I have been asked many times how I ended up studying a Master’s in Microsystem and Nanotechnology in Norway. In truth, Norway was not the primary choice for studying abroad. But I was always captivated by Europe though. Therefore, countries like Germany, Austria, Sweden occupied the preferred spots on my list. It would seem very dramatic when I say one ‘tv series’ influenced me to change the decision. I am not here to brand any fictional drama. But I do not want to deny the influence either. Probably as you have already guessed the TV series was “Vikings”.
After watching Vikings, I had started to read Norse mythology. Soon after I discovered myself surfing the internet acquiring information on Norway’s geography, nature, people, culture, and history. In doing so I came to know that Norway offers cost-free education for international students. I had a fundamental course on Nanotechnology at bachelor. Which motivated me to study further on this field. Without any hesitation, I searched for a master program on nanotechnology, compared the study cost with other countries, reviewed prospects and above all considered my passion to study the program. All in combined helped me to settle with Norway.
Several universities in Norway are currently offering the master program in microsystem and nanotech. For example, Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU) is offering a 5 years Master program. I, however, applied at the University of South-Eastern Norway for a two years long study program. And eventually offered with admission.
Normally Norwegian universities accept the application from international students between October to December each year. The deadline for application submission may vary for each university.
Getting admission in Norway
The process of being accepted as a student in Norwegian universities starts with choosing a program that is right for the applicant. This is very important as a professional career after graduation depends on choosing a perfect industry-related education program. Because of free education and a high standard of life, many students across the world apply for admission. Therefore, sometimes it is difficult to get admission to the desired program in a reputable university. Many English language programs are available. Hence there are options to choose from. The application procedure in Norway is provided with detailed information. More can be found at ‘study in Norway’ portal. A motivated student can apply by himself if he/she follows the instructions properly. Therefore, it is not necessary to authorize a third party to process the application. Among the basic documents, all universities commonly require a letter of motivation, recommendation letter and portfolio. Previous academic records (for master programs, minimum C or higher in bachelor degree is required) must be submitted along with the English proficiency test certificate (usually IELTS 6+ score required) if the program is taught in English. In some specific cases, universities may require some additional documents. It is the applicant’s responsibility to check specific admission requirements. In Norway, application, and admissions are reviewed by the universities and the program manager responsible for the particular department. Most applications are submitted through an online application system. And each university has its online documents submission system. Normally decisions are made before June each year as most of the program starts in August. Upon acceptance, an applicant should apply for the visa as soon as possible. Acquiring a visa may take up to sixty days for students coming out of EU countries.
My first week in Norway
To be honest my very first impression of Norway was not exactly what I had expected. The day I had landed in Norway was a gloomy misty day. With a greenish astonishingly beautiful landscape Norway is one of a kind. I, however, prefer to start my days with a bright sun. In my opinion, a sunny day reveals the true beauty of Norway’s nature. On the contrary, if you are living in Norway, it is required to get used to with melancholic weather. So, did I.
My university and the place I am living are just 10 minutes’ walk to the beach. And when I look through the window out at the horizon, I see a rail of mountains. That gives me an impression of whether it is a sunny day or not Norway is a beautiful country. And if you fancy snowfall wait till the winter arrives.
I came to Norway seven days before my class had started. And I utilized that time to explore the area I am living in. I went to nearby places, travelled across the fjord, met new people. One of the best ways to learn a country’s heritage is to visit its museum. Luckily, there are many small and big museums around. However, Norway is a very expensive country. Consequently, everything you buy will cost more than what you have expected before coming to this country.
Norwegians are very helpful if approached with queries. At the same time, they respect personal space. In my opinion, most of the Norwegians will appreciate if you share the same interests as theirs. For example, if you like swimming or playing football, schedule those activities with Norwegians. That is how you will get to know them better. Otherwise, you will find most of your Norwegian neighbours are not coming out of their room very often! A tip!!!! Go out, socialize during weekend parties and skol!!!
Work and study
An international student like myself gets approval to work 20 hours during a week. But finding a job in Norway is sometimes difficult especially if it is not a big city. In the big cities like Oslo, Bergen, Tromso and others finding a part-time job are easier. The availability of jobs in small cities is less therefore I have seen my friends, juniors having hard times finding a part-time work including myself. However, there are available part-time works, but they mostly require speaking Norwegian. Therefore, as a job seeker, you must be very persistent. Language is an important requirement to secure a full-time job even after graduation. Norwegians are very good English speaker, but they prefer who can speak the native tongue. To stay in this country for a long period one should master the language. In many cases, this makes life much easier. In my opinion possessing skills might help to find work even if you are not speaking Norwegian. Norway is heaven for freelancers and IT professionals. There are plenty of jobs in IT. And having skills in coding creates a wide range of opportunity.
Study program and prospects
The Master’s program in Microsystem and Nanotechnology at USN is unique and practically oriented for engineers having a bachelor’s degree in electronics, materials science, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, mathematics, modelling and processing. The curriculum is structured with extensive lab work focused to train students with research and development of microelectromechanical system-based technology (MEMS). After graduation, the program opens up the possibility to work in semiconductor companies, micro and nano-based technology, academia, research institution and companies that are responsible for the production and development of microelectronics. Opportunities are open to working in product development, manufacturing technology, production management, quality management. A business-minded student can capitalize the learning to work with business development, marketing and technical sales, project management and technical consultation of MEMS & BioMEMS devices.
As this study field is practically related to R&D, therefore it is opening up a lot of PhD positions around the world. Even at my university (USN), PhD positions are called open very frequently. Preferably a foundation is appreciated in microsystem and nanotechnology to be offered with doctoral degree studies. Therefore, the master’s program is designed in such a way that after graduation a student can apply for a doctoral position in Norway or anywhere in the world. However, the doctoral degree requires a very promising academic record. This is a very interesting course but requires extensive hard work. Although it seems auspicious, in reality, the job market is narrow and highly competitive. So, think before committing to the course and research more on the prospects after graduation.
Norway is a country of astound beauty. However, it will test the mental and physical strength in every aspect of life. For me, winter has been very hard even though I like snowfall. The weather is unpredictable. But as the Norwegians say, “there is no bad weather it is just bad clothing”. And that taught me to find joy in small things even if the surroundings are not in favour. I wish good luck to everyone decided to move to Norway. Have a wonderful journey in the Viking land.
Ha det bra!
This is a Research HUB original post shared by Ishrak Siddiquee. If you want to share your study abroad experience, write up your post and send to firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of yours. Similar to this post, we advise you to write in five sub-sections: (1) Getting admission, (2) First week in the new country, (3) Part time job opportunities during study, (4) Your reflection on the study program structure and courses, and (5) After graduation prospects.