Nursing student Rosie Harris from the English university in Worcester was never in doubt. When she recently had to choose where to go on exchange abroad, it had to be the University of Agder. She starts in April.
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“It is primarily the academic offer that seems appealing. I want to learn more about home nursing care. When it came to choose, it was Norway and the University of Agder that seemed the best,” she says.
But that is not the only thing that seems tempting. She has heard many good things about UiA and student exchange to the Norwegian South Coast from her study friends Angharad Anderson and Luzy Jones, who came to UiA through the Erasmus programme last year. Home nursing care was also their reason for coming.
“One of the best things besides studies was the nature. We lived at Roligheden in Kristiansand, a short way from the sea. And from Gimlemoen we had access to the hiking terrain around Jegersberg. We also had time for a trip to Trolltunga on the West Coast. It was just amazing, say the two students, who are currently registered nurses in England.
See also: Erasmus
Head of Department Kari Hansen Berg at UiA’s Department of Health and Nursing Sciences is happy about the feedback from the three British students’ experiences with and wishes for Erasmus exchange to UiA.
Along with the department’s student exchange coordinator for Europe, Anne Skisland, and advisor Tonje Rørli at UiA’s international office, Kari Hansen Berg has this week been to visit the University of Worcester to hear the English students’ experiences with UiA.
“We wish to learn from them to become better, at the same time as providing a good offer to our Norwegian students who come to Worcester through the Erasmus programme,” says Anne Skisland.
“We survey the conditions, more or less, and along with our English colleagues we see room for improvement on both ends,” she adds.
The deadline for applying for the Erasmus programme is February 15.
The collaboration in nursing between the University of Worcester and UiA has existed for almost three years. It is one in a long line of universities across the world that has exchange agreements with the nursing education at UiA, most of them in Europe and through the Erasmus programme.
During this time, five English students have come to UiA and a corresponding number of UiA student have been to Worcester. Most of the Norwegians student have had stays with practice training in medicine and surgery, while the English student choose home nursing care in Norway.
“What we’ve experienced is that the education and conditions in Norway and England are fairly the same. That is why there are few academic problems tied to our exchange. Financially, the Norwegian student seems to be doing well on exchange in England, in this case Worcester. And the language comes easy,” says Kari Hansen Berg.
The situation for the English students are on the other hand a bit more challenging. If they are chosen for a stay through the Erasmus programme they do not pay any tuition, but the travel and living stipend is small, just 1000 pounds.
“Unfortunately, this causes a lot to be hesitant about exchange. The subsidy does not cover the real travel and living expenses for a three month stay in neither Norway nor other countries,” says study coordinator and Associate Professor Kath Baume at the University of Worcester.
“One thing we therefor wish to look at closer with our Norwegian colleagues, and UiA, is the possibility of establishing a shorter exchange period accepted in our education, e.g. four weeks. Nothing is decided, but perhaps we can make something happen in the future,” she says.
The University of Worcester is in the middle of England, an hour train ride from Birmingham and about two and a half hours by train from London.
The university has a number of campuses spread about the city centre, also called Worcester. With their 12 000 students, it is as large as the University of Agder. The University has collaborated with the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences closer to seventeen years, mainly through the faculty’s nutrition and sport studies. Particularly the outdoor activities studies at UiA have attracted students from Worcester.
“There is also some research collaboration between the faculties and Worcester, especially in sports. We have also started one in nursing sciences. We wish to collaborate even more here,” says Kari Hansen Berg.