Throughout completing the tasks for the financial and the medical sections of the preparation checklist, the travel arrangements I needed to make for the journey to Norway was on my mind. Unlike students travelling across the pond, I did not need to consider VISA documentation but I did need to consider when I would be travelling, who I would be travelling with, and where I would be travelling from.
Making travel arrangements for a long-term trip such as this takes a lot of time and consideration. From the basics to the complexity of determining luggage needs and time constraints made by UiO, I knew that I couldn’t rush this section.
The Basics: Passport, EHIC and ISIC
Obviously, having an in-date passport is the first essential when preparing to study abroad. Passport forms can be filled in online via the government site or through a paper form that can be submitted in a local Post Office. Renewal of passports can take up to three weeks. I renewed mine last year so that was the quickest tick off my checklist.
The European Health Insurance Card is a free card that enables people to recieve emergency medical treatment. Contrary to the regular EHIC card that most British citizens have when they travel, students are offered a student version for when they travel. This can only be applied for via paper form and a letter from my university confirming my study scheme was required. Of course, the validity of this card will come into question if we do leave the EU.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) card is both a financial and travel essential, not only certifying student status but also supplying discounts for things such as travel and food across over 130 countries. It is essentially, the international version of an NUS card. The ISIC card is £12 for an electronic card (this is non-optional) and an additional £3 for a physical card that can be purchased online. A passport-style photo and a scanned proof of identity and student status is required to qualify.
The Flight: Finding What is Best For You
Travelling to a different country for five to ten months is a daunting prospect. Travelling to a different country with five to ten months’ worth of belongings alone is also incredibly daunting. Universities offer to connect fellow students who will be studying at the same institution so that the latter isn’t an issue if someone is anxious about travelling alone. Unfortunately, in my case, I had already found and booked my flight by the time that I met the other students from a different school at Cardiff University who would also be studying at UiO.
Travelling alone did make deciding when to move to Norway far easier, however. Most universities do not offer a meet and greet service so travelling with people can lead to disagreements. UiO, however, offer a meet and greet service from the airport and the central station in the first week of August for incoming international students. Once I knew when I was travelling, I began my search for the right airline for me.
There are three key things to consider when picking an airline and flight; baggage allowance, travel time and comfort.
Living in another country for five months means I was going to need a good luggage allowance. The travel time is only a couple of hours so I did not need to worry about comfort. I did, however, have to consider time since the meet and greet service had a certain time frame which limited my search greatly.
My search was based online, using Expedia and Skyscanner leading me to Fly Norwegian, British Airways and Scandinavian Airlines. I spent a lot of time and conversation on who to go with, weighing up my options. I also had to consider getting to the airport based in London since I nor my parents drive. So I had to consider baggage allowance and time constraint greatly.
The process of elimination was with the key criteria in consideration and I ultimately chose to book with Scandinavian Airlines as it gave me a generous baggage allowance, I would arrive in time for the meet and greet and I would be able to travel to the airport without stress.
The travel section of my checklist took a couple months for research purposes. This is due to my flying experience being limited to certain airlines that do not fly to Norway and so, I did not want to rush into booking a flight for fear of price rise and instead, take my time and ensure that I booked a flight with everything I needed.