Five international students on Molde Campus speak their honest opinion about what they expected of student life in Molde and how it actually turned out to be.
By MESAY MOGES MENEBO and PAVLA UJMIAKOVA (photo)
Puneeth Parthasarathi (India, MSc Engineering Logistics), who has work experience in logistics and supply chain management in the telecom industry, discovered Molde University College through online search.
Why Norway & Molde? Norway’s high rating on UN’s Human Development Index made the decision easy, he said. He was admitted to Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy and Audencia Nantes School of Management in France, but he choose Molde because the university college is a specialized logistics school and tuition in Norway is free.
Expectations & outcomes: Parthasarathi thought people were more open and approachable than what he found to be the case. “I had that picture of fun and social life across Europe and I was really excited about coming to Norway,” he said. However, he later realized that the people are individualistic and a bit shy, comfortable with being alone. This was quite different from what he is used to back home and in his work environment in Africa. On the bright side he found the locals to be very disciplined, cultured, respectful and not discriminatory.
He said his academic expectations were fully met and that the university college has very good infrastructure. He described the system and method of learning at Molde Campus as “really great”.
“The teachers are approachable, flexible and helpful, and the environment of learning is really appealing, even though some courses that are compulsory for me are not too related to my field in engineering logistics.”
He was excpecting a very big school with lot of recreational and sporting facilities, he said, and a lot of social activities to bond students together, but the social programmes are limited and he finds student life in Molde to be seclusive.
He thought it would be easy to interact and mingle with the locals, but said: “There is no point of interaction, so it is hard to know their culture.”
He expected Molde to be a bigger city, with more traffic and lot of opportunities to shop and meet new people. “But it is very boring and the weather is quite terrible, especially for someone coming from a tropical country. It is so difficult to shop ingredients for the food I am used to eating back home, and I do not have enough knowledge about Norwegian food to try something new.’
Will you recommend Molde? “I will only advise students to come here if they can fully cover their entire cost of studies as it is very difficult to find part time work here.”
Daria Golyzhnikova (Russia, MSc Logistics) said she had published eight scientific articles while studying at Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas when a HiMolde professor persuaded her to come by high lightening the advantage of having an international education.
Why Norway & Molde? “I finally made up my mind to study in Molde, but by the time I came here I had no interest of coming to Norway. Norway was not part of my plan. It was not even in my mind. I had planned to study in Moscow, the USA or the UK.”
Expectations & outcomes: “I searched online and realized that Molde is a very small town. I spoke to students already studying here and they said beautiful things about Norway and Molde, but I am a big city person and love the busy life. I feel alone like one wolf in a forest, so I am little disappointed. I finally decided to come because the Norwegian economy is good and the social standard is high, and things were getting a little bit difficult in Russia.”
She added: “I only have friends from Russia. Overall, my expectation has never been met. Molde is boring and a difficult place to have a social life. It is hard to connect with the people and community.”
But she is happy with the academic life on Molde Campus. “The school is good, and the teachers are really polite and helpful. They connect well with the students. The only down side is they are very strict with the rules and not flexible when a student’s personal life comes in conflict with academic progression. The system is transparent and open, very conducive and rich for learning and enhancing one’s potential.”
She said the weather is too cold and harsh, especially the wind and the rain. “I knew about the weather, but I prefer it to be warmer.”
She expected more organised activities to bring students together. “Students are always on their own and apart. I think there should be more platforms to integrate students and make them bond better.”
Will you recommend Molde? “Never! Never! Never! Not for big city people like me.”
Wilson Garcia (Colombia, Msc Logistics), who had logistics-related work experience and two master degrees, is unhappy with the lack of paid work.
Why Norway & Molde? Garcia has friends who lives in Norway. They triggered his dream about coming here. Good contacts, free tuition and a school specialized in logistics made the choice easy.
Expectations & outcomes: He expected Molde to be more lively and fun. “I thought Molde would be like those bigger cities I have been to where people are open for interaction, but people here are quiet and reserved. I am enjoying a great social life, but that is because I play instruments and have created a way to have friends around the city of Molde.”
He said the academic standard is great. “Especially this semester I am learning a lot,” he said, but he thinks the interaction between students and teachers at his programme could be better.
He is happy with the comfort and warmth he is enjoying at the student housing, especially at Kvam.
“In other big colleges they encourage students to work, by giving internships and providing other ways. I believe doing this makes you free from stress as it helps students to focus on their studies. I did not find this here, they do not encourage and they do not care. Support or control, which one could help? I have completed two master degrees while working parallel with my studies. People say it is impossible, but my whole life I have been doing it,” he said, stressing that he wanted to present “the real picture”.
Will you recommend Molde? “Yes, under the condition that the student is 100 percent prepared for not finding a job!”
Doris Effah Kesse (Ghana, MSc Logistics) choose to study in Norway because the tuition is free.
Why Norway & Molde? “I applied to Molde University College because of the logistics programme.”
Expectations & outcomes: She expected more programmes to enable interactions amongst students and said the first three weeks in Molde – before the courses started – was quite hard, as she spent most of the time at home and by herself.
“I questioned myself, why I came to this place. It was hell boring during the early days. But later, when I got information about activities like hiking, games and so on, I started to participate. I was meeting more people.”
She added: “If you need help with something and ask one of the locals, they will help you. They are helpful, but they do not talk to you unless you talk to them. They seem a bit shy. But I was not expecting them to be as open and curious as people are back home.’
She said it was strange for her not to find any little paid job to do after six months in Molde. “I was hoping the school would create a link – such as internship programs – to the many companies in Molde with logistics-related activities.”
She said she is very satisfied with the academic standard. “The lecturers are open and approachable.”
She noted that even if Molde is a small town, you can get everything you need here. She had visited Norway before she arrived in Molde, so she knew what to expect when it comes to weather conditions. “I am really enjoying the nature here. I find it quite amazing.”
Will you recommend Molde? “Yes, but i will encourage the students to learn Norwegian before coming here. That will make them more able to integrate and make their stay in Norway more fruitful.”
Bojan Zegarac (Croatia, MSc Logistics), who had a bachelors degree in logistics, wanted to try Norway after visiting countries like Sweden, Denmark and Germany. He discovered Molde University College using “logistics” as his keyword searching online.
Why Norway & Molde: “I wanted to experience the Norwegian culture and way of life, even though I knew Norway is a very expensive country.”
Expectations & outcomes: Because of his experience in Sweden, he had some insight in the Scandinavian ways. He was expecting a lively and fun environment. “I am enjoying my stay and I could say that my expectations are fully met. Because I speak some Norwegian, I can interact freely and quite easily with Norwegians, just that same way I do it with other international students.”
But has had what he calls his 31th experience. “The locals, some of them, are really helpful. But not all of them. I was driving a friend to the airport when the car’s battery failed. Our request for help came with a positive yes from the 31th man that came by. My expectation changed immediately,” he said.
He is impressed with the facilities and the academic standard. “The courses are very good and highly practical with lot of examples and experiences from industries, but I am a little disappointed because I was expecting new level of Norwegian language course every semester.”
He believed that Norway would be colder than what he has experienced. “When I came it was summer. I really enjoyed it. But then the rain and wind, the worst combination, set in. I found it crazy.” He is very fond of the nature and said he has captured more than 1000 pictures of the surroundings with his camera.
Will you recommend Molde? “I will recommend Molde to other students and I would come here again if I had the chance to start all over. The language is the only barrier. If you know the language, there will be no barrier. When I did not speak Norwegian, nobody had an interest in me. Things became better when I started speaking it.”