Study and work in Norway. History of Nikita Sinyansky
19.01.18
Study and work in Norway. History of Nikita Sinyansky

 

 

Study and work in Norway. History of Nikita Sinyansky

 

In December, Nikita Sinyansky, who acted with Global Ambassador abroad, gave us an interview about living and studying in Norway. We included the basic information in the video, but it did not include many more interesting facts. Therefore, we decided to publish the full interview in text form.  

"Hello, my name is Nikita Sinyansky, I'm 34 years old. I studied English in England for six months and then entered the Norwegian Technical University for a 2-year master's program in English in the direction of Project Management, or Project Management. I studied for two years and I have been living and working in Norway for two years now.

History of admission

I was born in Yekaterinburg, graduated from school 110. After that, he entered the Radio Faculty at that time UPI, now it is UrFU. He graduated in 2005, after which he studied for about a year at the graduate school of the Radio Faculty, but somehow academic life did not work out. I worked a little and then I got the idea to change my life a bit and study abroad. But for this it was necessary to master the English language, which at that time was below average for me. Several times I tried to learn English in many places in the city of Yekaterinburg, but since there is no talent for this (and then there is work, study, friends, etc.), so the result was almost zero. Well, gradually we came to trying to go abroad for a long enough program to reach a level sufficient for passing TOEFL / IELTS and entering a foreign university.

And then chance brought me to Global Ambassador. We selected programs for quite a long time and, as a result, after several weeks of searching and negotiating, we found a super-optimal program. I studied in England, in the city of New Castle, which is practically the border with Scotland in the North. There I studied English for about 5 months at a language school and lived with a family. This time was not in vain - I improved my language quite well, passed the necessary exams at the end of the year and after that I returned to Yekaterinburg and we have already begun to prepare for admission to a foreign university.

How was the admission process

It was also a rather long process of choosing a country, a program, a direction, and so on. But if you answer the question why Norway, then the focus on Scandinavia was such a childhood dream. I spent the entire school student time on cross-country skiing, I was engaged in them at a fairly professional level and became a master of sports. And, of course, since childhood, Norway has been something so unattainable dreamy for me, and when the question arose of where to study, it was my priority. I also considered other countries in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. An important factor was that in Norway there is a free higher education. And, of course, the attractiveness of Norway and all other Scandinavian countries is a fairly high standard of living and other top positions in the world rankings of countries. So we agreed on Norway. In parallel, in order to have some additional options in case of a possible unsuccessful admission, we were still working on admission to Finland. That is, I entered two universities at the same time: in Norway for a master's degree, and in Finland for a bachelor's degree. Well, we started filing documents and all the procedures. Here, in fact, played an important role again Global Ambassador: all the guys have a fairly wide experience.

First, let me tell you about the master's degree. There were no entrance exams required for the master's program. All that had to be done, the first thing was to reach the required level of English for this master's program, the second condition, since it was a master's program, was a completed bachelor's degree, which was credited to me for 5 years of Russian education at Radio Faculty. The selection of students by the admissions committee was carried out mainly on motivational letters (why does the student need training, what background (experience) does the candidate have in the field of training and work, and most importantly, why does he need this program and how will it be useful to him in the future). We are with Global Ambassador we did everything point by point: we wrote all motivational letters, edited them several times, cut them down, enlarged them, and then sent the documents. Submission of documents was carried out in several stages. The first stage was quite formal - you just had to register on the site and fill out a short questionnaire. The second is to provide language confirmation documents, recommendations, motivation letters, certificates of undergraduate studies within a few weeks. After that, there was a tedious wait: in January we filed everything, and the answer came only at the beginning of May.
In parallel, I entered the bachelor's program in Finland. It was a little more difficult - I had to go to the exams. But I was lucky, because these exams could be taken in St. Petersburg. I went and additionally passed, in my opinion, three or four exams. It was quite interesting, since at the exams there were quite a few visitors like me, but on the other hand, whole classes, whole schools, St. Petersburg schoolchildren with teachers came to them.

Education in Norway and differences from Russian education

I will make a reservation right away that I graduated from a Russian university in 2005, and started studying in 2011, so my ideas about Russian education may not be modern. But nevertheless I will tell about the main differences in my opinion.

In general, the master's program is divided into two years, that is, 4 semesters, the last of which you write the final thesis Master Thesis. In the first semester there are more compulsory programs, well, a few to choose from, each subsequent semester more and more programs to choose from are added. What I really liked about studying in the master's program is that there are only 4-5 courses per semester, each of which ends with an exam.

Another interesting difference is that the training takes place in the most electronic form - all the information on the course is concentrated in the electronic environment: all lectures in writing, presentation slides, links to documents. That is, it was possible, in principle, not to go to lectures, but to see everything on the information portal. It was necessary to attend only colloquia, laboratory work, practical classes and, of course, come to the exam. This gave freedom of travel and movement throughout Norway and Europe. The courses ended with an exam - for me they were mostly written. I liked the fact that when you write an exam, you do not sign your name, you are simply randomly assigned a serial number, and during the verification process, the teacher does not know whose work he is checking. In this way, they are trying to exclude the subjective aspects of the assessment - something that, for sure, is present in Russian universities.

My training was not technical (and not humanitarian, and not technical), let's say Project Management is not a practical specialty. We had quite a few practical tasks than, for example, in engineering and other technical specialties. Accordingly, there were more lectures, more conversations, more theory. Well, the exams were theoretical, and not for solving some practical problems.

How was the stay arranged?

As an international student, I got a dorm room. The hostels are quite comfortable. We had 4 private rooms per floor and a shared kitchen with a toilet, a laundry room and a gym in the basement. In principle, training takes place in a fairly comfortable environment (at least for international students). I studied at the international program, and all of us were international students. We were all in approximately the same conditions, since everyone was a visitor. In general, it was always fun, provocatively, well, the learning process is quite interesting.

Life in Norway after graduation

When students enter, basically few people think about what to do next. A rather big problem, at least in Norway and most likely throughout Europe, is that it is quite difficult for a foreign student from Russia, if this is not some kind of demanded technical specialty, to find a job. 

For example, I left in order to find a job and work in Norway or nearby countries. From the very first courses, all students of the courses began to look for jobs very actively, a job fair was held, and quite a lot of events were aimed at this. But, unfortunately, in practice, most often these events were aimed either at engineering specialties or at local students. That is, the competition in the labor market is quite high. Firstly, Norwegians naturally prefer to hire their own citizens, if there are none, then from nearby Sweden and Denmark (because the culture, language are similar and, in principle, it is easier), then come the countries of Western Europe (Germany, Holland), then the countries Eastern Europe, then the Baltic countries, of which there are also a lot of people, and then we (Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians). Again, if we look at a student who came from Yekaterinburg, naturally he has a lot of competition with the guys from St. Petersburg and Moscow, because they are a little stronger and know Europe firsthand.

I couldn't find a job for a long time. I was already running out of a student visa, which allows students to stay in Norway and look for work, when I got a little lucky and found a great option for me. But again, with the condition that it was necessary to move far to the north of Norway, almost to the northernmost point, beyond the Arctic Circle. There are difficult climatic conditions, there is little competition, and therefore it turned out to find this job. Now I have been working at the same place for more than three years. I was engaged in the fact that we opened a crab factory in the north of Norway, at the moment I am its head. 

Advice for future applicants and those who complete their studies abroad

The first piece of advice is that you must answer for yourself why you are going there. Here you need to be extremely scrupulous in choosing a country, city, university. If possible, I would still advise you to travel to the intended country, city, and even visitors to this campus and university before applying there. There is such a remote impression of the country from beautiful tourist videos and other things, which often does not coincide with reality. For example, your personal feelings inside this country may not coincide: someone may feel good, but someone may not. That is, it is better to spend relatively little money and time and go there than to feel discomfort and regret after two or three years upon arrival that they did not choose another option.

Secondly, the most important thing, probably, is to be a little bit information literate. You should always find the original source. If you choose a university and a program with the help of some educational centers, then you should always go to the source, you need to go to the university website, view the current parameters.

Thirdly, if you still return to the question for what purpose you are going. I will omit the options a bit if you are going just to explore the world, enjoy international life and other things, because I didn’t go for that and I can’t say much about it. As well as the option when many, especially girls, go abroad to create their personal lives, here I can’t help much either. If you still consider the option of finding a job and living in this country on an ongoing basis, then you need to understand that any country of high quality and with super-duper parameters (let's take Canada and the USA, Norway, Switzerland, Australia), whatever country attractive, you need to understand that there is no heaven on earth, that everything will be there, including fierce competition with other people and other nations. And in this regard, the most important thing from the moment you arrive in the country is to understand that the local language is a paramount thing. That is, for example, if this is not an English-speaking country, and you study in English, you need to understand that the entire population of the country may not speak English. In Scandinavia, this is easier: almost everyone understands English and speaks it quite well. Well, for example, countries such as France, Germany, even Holland are quite conservative in their language. But even in Norway, as soon as you start speaking a non-local language, naturally, the attitude towards you is a little different. My advice: if you are going to a country on a permanent basis, you need to focus more on learning the local language from the first day than, for example, on academic success, because personal contact and personal acquaintance when applying for a job will actually play a big role, than your ideal grades and achievements in academic life. Well, this is if you do not want to build a career on an academic basis.

And another observation is, if we return again to the competition, which is quite high, then perhaps it is a reasonable enough option to look for a job, place of residence, and even a university not in the capital, but on the periphery. That is, the smaller the city, the farther it is from the capital, the less attractive it is for its own students or its own employers and, accordingly, there is less competition, more personal contact, it is easier to get settled, people are more humane and all bureaucratic difficulties are solved much easier. For example, when I lived in Trondheim, renewing a student visa took about six months (until you take the queue until you get it), when I moved to the north, it became much easier: you just come in a queue and within a week or two all bureaucratic issues are resolved . This is also important.

Well, the last advice: you need to calculate your training in finance. If you plan to go for 2-3 years plus from six months to two years to look for work, then you need to understand that these two, three, four years you need to live on something and somehow exist. Most often on the websites of universities or on national portals (for example, Study in norwayStudy in Finland), there are direct calculations on how much a student should have with him for a year, for a semester or for a month. If we take Norway, then this is even a prerequisite: you must show that you have this money in your account and in reality this money is leaving. Perhaps this is all advice.
Thank you for your attention and we wish you good luck in understanding life abroad!"

 

Nikita Sinyansky

graduate of the Master's program Project Management 
at Norwegian University of Science and Technology

   
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