More and more international students choose to study at the University of Agder (UiA). A record high of 262 foreign students from 44 countries have joined UiA this year.
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“This marks an increase of 20% in the number of international students pursuing degrees at the University of Agder. The more that other countries understand our country, the more experience they have in Norway, the better we will be able to work with them diplomatically, economically and strategically," says adviser and international coordinator Mette Høgbråt Pedersen.
She adds “They will learn a lot from the Norwegian culture and society. Contact with international students enables people on the other hand to see the world from vantage points that reach beyond their own backgrounds- and this allows them to learn about new cultures and countries.”
International students decide to join the University of Agder for different reasons. Many are drawn by the high quality of UiA's educational programmes.“We know that potential international exchange students talk to former international students that spent a semester or two at UiA. The word of mouth among students plays an important role in the recruitment of new students abroad,” underlines Mette Høgbråt Pedersen.
Norway is perceived as an exotic country with beautiful and unspoiled natural landscapes. “We know this from the feedback we get from the students themselves. Many students hope to get close to nature while they are here. They want to experience a new exciting country where they can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, climbing and skiing. Then Norway is perfect for them,” says Pedersen.
During the past year, the university has also been working on improving the admission process for international students, not least by increasing the agreement portfolio and offering interesting programmes in English.
“International students also have their own "buddies”- Norwegian fellow students who help them in the integration process and make them feel welcome from day one,” says Mette Høgbråt Pedersen.
International students also have their own Facebook page, where they can share their experiences while studying at UiA.
Germany continues to send the most foreign students to UiA, followed by France and Italy. Students from the three countries represent a little more than half of the total number of international students.
"Most of the students are undergraduates. We have experienced a significant increase in the number of students at the Bachelor’s level, while we have only 20 Master’s students this autumn,” says Mette Høgbråt Pedersen.
222 of the 262 international students are based in Kristiansand campus while 40 relate to the Grimstad campus. Students are enrolled in all types of programmes across different faculties at UiA. Most are here for one semester, but 39 will stay for a whole year.