At the same time that Norwegian universities and colleges opened their doors to teaching physical education, Tiril Aasen (20) had to follow teaching in China online at home in Norway – in the middle of the night.
The first year of study did not go as planned for Drill Asan (20). He is actually supposed to be on campus in China, but has had to participate in teaching from his desk at home in Santnes for the past year.
The fact that compulsory teaching starts at 02 am does not make the situation any easier.
– It’s so special, I feel like I’m living in two time zones at once. I always know what time it is here and in China.
Assen studies international relations at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, located in Suzhou, outside Shanghai. He took Mandarin lessons in high school and a folk high school and wanted to learn more about the language and culture.
– I wanted to study somewhere very different from Norway. In addition, it looks exciting to work with Norway-China relations in the future.
Never been to China
Despite planned trips in both middle school and country high school, Asen had never been to China.
– I tried to go to China many times, but without success.
While borders have long been open in many parts of the world, China maintains strict border controls. There are few airlines that travel to China and according to Assen, China does not accept international students.
For a long time she had hoped that she would be able to travel after Christmas, but when the infection spiked again in Shanghai, that became impossible. Now he says he has put aside any hope of being able to travel in the future.
– I’m disappointed. Better take it as it comes.
Shanghai has strict infection control regulations. This video shows Corona Police in action.
Digital Student Life
Lectures and seminars are not only digital. Aachen had to make friends and join student organizations online.
– It was a bit strange not meeting other students physically, but my generation has adapted much better to digital everyday life.
Assen says students have created a digital campus on social media Discord. It has its own channels for various classes, talks and student activities.
– Sports clubs have died out a bit, but some school clubs have events digitally.
The student will also have to take the “Physical” exam online. When she took her last exam, she had to sit with two cameras at different angles showing the screen and the room to show she wasn’t cheating.
The president of ANSA, the association for Norwegian students abroad, Sine Schei, says the situation for Norwegian students abroad is improving.
– I don’t think there are many people who have to stay at home and study abroad anymore. But China and New Zealand are particularly difficult to break into, he says.
Shi says there are many who have chosen China for study and exchange since the pandemic. He points out that 29 Norwegian graduate students and 14 exchange students in China received Lånekassen’s support in the 2021-2022 academic year.
This is a clear decrease from the 2017/2018 academic year, where there were around 50 degree students and over 100 transfer students. However, Xi believes that more people will apply to China in the future.
– From autumn, you will receive an additional stipend for exchange in China, NOK 2,500 per month. China is one of the countries in the government’s panorama strategy, so I have good hope that we will see more student numbers in the future.
The Panorama Strategy is the government’s strategy for 2021-2027 for research and higher education collaboration with a selection of countries outside the EU/EEA.
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