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1 Name: Kristel van der Linden Study Program: BA Personeelwetenschappen (MA Studies already completed) Exchange semester: Spring Semester Academic year: Host University: BI Norwegian Business School Country: Norway I GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL AND CITY BI Norwegian Business School is a private school that is located in Oslo, Norway. The campus itself consists of just one building which is very modern. There are several oncampus facilities such as canteens, coffee bars, a library, workplaces, public computers and a fitness centre. Throughout Norway there are three other study locations of BI and about students participate in their programs. At Oslo campus, Norwegian and international students take part in BI bachelor and master programs. BI offers a wide range of study programs varying from Business Adminstration to Psychology. Even though the school is situated in Nydalen, North of the city centre, it is easily reached due to a good public transport system (a metro station can be found just in front of the school). Oslo is a relatively small city and described as the blue and the green and the city in between. It is really nice to be able to enjoy the city life (e.g. Karl Johans Gate, Aker Brygge, Grunerlokka) and be able to escape it within 10 minutes and relax in a park or at a lake (e.g. Sognsvann, Vigelandsparken). Besides, you can go on several hikes through forests. The tourists attractions in Oslo are rather close to each other (e.g. Opera House, City Hall, National Gallery). Living in Norway is expensive and therefore you have to look for cheap brands and discounts. The least expensive grocery stores are Remi 1000 and Kiwi. I would recommend going to Gronland for your vegetables and fruits. Also, a selection of international food can be found in this area. IKEA is of course the cheapest place to buy furniture, bed linen, and more. The one called Furuset is the most convenient. A free shuttle bus service is available from the central station. One thing to keep in mind is that the age limit for going out is 20 and you are not able to enter a club/bar without showing your ID or passport. In some clubs/bars the age limit is even higher on Saturdays (23 or 25). II PRACTICAL INFORMATION Information before you left I received pre-arrival information from BI a few weeks in advance. Therefore, I had enough time to prepare everything for my exchange. In addition, I was able to ask any questions by e- mail. Visa procedure and arrival A resident permit is required for all European students who stay in Norway for more than three months. The international office assists you in getting your residence permit and consequently, the procedure to apply and eventually get your residence permit is not difficult and it does not take much time. I did not have to pay anything for this residence permit. BI offers an arrival service which is very well organized. A student waited for me at the central station to give me the keys of my room and relevant (practical) information about BI, Oslo and SiO (the Housing organization). Orientation/Introduction activities There were several orientation/introduction activities organized within the first two weeks of the semester and throughout the semester. However, I expected it to be bigger and more exciting. You cannot compare it to an introduction week at Tilburg University at all. The orientation/introduction activities at BI are more school and community related. Nevertheless,

2 I met a lot of other international students during these activities and I received a lot of useful information. Furthermore, I ve heard that the introduction week in the Fall semester involves more parties and the buddy groups are better organized. Housing Exchange students are assisted by BI with finding student accommodation in advance. They cooperate with two student housing providers: BSN Nydalen and SiO. The dormitories are spread out across the city. I decided to live in a student village called Kringsja (SiO) because a lot of international students are living there, it is located next to the lake Sognsvann, a lot of kitchen-parties (i.e. pre-parties) are organized in Kringsja, and it is relatively cheap compared to the other student villages. It took me about 15 minutes to go to BI and 20 minutes to go to the city centre. However, you have to keep in mind that the night-bus from the city centre to Kringsja only runs on Fridays and Saturdays. I had to share my bathroom with one guy and my kitchen with six others. You could also choose to have your own bathroom but then your rent would also be a bit higher. I am satisfied with the room I got and I certainly do not regret my choice. Also, the whole procedure of getting my room went smoothly. Living Costs In addition to the grant I received from Tilburg University, I received a grant from the Dutch government (uitwonende beurs + ov-vergoeding). In addition, my parents supported me during my exchange period and I saved money before going. Approximate monthly budget whilst on exchange: Housing 400 Food 200 Transport 45 Books 45* Miscellaneous - *In most cases it is not necessary to buy all the prescribed books. Also, in my classes there were a lot of articles provided through its learning (i.e. blackboard). Academic Calendar Arrival date: Introductory week: First day of the semester: Last day of classes: Mid-term break: Examination period: * *Most students will be finished earlier (especially Master students). For instance, I had to hand in my last group term paper on the 12 th of May. Any special events: (Constitution Day) The International Office The International Office at BI is very well organized (e.g. open every weekday, sending a lot of s concerning deadlines, quick responses, willingness to help you to find a solution for several kind of problems, even keeping students informed through Facebook about academic related information as well as social events). Kine Robertson is the main contact person. She is very enthusiastic and did a great job throughout the whole semester. Exchange promotion There was one small-scale event (comparable to an information market) organized by BI in which I took part to promote exchange to Tilburg University. Social Activities The university organized several activities during the semester for exchange students. By tradition, BI offers a free meal for up to 350 international and Norwegian students monthly which is called BI-nner. The meal is prepared by volunteers. Furthermore, BI organized once

3 a month a Sunday in the city in which students were able to explore Oslo for free. For instance, in the first week you could participate in a bus sight-seeing tour to discover the highlights of Oslo and meet new people and in another activity a tour in the National Gallery was organized. The student organization for international students is called InSA (i.e. International Students Association). In my opinion they did not organize that many activities for international students this semester which was disappointing. I did not have a lot of contact with Norwegian students. If you do want to meet Norwegians and be more in touch with them, I would recommend to join a club at BI or become a member of a different association in the city. I did have a lot of contact with international students. Everybody is very open-minded and wants to meet new people to have fun with and make this experience an unforgettable one. We organized a lot of activities by ourselves. The activities varied a lot from barbeques at the lake to trips throughout Norway and other countries. I traveled a lot during my exchange. I mostly traveled within Norway (e.g. Bergen, Alesund, Stavanger, Tromso) by bus, train and airplane. In addition, I traveled by bus to Stockholm (Swebus) and by boat to Copenhagen (DFDS). Culture and Language I did not experience a culture shock while on exchange since the Norwegian culture is comparable to the Dutch one. If I have to point out any differences, I would say that Norwegians are more health-focused, trustworthy and introvert. They will take their time to finish their tasks (whether it is at school or at a tourist information bureau) while Dutch people are more focused on working efficiently and more straightforward while interacting. The level of English is very high in Norway and therefore I did not experience any difficulties and I did not follow any Norwegian language course. Personal Development During my exchange I met a lot of people from different countries and therefore I learned a lot about different viewpoints on political issues as well as everyday life situations. For example, it was funny to learn and experience each other s eating habits. This exchange taught me to be even more open-minded and it made me realize I am more independent than I thought. Also, I became more extrovert since it was really easy to meet new people and develop a close relationship. My best experience was meeting all these new people and organize activities with them such as travelling. We saw the Northern lights and we made incredible hikes to Trolltunga and Preikestolen to witness Norway s beautiful nature which I will never forget. Luckily, I cannot write about a worst experience in this report since it did not happen. All in all, my period abroad was an amazing experience and I would not do things differently. III ACADEMIC INFORMATION Academic level at a host university The courses offered at BI are in Norwegian as well as English. All my courses were taught in English. The list of courses available for exchange students is provided at BI s website and the international office also sends this list by . In my perspective the academic level at Tilburg University is slightly higher but the level of English might be a bit higher at BI. I think that teachers at Tilburg University are more strict and the assignments a bit more difficult. However, that does not mean that everything was easy and I did not learn anything. BI provides a teaching style consisting of a mix between practical and theoretical. What I really liked about my courses at BI was that my classes were relatively small compared to the ones at Tilburg University and teachers tried to make them interactive. For instance, in one class (Managing for Excellence), we had to prepare flip-overs almost every lecture and discuss the topics on it with your fellow classmates (and the teacher). The relationship between the students and the teaching staff is very informal. I ve had teachers who would introduce themselves by shaking hands with every student in class and some of them were also up for a small talk. Also, teachers are commonly addressed by his/her first name. In general, I am happy with my academic achievements during my exchange.

4 Description of Courses Course Prerequisites Exam ECTS Comments GRA 2204 Judgment and Decision Making GRA 2246 Managing Workplace Diversity GRA 2261 Managing for Excellence GRA 2425 Change Management Bachelor degree in Business, Marketing or eq. qualifying for admission to the MSc Programme Bachelor degree qualifying for admission to the MSc Programme Bachelor degree qualifying for admission to the MSc Programme GRA 2205 Behaviour or eq. Group presentation Group mid-term Participation Individual Participation Participation 6 Theoretical, Every lecture has a central theme (biases) 6 Not really academically challenging 6 Practical, Great teacher (Arne Carlsen) Not the most difficult course. However, I would still recommend it since the teacher made it very interesting and he made you apply the theory to everyday life and work (e.g. by some assignments you have to hand in) 6 Theoretical Tips for the future students: GO, GO, GO! I would definitely recommend an exchange period. You will learn a lot about yourself and get in touch with interesting people from all over the world. My host university and Oslo are a good option because the school is very modern, the level of English is high, the international office is very helpful, the classes are smaller and the teaching style is more practical and interactive compared to Tilburg University. Furthermore, Norway is a beautiful country and you will have a lot of travel opportunities with your new friends to witness this by your own eyes. Do not forget to bring a lot of warm clothes (layers, layers, layers), hiking shoes, a router (optional), safe money, buy tax-free alcohol (at the airport), and last but not least time flies so enjoy your period abroad as much as possible! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at

5 A picture is worth a thousand words

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