My name is Ryan and I’m studying Bachelor of Creative Industries at USC, majoring in music. I am currently in Norway at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) studying ceramics in their Clay, Art and Design course. I had originally only decided to stay one semester, however, I enjoyed the first semester so much I have decided to stay for a full year.
When I first enrolled at USC I was a little hesitant, as the program would take three years to complete and I wasn’t too keen on being tied down on the coast for that long. As both my brother and sister had studied at USC and received opportunities to study overseas, I was excited by this idea and took it as an opportunity to look forward to.
When I was looking at countries and partner universities to go and study abroad, my choice was limited as there were few universities offering creative/arts courses that I was interested in. I found a Blues music course at this university in Norway and was immediately drawn to it. I enrolled for a semester, but received information saying it was only possible to study the Blues for one year. I had grown attached to the idea of Norway and found a ceramic course which I then enrolled in.
From the very start I have loved living and studying in Norway. I have developed strong friendships with other students here and I have had the most amazing experiences. Other exchange students and I have been on trips, exploring Norwegian towns and vast terrains of forests and mountains. We were involved in a weekend Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Oslo, and not to mention, went on small trips to other countries in Europe (which is my favourite thing about being over here – the possibility to easily travel and explore new countries and cultures on our time off). These are just a few of my treasured memories.
If I was to compare studying at USN to USC I would say it has been a very different experience. Firstly, the campus here is very small with only a couple thousand students which may be responsible for the strong community feeling the university holds. There are so many extra-curricular activities and sports to be involved in, and many facilities spaces for students to congregate, relax and be social. And for me, a huge factor for my appreciation is the music building/studio which I spend a great deal of time in.
My tip to anyone else thinking about studying abroad is definitely do it. In the weeks and months leading up to it, I was reconsidering, because we have it good back at home and it’s easy to stay in your comfort zone with friends and family and familiarity. However, taking a leap out into the world and putting yourself in an unfamiliar environment takes courage, and you will learn things about yourself (and the world). If you confront every situation with a positive attitude and an open mind, I can almost guarantee you’ll have a great time!
– Ryan Tracey