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"If you feel you want to study abroad, just do it!"

Global Development Studies is a great programme for everyone, no matter what you want to do for the rest of your life.

Neea Karsikas

Bachelor in Global Development Studies

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Neea Karsikas and I am 20 years old. I came from Hämeenlinna located in southern Finland, about 100 km north of Helsinki. I took a gap year after high school before enrolling at UiA. 

I used to practice judo in Finland before coming to Norway. Now I am playing handball at KSI, Kristiansand Studentidrettslag (student sports club). Handball is not a big sport in Finland, but I feel it is nice to try a new team sport here since it looks popular in Norway. 

Why did you choose Norway?

There were so many reasons! First, I wanted to study in a country with a high quality education and I didn’t want to pay a huge tuition fee. I also had a good impression of Norway - this is such a cool country! I did a road trip last summer from Finland through Sweden to Lofoten. That was one of my favorite trips so far. Norwegian culture is similar to Finnish culture, so I thought it would be easier for me to adapt it. 

When looking at universities, what stood out about UiA?

There were only two places, Oslo and Kristiansand, where I could apply for development studies taught in English in Norway. I thought it would be better for me to study in a smaller city because student life might be better and cozier. I read some reviews from other international students at UiA, and these were pretty good too. I also considered the closeness between teachers and students. Since UiA is a compact university, I figured it would be easier to reach out to teachers.  

What were your first impressions upon arrival?

I immediately fell in love with Kristiansand because of the environment here. The wooden houses in the city are beautiful and very Scandinavian looking. Kristiansand is not big, which makes it feel like home. And the architecture of UiA's buildings is so modern and cool: I was so excited when I first stepped in the first building. The weather was so warm for the first two weeks, I felt like I was still on a summer vacation. 

What do you think about your course in particular?

Before coming here, I didn’t have a full picture of what I was going to learn. But I was positively surprised and found it very interesting. The more I learn, the more interested I become. There are many dimensions of issues that I had never thought about.  

What do you like about Kristiansand and why?

Kristiansand is very home like, compact and surrounded by beautiful nature. Norway is, however, a very expensive country compared to Finland. 

What was one thing you discovered about Norway that was unexpected?

There are so many Tesla cars here! When I drove from Oslo to Kristiansand, I was surprised to see so many Teslas on the road. There are more electric cars in Norway than in Finland. 

What would you like to share about UiA to your home country?

If you feel you want to study abroad, just do it! I think UiA is a perfect place to study. Kristiansand is a cozy city and people are very welcoming. Global Development Studies is a great programme for everyone, no matter what you want to do for the rest of your life. There are so many important things one learns in this study programme. 

Do you think UiA has given you any unique opportunities?

The fact that I could come to Norway during the pandemic was a unique opportunity. Luckily, I didn’t need to be in quarantine when I arrived in the city since the situation in Finland was quite good. Having the possibility to experience living abroad and getting to know a new culture is something I would have never got if I didn’t decide to come here.