Norwegian students are turning away from studies in Germany and China, preferring the US, Australia and Great Britain instead. That means they’re going against the advice of their government, which stresses that it’s important for Norwegians to study in the world’s emerging and growing markets.
Last year the number of Norwegians studying abroad rose. Almost the entire increase was among students who are taking bachelor’s and master’s programs at foreign universities. The number who took only part of their higher education abroad remains the same.
The number of Norwegians studying in the US, Australia, Great Britain and Tanzania grew last year, according to figures from Statens lånekasse for utdanning, the government student loan agency. There’s been a decline in students going to Germany, China, India and Singapore, reports newspaper Aftenposten.
Fewer Norwegians are studying in Germany, even though Germany has been targeted as a country for increased student exchanges. Germans constitute the third-largest group of foreign students in Norway.
“The government has emphasized the importance of taking education in countries which are important to Norway, and which have growing markets for Norwegian products,” says the president of the Association of Norwegian Students Abroad (ANSA), Kristoffer Moldekleiv. “Things seem to be developing in the opposite direction.”
He thinks more students will choose China if grants covering the costs of the first year of a bachelor’s degree in China are re-introduced.
ANSA thinks language difficulties are the main reason why fewer Norwegians study in Germany and China, and the organization wants more to be done to make it easier to study there.
It has been public policy to get more students to go to the US and also to China. “However, we also want more people to study in Germany and France, where the numbers are falling,” says information chief, Hanne Alver Krum, at the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU).
When asked what the probable causes of declining numbers going to Germany might be, she answers that Germany does not seem to have been trendy enough. “Many Germans come here, but I don’t think Norwegian students know what they might find in Germany. In addition, there has been a decline in the teaching of French and German in Norwegian schools,” says Krum.
A total of 7,129 Norwegians took part of their higher education abroad last year. This is 80 more than in the previous year. In all 12,959 took a degree programs abroad, nearly a thousand more than the year before.