by Geanina Mihaela Spinu
Norway has one of the highest standards of living in the world, which means that it is also one of the most expensive countries out there. However, when it comes to education, Norway can pride itself in high quality without students having to pay tuition fees at any level, be it undergraduate studies, Master programmes or Ph.D.
If you're an Erasmus exchange student, this means that you can partly count on the scholarship you will be given. At the same time, if you meet other requirements depending on your study subject and academic agreement between your home university and the one in Norway, you could also be eligible for financial support that can pay for your living expenses. Read more about tuition fees in Norway!
Despite the lack of tuition fees, students will have to pay a semester fee which typically amounts to around 500 NOK (roughly 66 EUR) per semester. This fee must be paid in order to be eligible to sit for exams, but it will also entitle you to several benefits. The semester card will grant you access to sports facilities, but also give you discounts on public transport, museums, concerts, and other cultural events. Once again, exchange students can rejoice as the semester fee doesn't apply to them.
Editor's note: Don't forget to check out the hundreds of exciting study opportunities in Norway!
This is by far the biggest expense and concern while in Norway and the easiest way to get away with it is to secure a room through the International Office in one of the student villages. Demand is very high and finding accommodation should be a priority when you are first applying to the university as it will be infinitely harder to find a room once the academic year starts. For example, the most popular student village in Trondheim is called Moholt and it houses a majority of international students.
A room here costs 2700-3000 NOK (360-400 EUR), but unlike another type of accommodation, it includes water and laundry facilities, Internet and cable TV. A deposit of 5000 NOK (670 EUR) is also required for single rooms and this will be refunded once you move out. Keep in mind that if you are not an exchange student, you have to find accommodation yourself. Student rooms to rent in the city can be as high as 4000 NOK per month and more, facilities not included.
Books and study materials
You will end up spending quite a lot on these, but only at the beginning of the semester, depending on your studies. Second-hand books are also widely available, especially for students who have already graduated, so keep your eyes open for ads.
Getting around the city
Public transportation is also quite expensive even with a student discount (about 500 NOK a month), so the easiest way to save money is to invest in a bicycle. Your budget will be grateful. When inclement weather will force you to abandon your bicycle in the basement, its good to know that buses in Trondheim have tickets valid for one hour on all routes, including the tram line. Tickets valid for one day are also available, as well as long-term subscription cards that can be purchased at the service in the city centre.
As all other things in Norway, food can also be a great threat to your already limited student budget, but a well-thought shopping list and daily sales in supermarkets can save you a lot. Go to small food stores such as Bunnpris, which has the best sales by far, but also Rema 1000, Ica maxi or Coop Prix, most of them within walking distance from major residential areas, including student villages. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available throughout the year.
- Bread 25 NOK (3 EUR)
- 1 litre of milk 12 NOK (1,5 EUR)
- 500 g of cheese 50 NOK (6,5 EUR)
- 12 eggs 30 NOK (4 EUR)
- Cereal 20/40 NOK (2,5/5 EUR)
For exotic tastes, there are plenty of stores in Trondheim that specialise in Asian food products. From China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, India, variety is at its best. Trondheim is full of exotic restaurants as well and if you're not an expert at preparing your own sushi, then there are great chefs around the city for you, but once again, at high prices. If fine gourmet restaurants keep your strict student budget at bay, there are always fast-food restaurants with a diverse menu at more reasonable prices.
The biggest shopping mall in Trondheim is called Torg, filled with countless shops that sell anything from clothes, accessories, and footwear to books, beauty supplies, phones, spot gear and toys. The place also has cafes where you can rest after a shopping spree, fast-foods and small bakeries that always welcome you with fresh and delicious French products. Other major malls would be Solsiden and Mercur, with shops to suit anyone's taste or budget.
Since Trondheim is very close to the border with Sweden, a lot of people take the bus to go shopping in the neighbouring country. The prices are lower, the trip is cheap and they will also return your bus fare if you show the receipt of the supermarket to the driver. The bus takes you to a shopping centre and you have about an hour to shop until the bus has to return to Trondheim. The round trip takes three hours in total. The road to Sweden is beautiful, as it goes through long tunnels dug into the rocky mountains.
It is also a great idea to subscribe to the international student mailing list. You will receive up to date information about students who are finishing their studies and are selling their belongings at great prices: bicycles, furniture, books, electronic equipment, etc.
National number and bank accounts
All students staying in Norway for more than three months need a residence permit that can be attained at the police station. Within a week after your arrival, you have to register at the Immigration Department with your valid passport, letter of admission to the university and health insurance card. If you stay in Norway for more than 6 months, you also have to apply for a National Number at the National Population Register (Folkeregister). This personal number entitles everyone to a personal physician at one of the medical centres in Trondheim and is also essential for opening a bank account.