Marieke van Vonderen in Norway

Field of study in Wageningen: Nutrition and Health
Study period exchange: 01/02/2019 until 25/05/2019
Country (exchange): Norway
City (exchange): Ås
University (exchange): NMBU
Faculty (exchange): Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science

2. Motivation for exchange

Why did you choose to go on study exchange?

I wanted to go abroad, because I like to see the world and meet new people. I wanted to challenge myself in a new environment and make friends for life. This all happened and turned out amazing!

What is the reason you chose for this country/university?

I am really interested in all Scandinavian countries. Since a lot of Nutrition and Health students are going to Finland, I wanted to go somewhere else, but still have a good university in my work field. So the NMBU in Norway was a great opportunity for me to make this reality!

3. Accessibility to reach destination

Do you have any tips to reach your exchange destination?

There are apps ‘RuterReise’ and ‘RuterBillett’ which you can use for all public transport around Oslo and Ås. RuterReise is like 9292, where you can find your way and RuterBillett is to buy tickets for public transports. It is linked to a creditcard and you can select different zones in which you want to travel. Depending on how many zones, you can travel for 1 or 1.5 hours with all public transport in the zones you selected. You just show the QR code to the drivers and that is all. This is also a way to move from the airport to Ås.

4. University and studying

Could you provide some general information about the followed courses?

How is the study formalized?

There is a schedule like high school and not as at WUR. All courses are scheduled during the weeks. It is a semester system, so there are 14 weeks of classes and 2 weeks of exams afterwards. Most are powerpoint lectures. The level is lower than at WUR. The exams are pretty similar to the practice exams. There are all open questions and if the exam is digital, you have to bring your own laptop and download a software program which blocks programs on your own laptop. The workload is low and the material is spread via Canvas which is like Blackboard/Brightspace.

What is the culture of the university?

The lectures are not full with students. The Norwegian students are only coming when necessary. There are no general lunch breaks, so there are 5 blocks for lessons on a day and they are during 45 min lecture, 15 min break, 45 min lecture. I had no classes on 2 days in the week and 9 classes a week. The contact hours are much less.

What does the university offer the student additionally?

There are some caterings spread over the campus. There is a sports centre on the way from the university to the student dorms and it has a gym, big sport halls and a climbing wall. There is no swimming pool. There are group lessons as well as in the Bongerd. Most of the students are living in the Pentagon. This is a sort small village with just students. There are different building when you can live and laundry facilities are in the basements of the buildings. The internationals and Norwegian students are mixed and it is randomly chosen in which room you will live and with who. There is a student building with almost every evening activities, Samfunnet.

5. Housing-travelling-living

What are the possibilities for housing?

You can register at SiÅs (the ideals of Ås). You look at their page and accept a room when it will be shown of their page. I have no idea if it is possible to have a private room.

What is the culture of the country like?

A lot is the same as in Holland. The Norwegians are more shy and towards themselves, but when you know them, they are open and share dinner with you. They are not jugging anything and accept people for who they are. They are proud of Norway and not afraid to show that.

Could you give a general price indication of the place of residence compared to living in Wageningen?

It is more expensive to live in a room in Norway. The difference depends on the room you take, own bathroom or shared and so.

Could you give some information about public transport infrastructure?

The public transport is great. It is way better than in Holland. The busses and trains are on time and the app ‘RuterReise’ is updated every day and as far as I experienced, always right. ‘RuterBillett’ is for tickets and you pay 36 NOK for 1 hour traveling in zone 2S in which Ås is located. When you want to travel to Oslo (zone 1), this takes 45 min to 1 hour and will cost 23 NOK extra (with the 36 NOK of zone 2s) and you can travel for 1.5 hours in zone 2S and 1. The taxi is really expensive and the very last option to travel (for me). The university is 900 meters from the Pentagon, so I walked or went with the bicycle to the university.

6. Free time

What are must-sees in the area? 

Oslo is really close to Ås! So go there! There is a lot to see in Oslo and surroundings. Drøbak is also really pretty and is next to the Oslo fjord. There is a sort of beach to chill in the sun and the best ice creams are sold there. For the rest are trips a little further away, but worth the travel! Bergen, Stavanger and Tromsø (Northern lights) are great to visit. Also going to Lapland is amazing! It is the north of Norway, Sweden and Finland. You can see reindeers, a lot of snow and also Northern lights. I went with the buss, but the plane is also an option.

Do you have general tips and tricks about leisure time?

Go to Samfunnet in Ås or Oslo and meet people. Also a cabin trip is amazing to see nature!

7. Challenges & best moment abroad

What was a challenge you have experienced?

It was difficult to start with courses since not all courses of the course guide were giving in the spring-parallel semester. Since the Norwegians are more towards themselves, I felt a little alone in the beginning, but as soon as I met the other internationals, that was solved.

What was your best memory abroad?

All the new people, my trips and all the amazing places I have been! I made friends for live and will visit them soon. The memories are unforgettable and I can shorten my bucket list!

8. Contact details

Would you like to ask Marieke more questions about her exchange?
Send her a mail: