My semester abroad in Norway during Corona

At the beginning of the last semester, nobody expected a worldwide pandemic to break out, least of all our students who set out on the adventure of a semester abroad. How our student Karoline Mach experienced the situation at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and why it was nevertheless a positive experience for her, she tells us here:

Motivation and preparation

My motivation for this semester abroad was to travel and to meet other people, and to have a break from “normal” live. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get to know a foreign country and its culture, and to get a break from work, as I am studying part time, because I am actually working in an office. Fortunately my company allowed me to get educational leave, therefore I could also afford staying abroad even without working. With the additional Erasmus grant it was even easier to afford some journeys or things I needed. The Erasmus grant for the whole semester was about 2.300 € in total and I also could apply for a “Selbsterhalter Stipendium”.
The whole application process is not that complicated, because the University FH BFI Wien gives you exact guidelines what you have to do and what you have to hand in. The only thing you have to do “alone” is, that you have to find your own courses at the partner university, which fit more or less to your study field. It might seem a little bit complicated, because there are a lot of courses you can choose from, but it is also not a problem if you want to change afterwards some courses. It is actually completely normal to change your Learning Agreement after your arrival at your host university, because there are almost always some courses which overlap or are not as interesting for you as expected.

Then Corona came...

Because of Corona, all my final exams were home exams and we were also allowed to use our notes at home. The professors adapted the questions of the exams to the situation and didn’t ask a lot of theoretical questions. The questions were more general and we had to write way more than the students in the years before. We had for one exam 4 hours and the least I wrote for one exam were 6 pages, the most were 14 pages. For the one exam with 6 pages, the exam consisted out of 2 questions and the other exams had also max. 4 questions.

Even if it was a completely new situation for everyone with Corona, NTNU was perfectly organized with the online lectures and the information provided how they are going to handle the situation regarding the exercises and exams. I was really happy to be in Norway at NTNU during the Corona-crisis, because all the students had not even once a problem with the online lectures or anything else regarding the adjustments. Professors and other employees of the University also answered almost every time on the same day to questions and everyone of my study-colleagues was really satisfied with the corporation as well.

Tips for future outgoing students

  • It is completely normal to be shy or afraid of new challenges at the beginning
  • There are going to be some ups and downs, but just try to think of it as a perfect chance to get out of your comfort-zone and to get stronger and develop your character
  • Go out and meet and talk to as many people as possible. You will see very soon that everyone has the same thoughts as you have and that you are all sitting in the same boat.
  • Try to enjoy end see as much as possible of the new country and do the best out of it!