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UiA welcomes a record number of international students

Around 500 international students from 65 countries arrived at the University of Agder this autumn. The number has never been higher.

International students gathered in Vrimlehallen.
The new international students gathered in Vrimlehallen on Campus Kristiansand. (Credit: Marcel Tiedje.)

“We have seen a steady increase in international students throughout the pandemic, but this autumn there has been a leap,  about a hundred more than in the autumn semester of 2021”, says Margrethe Aurora Seljenes, who is the coordinator for incoming students at the University of Agder (UiA).

491 students have come through international admissions or on exchange. In addition, some international students have applied through the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service (Samordna opptak), and UiA does not have the exact figures for these.

Of the approximately 500 international students, there are:

  • 343 exchange students who will be at UiA for one or two semesters
  • 118 full-time students at bachelor's and master's level
  • 30 students from Ukraine

UiA offers places in English language study programmes for qualified applicants with refugee status.

Internasjonale studenter på Campus Grimstad

International students gathered at Campus Grimstad.

An appealing lifestyle

Seljenes emphasises that students feel it is safe to come to UiA.

“UiA has a good reputation both because of our academic breadth and for how we welcome students. They receive good support and service throughout the application process and during their stay here”, she says.

Many of the students are excited about the nature around the campus. Seljenes says that the Scandinavian lifestyle also appeals to many. We have seen that many international students come back to UiA later in their studies, or they extend their stay.

“There is a great diversity of international students at UiA. Everything from the typical Erasmus student who has travelled through Europe by train to get here in the ‘greenest’ way possible, to student activists who are barred from completing their education in their home country. They get the opportunity to continue their studies with us through the Students at Risk programme”, Seljenes says.

Housing is a challenge

“In the past, UiA was attractive for being able to guarantee housing for international students. This is no longer the case”, Seljenes says.

“This year, many of the students had to search on the private market to find a place to live. Fortunately, all the students have managed to find housing this year, but we believe that the challenges related to housing will continue”, she says.

An increased focus on internationalisation has led to UiA offering around 300 courses in English in 2022. Several faculties also offer entire degrees in English.