School of History, Archaeology and Religion
Erasmus+ Study Placement
Where did you go?
I went to Norway and studied at the University of Oslo.
What motivated you to take up a Global Opportunity?
My initial motivation was the fear of studying abroad. I knew if I didn’t go then I would be giving in to that fear and letting it hold me back so I applied last minute still thinking that I probably wouldn’t ever leave. Then when the reality sunk in and it was all arranged my motivation became the excitement of all the things it would allow me to do whilst I was there and once I came home. I was excited to explore a new place, and for the possibility to travel and meet new people who otherwise I never would have met. I also knew that professionally speaking it was an amazing chance that I couldn’t afford to miss out on, and that, combined with how stunning Oslo is, meant I had to seize the opportunity.
What were your top 3 highlights from your time abroad?
- Meeting new and amazing people and making great friends for life! Whilst abroad I met one of my closest friends and it now means I have free accommodation in Dublin (as well as Prague, Normandy and Norway thanks to so many other amazing people). The whole experience allowed me to connect with so many people and I now have links to places all over the world.
- The opportunity to travel, not just in Norway but all over. I visited Denmark on an overnight ferry and spent time in Vilnius in Lithuania. These, among others, were places I had never considered before and were so accessible from Norway, meaning I got to see places I never normally would have had the chance to see.
- Freia and Christmas! Freia Chocolate is the best around (even, dare I say, better than Cadbury) and inspired Roald Dahl to write Charlie and the Chocolate factory. At Christmas it gets even better, and the Norwegians go all out with their decorations and food. I spent so much time in the snow at Christmas markets and festivals, and even carried a lit torch to the lighting of the Christmas tree. Norway is always beautiful, but at Christmas and covered in snow, is even better.
What was your biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I faced when moving abroad was the cost. Norway is the second most expensive country in the world, and I feared my bank account ending up empty. However, the support is out there in terms of funding your year abroad and with some budgeting (and being more selective with what I really wanted to do) it was much more easily manageable than I thought. It is scary having the burden of money to consider but I feel it has helped me to become better at managing it now. Plus it was more of a worry before and during my move than it was when I actually lived there.
How has your placement been beneficial to your studies at Cardiff University or your future career?
In terms of coming back to Cardiff and my future, I feel it was a great opportunity to improve all my academic skills as quite simply it was an extra year to do so. The things I lacked confidence in at the end of first year I could work on before going into my second year at Cardiff, and my time also helped me to look at my work from a different academic perspective in order to improve it. All this plus the fact that studying abroad looks good to any potential future employer!
What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you left?
I wish I had known that it was possible for anyone to do this regardless of background and previous challenges a person may have faced, as it was this that nearly stopped me from going abroad. I now realise that studying abroad is actually accessible to everyone and can be managed quite easily. Even once I had moved I still wondered if study abroad was actually something I could do.
What would you say to a student that was unsure about spending a period abroad?
I would absolutely tell anyone even considering studying abroad to jump at the chance! Even if you are unsure there is so much information available to help, and this opportunity is once in a lifetime. I would also recommend they look into studying abroad and the opportunities out there, as the university provides so many resources to quell any doubts and help students begin to understand what is right for them.
What are 3 things to do in Oslo?
- Visit the opera house and the museums. Oslo has so much to offer without many people even realising it (pro-tip, don’t miss out on Vigeland Sculpture Park for some amazing artwork)
- Try every unusual food on offer, especially at the Christmas markets.
- Enjoy the scenery. Oslo city centre is beautiful but just outside are forest, lakes and some of the best hikes and lookout spots to view the fjord.
Please sum up your experience abroad in one sentence.
Studying abroad was one of the best and most memorable times of my life. It allowed me to see the world from a different perspective and to experience a new culture for which I will always be grateful.