Norway is a Scandinavian country located in the northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. It has Sweden to its east, Finland and Russia to its northeast and Denmark to its south. Due to its strategic location, the country is blessed with a long coastline, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west and the Barents Sea to its north. Norway is a country rich with natural resources. It is rich in petroleum reserves, natural gas and minerals. It has large reserves of freshwater and due to its extensive coastline is a large producer of seafood. Because of its large reserves of oil and gas, the petroleum industry has a share as large as a quarter of the country's gross domestic product.
Norway has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. It is said that, after Luxembourg, Norway has the highest per capita GDP in the whole of Europe. Norwegians thus lead a very high standard of living. The country also ranks very high in the Human Development Index. It has consistently maintained its top ranking in various indexes like Better Life, Public Integrity and Democracy. The country follows a social security system on the models of Nordic welfare and universal healthcare. The key industries like oil and hydropower are state-owned. However, the economic principles are based on the concepts of free market capitalism. The country is a welfare state providing financial security and healthcare to one and all. Thus, it is a very successful example of a mixed economy, where most of the industries are in the control of the state but are run on the principles of a free market economy. Among its industries, oil, minerals and the fishing industry earn the country most of its revenue. The fish export business is the second largest in the world. The country is also encouraging start-ups and entrepreneurship. It is these days one of the most innovative and digitized countries in the world, with numerous technology start-ups coming up every now and then. On the environment front, the country is working towards sustainable energy use and reduction of carbon footprints. The country is laying an increased focus on renewable energy and clean technology.
Norway has a parliamentary democracy that has often been classified as the most democratic nation in the world by the Democracy Index. It is a constitutional monarchy with the King as the head of state. The country has a unitary form of government with the Prime Minister as the head of the government. The country has its capital at Oslo and has a total population of around 5.2 million. Norway has a long history, dating back to the prehistoric times. Some of the oldest finds are from 9500 BC. In the middle ages it had been a part of Denmark and as recent as the year 1905, it was a part of Sweden. Norway was one of the founding members of the United Nations. In recent times, Norway is a member of NATO and the founding member of European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Even though it is not a member of the European Union, it anyway has close relations with the Union because of its European Economic Area (EEA) membership and has access to its internal market, thus benefiting immensely.
- Norway is famed for being the Land of the Midnight Sun. During the summer months, the sun remains visible even during the midnight.
- It has the stunning northern lights phenomenon occurring here, also known as the Aurora Borealis.
- Norway has a diverse environment. It has hills that are covered with lush green forests, numerous fjords, glaciers, lakes and an endearing coastline.
- The climate here is a varied one. Everything from bright sunshine, dense fog, rains, snow and strong winds can be experienced here.
- It is a country renowned for its fjords. Geiranger Fjord, Naeroy Fjord, Sogn Fjord and the Hardanger Fjord are some of the biggest and most visited tourist places in Norway. The first two are in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Nature is up very close from Norwegian cities. Most city centres are an hour walking distance from semi-wilderness. As such trekking and camping are quite popular with the Norwegians.
- The world's longest road tunnel, The Laerdal Tunnel, running 15 miles or 24.5 km, is in Norway. It has unique features that help the drivers to manage the mental strain they experience driving the stretch.
- Hydroelectricity is the major source of electrical power in Norway. The country generates 98-99% of its electrical power through hydroelectricity. To a great extent Norway is thus saved from the pollution that is so common with thermal power stations, the usual source of power in most countries, including India.
- The currency of Norway is Norwegian Kroner, represented as NOK
- Norway has two official languages – Norwegian and Sami. Norwegian is the more popular of the two. The people, anyway, are very familiar with English.
- Even though all the other Nobel Prizes are awarded from Sweden, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Norway by a Norwegian committee.
- Norway was one of the founding nations of the UN. The first UN Secretary-General, Trygve Lie was a Norwegian.
- Norway allows overseas students to work for 20 hours per week. However, someone working more than 20 hours can face serious consequences. At times, they are expelled from the country for not abiding the rules.
- The United States has approximately 4.6 million Norwegians living there, as good as the entire population in Norway.
- Sushi the popular dish that is so unique to Japan didn't have the salmon in it until a few Norwegians suggested it to be introduced as late as in the 1980s.
- It is not surprising that Norway is the most successful country in the winter Olympics. As of the 2014 Winter Olympics, it has won a total of 332 medals.
- The biggest herd of reindeer can be found in Norway.
- In Norwegian language, the country is called Norge.
- The increasing trend of immigration to Norway is making its capital, Oslo, a diverse city. Almost 30% of the population is foreign-born or foreigners themselves.
Admission Process in Norway
Anyone planning to study in Norway will have to prepare well in advance. It is anyway quite easy to get admission to a university in Norway and then get the study visa. The most important thing being your capacity to fund your expenses for your stay in Norway. If you are from a country other than the Scandinavian group of countries and the European Union, you will need a study visa. Before applying for the study visa, you will have to apply for admission to a university or college in Norway. You will have to research on the options available with you depending upon your field of interest and past qualifications. You will also have to arrange for suitable accommodation in Norway based on your budget and financial means. Enquire about the opportunities for part-time work during studies. Once you are satisfied with the search results, have admission and have also arranged the accommodation, apply for your study visa by approaching the nearest consulate or Embassy of Norway. Submit all the necessary documents including evidence regarding your capability to pay for the expenses during your stay in Norway. After approval of your visa application that takes around 2 months, collect your visa and head for a once in a lifetime experience in Norway while you study.
Student Visa Application Process
Students who are from the Nordic group of countries such as Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland and those from the European Union do not require a student visa or student resident permit to stay and study in Norway. All others, including those from the Indian subcontinent, require a student resident permit if they intend to study for more than 3 months in Norway. For courses having a duration less than 3 months, you will anyway need a visa, say a tourist visa, if you are coming from the Indian subcontinent.
Following are the requirements for obtaining a student visa for Norway.
First, you need to apply for admission to a university or college in Norway, depending upon the discipline you intend to take for your course of study. On receipt of the letter of admission from the concerned college, apply to the Norwegian embassy in your country of origin along with the necessary documents. The documents required are as follows.
- Filled application form
- Letter of admission from the concerned university regarding your candidature to a full time course in Norway.
- A valid passport
- Recent passport size colour photographs.
- Evidence regarding the adequacy of funds to cover your entire period of stay and study in Norway. For a year of your stay in Norway, you will require approximately 15,000 US dollar a year.
- Evidence of accommodation in Norway, in terms of a hall, room, apartment or a house.
- Evidence concerning your return from Norway, once your resident permit expires. This could be done by showing a return ticket.
It takes around two months to process your visa application. It is this advisable to prepare early in case you intend to apply for a student resident permit for Norway. Once your application is approved, your next step after arriving in Norway will be to apply for a residence card. The card has to be applied at the local police station in Norway within seven days of your arrival in Norway. The residence card is dispatched to your registered address in Norway within ten days' time.
In Norway, you are permitted to work for 20 hours per week during studies and full-time during vacations. Your work permit expires on completion of one year. Within three months of the expiration of your work permit, you need to apply afresh. You will have to submit evidence regarding the adequacy of funds for your stay in Norway and your student progression report obtained from your university. To be able to work part-time you need to continue doing well in your studies.
On completion of studies, you may apply for a residence permit of validity six months for applying for a job as a skilled worker.
Even though a developed and modern country, Norwegians are deeply rooted in tradition. They value their culture and the rich heritage that they have inherited from their ancestors. Norwegians study hard and work hard. They live an active lifestyle, indulging in sports, vacations, treks and other outdoor activities. They also like to travel a lot and can be found visiting every place on earth. Their approach to life is however simple. They prefer simple comfortable clothing that is more practical oriented considering the climate of Norway. There are not any dress code in the country, even in the colleges. However, in recent years, keeping with the trend of globalisation and increasing numbers of immigrants coming to the country, formal wear to is gaining in style. That is yet to win mass appeal though. Norwegians have their weekends off on Saturdays and Sundays and have holidays during the summer vacation and Christmas. The society is bereft of any crimes. In fact, crimes are very rare and Norway is thus one of the safest places in the world for overseas students to study and live. Football and handball are the popular sports along with cycling, swimming, boating and trekking. Cross-country skiing is the national sports of Norway, in which it wins a number of medals in international competitions. The food habits of Norwegians is a varied one. All kinds of cuisines from different parts of the world are available for the food-connoisseur to taste. Seafood is a delicacy here. The country's capital, Oslo, is famous for being the best speciality coffee city in the world.
Cost of Living for Students
The best thing about the Norwegian education system is that it is all free, regardless of where you come from. The state universities and the majority of the other universities in Norway provide free education to all. It is part of the endeavour of the government there to provide access to higher education to one and all without any discrimination. Some of the private universities do charge tuition fees for the education they provide, but it is much cheaper than what it is in some of the other western countries including USA and UK.
Even though education is almost free of cost in Norway, nevertheless, it is a high-cost country for overseas students. The living costs are high because of the high standard of living that the country and its citizens maintain. Therefore, to study in Norway, one should have adequate means of financing one's stay in the country. During the visa application process, you will have to show evidence of your being able to afford your stay in Norway. Most of your expenses while studying in Norway will be on accommodation, food, travel, leisure, mobile recharges, etc. Though the tuition fee is free, you will have to pay for examination fees every semester. It comes to around 300-600 Norwegian Kroners. One US dollar roughly equals 8.2 NOK. The facility of part-time work is quite helpful, as it helps you in covering a part of your expenses.
Other than part-time work, grant of scholarships and fellowship programs too can cover a part of your living expenses. However, these are far, few between and they won't cover your entire expenses. Mostly, you will have to arrange for the funds through your own means or by taking up loans from your country of origin itself. The scope of part-time work too may be limited. As such it is advisable not to rely much on scholarships and part-time work. It is a lot better to arrange for your own funds.
Documents for University Admissions in Norway
The list of documents that will be required to apply for admission to a university in Norway and subsequent visa application are mentioned here.
- Your passport. It should have a validity of at least one year after your arrival in Norway.
- All your class 10, 12 and graduation mark sheets and certificates. Certificates highlighting your achievement in other fields, including sports, should also be included.
- Adequate quantities of your latest colour photographs.
- Evidence showing your admission to a university or college in Norway.
- Your statement of purpose, highlighting why you intend to study in Norway.
- Bank statements and other income documents that can be submitted as proof of your financial means to cover your living expenses in Norway.
- Evidence regarding your accommodation in Norway
- Adequate copies of all the above documents.
Do remember to collect your original documents back, once your visa is granted to you by the embassy. A few other documents you may keep handy are your birth certificate, character certificate and letters of reference from your school, college or past employer.