Farewell dinner: Saturday night Zhi-Ke Zhang og Rui Song cooked a traditional Chinese meal for Borghild Roald, as a thank you for letting them stay at her place while in Norway.

Forced to live with professor

Short term exchange students don’t have the same housing guarantee as regular international students. Due to shortage in student flats, two Chinese short-term students are now living at the home of a professor.

Publisert Sist oppdatert

– I would have preferred to live in one of the student villages. That way I would have been more around Norwegian students my own age, Rui Song says.

Song has, together with fellow student Zhi-Ke Zhang, been living in the home of professor Borghild Roald since arriving in Norway October 4th. The two Chinese students study medicine and haven't been following normal lectures. They have therefore had little contact with Norwegian students. .

No guarantee

The University of Oslo (UiO) guarantees international students housing in Oslo. The Foundation for Student Life in Oslo (SiO) is responsible for the distribution of student flats, provided that the students have paid the semester fee and applied for a flat before a given date. This, however, does not apply for the short-term exchange students. Due to the strict observance of application dates and a two months term of notice students who are only staying in Oslo for a short time have no way of meeting SiO's requirements.

– There are some exceptions to the housing guarantee. International students on short-term exchange programs is one of these exceptions, manager of SiO's student housing, Tom Olstad.

Short-term students are connected directly to the academic departments and it is these departments that are responsible for finding a housing for the students.

– UiO has to take responsibility

One of the solutions resorted to is to do as Borghild Roald: Let the students stay in the home of a professor. The private market can be quite costly.

Margrethe Gustavsen from the student politic fraction Leftist Alliance, claims it be wrong to place responsibility on the individual professor.

– It's dangerous to depend on the good will of the individual. UiO has to change this.

There have been great debate concerning the housing guarantee for international students and the Welfare Council (VT) has encouraged UiO to think outside of the box for a long time.

– UiO has to initiate new solutions to the housing situation. They have to take responsibility, Mari Berdal Djupvik, leader of the Welfare Council, says.

– Unacceptable

UiO has the disposal of 85 bedsits earmarked visiting academics. Short-term students can stay at these if some are available. This autumn none of them are.

– This is unacceptable. We can't be expected to find accommodation for visitors just because UiO doesn’t have enough bedsits, Julia Ferkis, manager of Department for Internationalization at the Faculty of Medicine, says.

Project manager for Focus on International Research,Suzanne-Ann Stämpfli, wants better routines and more planning.

– Even though they are passionate about the exchange program, the academic departments don’t always think very practical. Housing needs to be planned in advance, and the departments are often late with this.

Have to greet vistiors better

With no better options available, Professor placed a part of her own apartment at the exchange student’s disposal. She is passionate about internationalization and was therefore willing to do this. The students have their own entrance, bathroom and kitchen.

– International office does a good job, but there is room for improvement. If internationalization is to be important we have to greet the visiting student better, Roald Says.

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