Jawad Taheri and his exchange semester in Norway

Jawad Taheri, one of top students at AUCA Economics Department, is sharing his experience about the exchange semester at NMBU:

Spending one semester of my ongoing bachelor degree studies abroad through one of the most
prestigious exchange programs offered at AUCA was an unforgettable experience. Indeed, this
program could boost up my self-determination by expanding my insight about academic and
social life. Choosing Norway as a destination to have my exchange semester was influenced by
the brilliant performance of Scandinavian countries in educational fields, providing world class
and standardized academic atmosphere, well qualified professors and intense government
support for subsidizing the educational activities. Therefore, during my sophomore year I eagerly
applied for this program. However, the application process was intensively competitive because
Norwegian University of Life science (NMBU) is one of the few exchange opportunities which
provides 100% scholarship for AUCA students, luckily I was accepted to attend the program.
After receiving the congratulatory email from International Student Office regarding my
acceptance to the program, I was truly excited and could not contain myself for joy to be starting
new journey of my life as soon as possible.

Oslo city hall (Rådhuset)

I arrived to Norway at the last days of July 2018, the season when the country is one of the most desired destinations for the plenty number of both local and international tourists. During summer season Norway’s nature, especially its forests and fjords are fabulous. Long summer days adds up even more to the adventure as the sunset happens later and you can get the maximum out of the day for the exploration around the country. When I moved to my flat which was provided by the student housing company (Siås) for students who are studying at NMBU, I could get acquainted with my flat mates and make international friends. During the first week I had the chance to explore Ås city center where the university is located, and socialize with students who had been living in Norway earlier, a year or two before. Most of the other exchange students from different countries were also arriving, so we could make a group of international students which included people from all five continents. For most of us it was the first time being in Norway, so we organized mini tours around Oslo city and some amazing sites, Opera house, Norwegian Royal palace, Oslo city hall (Rådhuset) where the annual noble peace prize award ceremony is held. Meanwhile, NMBU offered a two week orientation program for the new incoming students, where we could engage even more with students from different countries and NMBU’s life style. The student body was really diverse and it was advantage to have the opportunity to interact and learn about different countries, cultures and customs.

During my time in Norway, I realized that Norwegian life style was quite dynamic where students were not only involved with the university classes and studies, but also had a great enthusiasm for out of the class activities. In a distance of 5 minutes’ walk from university “Samfunnet I Ås”  was located where students were having their festivals, job career events, fun activities and concerts. This center was serving for all students living in Ås.

In part of academics, NMBU is offering competitive and high quality education in the country. To be honest, there is a huge difference between the education systems in Scandinavian countries, to be more precise at NMBU, and developing Asian countries. Even comparing to some developed ones, too. Taking from more understandable, comprehensive and realistic approach to the topics being discussed in the lectures, accompanied by very well-defined today’s world examples, to the integration of both professors and students to the topic in a profound depth. Meanwhile, Europe is expected to have such a high standard, being home for the most of top ranked universities globally. I would consider government investment the main force for making it happen, which in the long-term had also resulted in the nation’s prosperity. It is one of the reason why Scandinavians are top ranked for their education systems. During my exchange semester I was taking some courses with masters, and even PhD candidates and it could influence my understanding of the topics of the class and learning objectives.

At last, my exchange semester was a great opportunity to experience the academic and social life style in one of the best countries in the world. Now I have realized that exchange semester is a must for students because it can easily expand one’s understanding and insight about different cultures, people, and environment. Life is about learning, trying new things, and challenging your abilities, then just dare to give an attempt to experience it.

NMBU main Campus, clock building (International Students)