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, with students not having to pay tuition fees at any level, be it undergraduate studies, Masters programmes or PhDs.
If you want to go and study here, you should know a little bit about the living costs and what expenses you should expect, as an eager student in a foreign country.
Most Sought-After Disciplines in Norway
First of all, Norway has a lot of fields you can study in. However, the most popular and sought-after disciplines for students are:
Best Universities in Norway
Also, check out these universities. There are a lot of institutions in Norway, but some of the best are:
- BI Norwegian Business School, in Oslo;
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), in Trondheim;
- NHH Norwegian School of Economics, in Bergen.
University Expenses in Norway
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.
Despite the lack of tuition fees, students will still 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 Norwegian benefits. The semester card will grant you access to sports facilities, but also gives you discounts on:
- public transport;
- cultural events.
Once again, exchange students can rejoice: the semester fee doesn't apply to them.
Accommodation in Norway
This is by far the biggest expense and concern while in Norway. 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 (515 EUR) per month and more, facilities not included.
Books and Study Materials Costs in Norway
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 widely available, especially for students who have already graduated, so keep your eyes open for ads.
Getting Around the City
Public transportation is quite expensive, even with a student discount (about 500 NOK / 67 EUR) 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.
Food Expenses in Norway
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;
- Rema 1000;
- Ica Maxi;
- Coop Prix.
Most of them are within walking distance from major residential areas, including student villages, and fresh fruits and vegetables are available throughout the year.
Some products can cost:
- 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. With foods 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, be careful of the high prices. If fine gourmet restaurants keep your strict student budget at bay, there are always fast-food restaurants with a diverse menu at a more reasonable price.
Other Related Expenses
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, and 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. You can catch great discounts on:
- Electronic equipment
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.