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Norwegian students in Australia

Interested article in Dagbladet today about Norwegian students attending Australian Universities. I myself was in Brisbane for three years getting my Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and loved the city and the country (..and someone very special as well - but unfortuanly things change). I wasn’t the only one speaking Norwegian the long article gives many examples on. Studying in Australia has gained a fair amount of bad press and attitudes among the businesses in Norway as many have the perception of those studying in Australia as beer-drinking lazy surfers. Which is correct for some, just as it’s a correct assumption for some of the beer-drinking lazy snowboarders studying in Norway. However, I do see the problem that the article points out. When I started at Queensland university of Technology (QUT) in 2001, there was about 150 Norwegian students there. When I graduated in 2003, there was over 400. No matter how good the university is that is not ideal considering the proximity to Norway. Yes, the world is getting smaller, but I do not think that such a high concentration of Norwegian students in a university on the other side of the world has a positive effect on the level of integration that those students has and the perception of those students, and thus the chance of getting a job later on. I knew many Norwegians who only hang out with fellow Norwegians and had few or none Australia friends. Something that is not likely to be the situation with Norwegian students abroad in other countries that Australia.

That said, there are many good universities in Australia. And it’s something that it’s easy to forget in an article like that. Too bad because Norwegian students in Australia have gained a unfair negative reputation. Many are having problems finding jobs even with a masters degree. Which really makes we wonder about the priorities of recruiters. It really seems like the Norwegian ‘jantelov’ is showing here. A student should be poor, have an extra job, study hard and shouldn’t enjoy themselves. When they hear about students who can live in a fantastic place like this, relax on the beach on the weekends and buy cheap beer, they automatically come to the conclusion that these students are lazy and only in Australia to have fun. Too bad for them and their companies that they do not see the value of hiring people with international degrees, solid english speaking/writing qualifications and with difference perspectives gained from living in a slightly different culture.

Written on 18 March 2005.
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