I GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL

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1 Study Program: Bachelor Human Resource Management Exchange semester: Fall 2013 Academic year: Host University: BI Norwegian Business School Country: Norway I GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL BI Norwegian School is a private school, located in Oslo (capital of Norway). Oslo is located in the south of Norway between the hills and the sea. It is a relatively small, safe and not a crowded city. Although, it is very modern and in that view totally different from the rest of Norway. The public transport is well arranged, but almost all the touristic hotspots are within walking distance. It is a place where you can find the busy city-life in the biggest shopping street Karl Johan, in a modern boulevard in Aker Brygge and a total different part of the city in Grönland and Grunerlokka. On the other hand, you can also find a lot of nature in the city in for example several parks (Vigelandsparken, Slotsparken) and lakes (Sognsvann, Maridalsvann). In winter, you can go cross country-skiing or ice-skating. The touristic hotspots of Oslo are Vigelandsparken, Opera house, Aker Brygge, Skijump Holmenkollen and the royal palace. I think the nicest places to go out are LAWO (on Thursday) and Horgans. Going out can be quite difficult when you re under 20 years old, because the Norwegian bouncers are very strict in their common age limit of 20. The university, BI, is located in the north side of the centre. From Kringsja, where I lived, it was 15 minutes by metro and the metro station is just in front of school. The building of BI looks really new, modern and fancy. BI uses a logical system for their lecture rooms, so it is quite easy to find your way after a couple a days. The building exists of seven floors, a several bachelor and master area, library on the fifth and sixth level, gym, multiple canteens, a coffee bar and more than enough workplaces throughout the school. There is an organization in Oslo for both Norwegian and international students where you can buy a semester sports card. It gives you access to four different gyms spread through the city and the one inside BI. There are several differences between BI and Tilburg University. BI is a business school and pays a lot of attention to class participation and discussion. Teachers are more informal in comparison with Tilburg University and classes are smaller. At BI there is a total of students, including approximately 500 exchange students from all over the world. BI has 170 agreements with universities in more than 40 countries. II PRACTICAL INFORMATION Information before you left The communication between BI and the incoming exchange students is very clear. I received the pre-arrival information in the beginning of May via , this was three months before I left to Norway. I had enough time to prepare everything in this period. Besides, the coordinator of incoming exchange students made a Facebook-page for all the exchange students where you could ask questions. This was very useful to get things clear and communicate with other exchange students.

2 Information before you left You don t need a visa to study in Norway. When I arrived in Oslo, there was someone from BI at the central station hall to pick me up. She gave me my keys and told how to go to my room in Kringsja. Besides, they gave me a welcome-package with all kind of information about BI and Oslo and a map. The international office at BI was really well organized and were willing to help me with everything. In the first days we had some problems with our Norwegian sim-card, and the people from the international office called several times to Norwegian providers to solve the problem. I think that they are really helpful and easily accessible if you ever encounter difficulties. Orientation/Introduction activities In the weekend before the official semester at BI started, several events in the park and in the citycentre were organized in order to meet other exchange students. Because most exchange students were already in Oslo, it was a nice way to meet other students before the lectures started. The first time I was at BI, there was an introduction meeting organized in which they gave some general information about the school, exams, students at BI, Oslo and Norway. In the first week, BI organized several workshops (How to study smart at BI, intercultural workshop) and a BI-inner, a free dinner for all exchange students. The BI-inners were organized every month and since everything is quite expensive in Norway, those free dinners were quite popular. In the first week, the SBIO (student union at BI) organized an introduction week, called the Fadderrullan. This means that we got a buddy group, with most of the times two buddy-leaders and about 10 buddy s, both Norwegian and International. In the Fadderrullan-week, they organized parties every day for all the new students at BI. The idea of mixing both Norwegian and international students was good, but I think in most cases it didn t work out. In many groups, there were only a few exchange students who were not really included in the group. As a consequence, the exchange students formed kind of their own groups to go to the events. I thought that BI is planning to improve this whole buddy system next year by forming separate groups for Norwegian and international students. Housing There are 2 housing organizations where you can arrange a room: SIO and BSN. BSN is a private accommodation from BI and is very close located to BI. I chose for SIO because that s cheaper. When you choose for SIO, you can give your preference for a particular location in Oslo. There are different villages : the one a bit cheaper than the other, the other a bit more modern etc. If you apply for a certain deadline, you are ensured for accommodation. I lived in Kringsja. I shared my bathroom with one other girl, and the kitchen with 6 others. I am really satisfied about living there. It is a big student-complex with more than 30 buildings, so a lot of students live here. It is next to the lake Sognsvann, where many people go running, swimming, hanging out etc. Besides, all the kitchen-parties are organized in Kringsja. For these two reasons, plus the fact that it is one of the cheapest options, I would recommend Kringsja. The only disadvantage is that the night-bus to Kringsja is only running on Friday and Saturday.

3 Living costs Norway is an expensive country. Especially things like going out for dinner, having a drink on a terrace and going to the hairdresser (!) are really expensive (so go to the hairdresser before you go on exchange to Oslo). Besides, the government uses a high duty on alcohol and unhealthy food, so these are expensive products as well. But, after living there for a while, you will know where to buy your groceries for example and that will save you money. Another way I saved money is to have dinner with friends or roommates: it s cheaper and more fun to eat together. I think I spend the most money on trips and going out. Next to the grant that I received from the government and Erasmus, I saved money. I think my monthly budget was approximately like this: Housing: 400 Food: 200 Transport: 45 Books: 10 (I shared books with another exchange student) Miscellaneous: 300 Academic calendar Arrival date and introductory week: 9 August 12 th August till 16 th August First day of the semester: 12 th August Last day of classes: Official end of the semester 20 th of December, but most courses ended at the end of November (after that only exams) Mid-term break: No Examination period: end of November till 20 th of December Any special events: No International office At BI there is an international office. It is a team of approximately 5 persons, but the one who did all the communication via was Kine Robertsen. I think the international office is really helpful and are willing to answer all your questions. If you send an , you will get a quick reply and they provide you with a lot of information via s and Facebook. Exchange promotion There were no events organized where I could promote Tilburg University. Social Activities As said before, BI organized a BI-inner every month for exchange students. Besides, BI organized once in a month a Sunday in the city, where you could join to visit some places in Oslo. They organized for example a bus sight-seeing tour in the first week and a visit to the

4 ski-jump where you could go to the top for free. There was a special student association for international students, called InSa. However, they didn t organize much social activities, only some movie nights. In the first 1,5 weeks, the Fadderrulan (part of SBIO; general student union at BI) organized a lot of parties and activities for all new students to meet each other. T I didn t have a lot of contact with Norwegian students throughout this semester. In my courses, there were some Norwegians but the biggest part was exchange students. It was very easy to meet other exchange students. Everybody wants to meet people and have fun, so a lot of things were organized by exchange students ourselves. We had multiple Facebook-pages were activities were being announced, for example barbeques at Sognsvann, kitchen-parties in Kringsja and trips. I made some trips with other exchange students to Bergen and Stavanger (both in Norway), Göteborg and Stockholm (both in Sweden) and Copenhagen. Culture and language I didn t experience a culture shock in Oslo. I think the most important differences between the Norwegian culture and the Dutch culture is that Norwegians are more into sports and being healthy, Norwegians are more relaxed and always helpful and Norwegians obey the rules (except of walkers who are crossing the street with a red sign). I think that Dutch people are more focused on a effective way of working, are more in a hurry and are very direct. I didn t have any language problems during my exchange. Unfortunately, I didn t learn any Norwegian. The language course offered by BI was quite expensive and I couln t follow the Erasmus Intensive Language Course due to time constraints. Norwegians are very good in English though, so it didn t bring any difficulties. Personal development I think this exchange affected me in both a cultural and social point of view. I met so many people all over the world with all different traditions, values, views and ways of working. I think this exchange made me more open minded and independent. I think this exchange can influence my career possibilities in a positive way because I am more aware of other cultures now and more open-minded. Besides, I made a lot of friends with who I will keep in touch. If I had the chance to go again, I would do exactly the same because I had an amazing time in Oslo and I have seen so many beautiful places. III ACADEMIC INFORMATION Academic level at a host university The courses I took at BI were offered in English. I had four courses during my stay in Oslo, namely: Strategy, Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior and Social Entrepreneurship. I chose these courses based on personal interest and requirements. I would recommend Strategy, because it was an interesting course and we had to write an paper in which we were totally free. I would not recommend social entrepreneurship. It is a relative new and less researched topic which made it very vague. The four courses were graded differently. For Strategy, Marketing Management and Consumer Behavior 100% of my grade was determined by a group paper and for Social Entrepreneurship I had a written exam. This exam existed of three big open questions where we had to discuss several topics. I think the academic level at BI is a bit lower in comparison with Tilburg University. Teachers are a bit

5 more informal towards students and are always willing to give you feedback. I think BI has a more practical approach in comparison with Tilburg University. Class participation, writing papers and discussions are more important than just theory. I am very satisfied about the study-opportunities at BI. There is a big and modern library in the school with silence and non-silence rooms, more than enough computers for all students, group rooms and individual places. Also outside the library, there are a lot of benches and tables where you can meet your project group for example. You can t reserve a computer in the library but in general there is always enough space, no matter what time. Description of courses All the courses I took were on Bachelor-level. Course Prerequisites Exam ECTS Comments EXC3600 Strategy None Projectpaper 7,5 Only one endproduct. Quite practical, only theoretical lectures ELE3702 Social Entrepreneurship None Written exam 7,5 There is no definition for the word Social Entrepreneurship. In my opinion too vague. EXC2112 Consumer Behavior EXC3415 Marketing Management Tips for future students: None None Project paper Project paper 7,5 We had to do 2 other assignments in order to make the paper in the end. 7,5 Introductory course in marketing, quite easy. We had to do 3 multiple choice tests online in order to make the paper in the end. I would definitely recommend an exchange period at BI. Norway is close to the Netherlands, but totally different and Oslo is a city, but feels more like a big village. BI is totally different as well, it is a beautiful building with very modern facilities and it has a more practical approach. I would recommend to meet the other students from UvT who are going to the same destination because you can support each other in the preparations. It is important to start early with your preparations, for example for housing, saving money and the enrollment for courses. I think in the end, it doesn t really matter where you go on exchange: you will have a great time anyway, because the people you will meet there will make the exchange such a good experience.

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