We are able to experience being colleagues with the lecturers, which makes learning easy. We sit together, talk and express ideas.
Alhassan Yakubu Alhassan
Student (MSc Global Development and Planning)
Alhassan Yakubu Alhassan from Ghana is concerned with environment and development. Studies at UiA provide him with knowledge and understanding of what he can do in his own country. He really enjoys the student environment.
Alhassan has worked at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana as a research assistant. At UiA, he studies MSc Global Development and Planning - Specialisation in Development Management at the Faculty of Social Sciences.
There are 33 000 students at KNUST. There are several universities in Ghana, and most of the students attend public universities, as the private ones are too expensive for most.
“Why are you interested in environmental studies?”
“Because I want to learn how we can better take care of natural resources, and the study is relevant to developing countries. We look at problems in other countries, so that we can understand and meet the challenges in our own. I want to be a lecturer and believe the education I am getting here will bring me further,” says Alhassan.
“Why did you choose UiA?”
“UiA has good grants,” the Ghanaian answers dryly. But the economy is not the only thing attractive feature.
“The education at UiA is different. We are able to experience being colleagues with the lecturers, which makes learning easy. We sit together, talk and express ideas. The lecturers help you find what you’re looking for. At my university, all the lecturers believe they are above the students. They don’t meet us at our level, like they do here,” says Alhassan.
It is also interesting that a lot at UiA is so flexible.
“You can have internet, it is easy getting to lectures, not to mention the option to retake an exam. That is not easy back in Ghana. The problem here is that living expenses are so high,” he says.
Alhassan feels the students at UiA have been welcoming.
“I was still in Ghana when I learned where I’d be staying and who would meet me at the airport. ESN and Østsia makes everything enjoyable. At Østsia, I can be with friends and get to know other people. It is easy, because I like to talk.”
There are also planned trips and excursions on your own time.
“I have been to Hirtshals several times to shop and have fun. It is cheap in Denmark and on the boat, and the ticket isn’t too expensive either. We have been 20 students together, both Norwegian and internationals,” he tells us.
“Apart from studies – what experiences are you left with?”
“I have learned to collaborate with people with different backgrounds, and have realized it isn’t always as easy as I think. And that critical thinking is needed in every situation.”
“Norway is a nice country, but the language is a challenge,” Alhassan feels.
“We have information in Norwegian from the tax authorities, the police, and Kristiansand county. I started a Norwegian course, but had to drop out eventually due to a heavy workload. I can continue. And it takes time to get used to the climate.”
“What do you think about Norwegian culture? What are the biggest differences between Norwegian and Ghanaian culture?”
“Compared to Norway, I think Ghana asks a lot of unnecessary questions for political attention. They talk a lot about politics, but nothing about development. Norwegian culture values individuality, as opposed to Ghanaian, which values social relations and community. Everyone in Norway are occupied with their own things. That was difficult at first, but now I am used to it.”
“And people are very helpful here,” Alhassan Yakubu Alhassan from Ghana rounds off.
Text and Photo: Anne Falch Skaran