Norway. I participated in theoretical study program that included 60 hours of practical placement as a part of group research project. Most of the courses were based on social work studies, except for the Public Health course where teaching focused on medical perspective. However, in some areas, it was connected to social work studies and ideas.

Since I did one semester of exchange studies, I managed to get the picture of study methods they use in VID University. I compared the differences and similarities with my home institution. I contrasted not only the curriculum but also methods, level of interaction and most importantly, the student guidance and protocols.

Training and practical arrangements

At the beginning of a semester I was certain that there are big similarities between Finland and Norway in study programs and cultural- and social codes. At some levels, the similarities were visible. For example the traditions of Christmas, Midsummer and Easter, architecture and weather are quite similar in both countries. Furthermore, some social features, such as the age distribution and the universal welfare system exist in both countries.

On the other hand, the study program was challenging. Unlike in Finland, the focus was more on the reading material, which I found overwhelming. There was no group work or student interaction during lectures. In my home institution we learn to understand lectures mostly by doing collectively, rather than individually.

In addition, I felt that the international study program in my host university was poorly organized. There were no clear English instructions, and the language barrier was a nuisance. The international students were separated from the Norwegian students during classes and practices, which led to a feeling of isolation among the internationals.

Yet, I had a short practice placement in Ngo Safir, where I briefly integrated in Norwegian society and adopted new communication skills. It was a pleasant experience, although it was only 60 hours of practice. Still, I feel it was more educational and enlightening than my classes.

Conclusion

I believe that a well-organized curriculum would increase the inclusion and motivation of international students. Overall, my experience as an exchange student in Oslo was overwhelming but satisfying.

The welcoming, positive, approachable and friendly Norwegian people is what made me feel comfortable. They also made me forget the small incoherence during my studies at the VID University.

Palaa takaisin Vaihtokokemuksia -sivulle