At the University of Oslo (UiO) in Norway, most people live in student villages which are located all around the city. These students villages are set up in a way that more closely resembles Unilodge than halls of residence at ANU. In Oslo, there is no opportunity to live on campus, like I do at ANU, but the public transport in Oslo is so good that this isn’t an inconvenience.
I live in one of the largest student villages in Oslo, Kringsjå Student Village. The student villages in Oslo are comprised of many, many buildings. At Kringsjå there is a supermarket (called Kiwi), and gym (SiO Althetica) and two kindergartens. There is also a café next to the gym which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These student villages are open to all students studying at any university in Oslo, not just those studying at the University of Oslo.
I live in a six share apartment. I have a single furnished room with a private bathroom. My building was renovated in 2015 so it is quite modern. It is more expensive to have your own bathroom, but I love the convenience of it (my friends who have to share bathrooms are quite jealous!). It is possible to choose the option where you share a bathroom with the other people in your apartment if you wish to save money. I share a kitchen (which has a dishwasher!) with the other people in my apartment and there is a public toilet that visitors can use as well. Unlike Unilodge, there is no living room or TV. My room is quite spacious even though I only have a single bed. It came furnished with a bed, desk, wardrobe and a bookshelf. I did have to buy bedding, pillows, towels and kitchen equipment which I bought off an ANU student who had lived at Kringsjå the semester before me. I did also make a trip to Ikea for other bits and pieces that I needed. In the first 2 weeks of semester, there are buses organised by the university that take you from Kringsjå to Ikea and back so that you can buy anything you need. The whole apartment is really well heated, it’s Norway after all! My bathroom was clean and modern. The bathroom also has under tile heating (its honestly the greatest!) which is really good for winter in Oslo when it can get really cold.
My rent is 5190 NOK a month. This is approximately $210 a week; about half the cost of my college accommodation at ANU. However, food is astronomically expensive (I wish I was kidding). This means that the money I save on accommodation costs goes to my weekly food budget. Shopping at the supermarket Kiwi is really convenient but if you are prepared to go into downtown Oslo to smaller family run supermarkets, the food there is cheaper. The downside to these smaller supermarkets is that they don’t have a lot of cold or frozen products.
At Kringsjå, the laundries are not located in the buildings but in separate building dotted around the village. One of the laundries is located 20 metres from my building. Its 22.50 NOK to wash and 10.00 NOK for the dryer. Thus it is approximately $5.30 AUD to wash and dry.
Kringsjå is located in the north of Oslo. The metro (T-Bane) station is a 4 minute walk from my building, or 2 minutes if you run, which makes it really convenient to catch the metro. This metro line takes you straight down to central Oslo and you don’t have to switch metro lines. This line also stops at Blindern (UiO main campus) and at Nationaltheatret which is where the Law campus is in central Oslo. The downside is that the metro only comes once very 12 minutes and when you are returning home from the city, there is only the one line that goes all the way to Kringsjå. It is approximately 15 minutes on the metro to the main UiO campus at Blindern and approximately 20 minutes to the Law campus. The metro is really reliable and is always on time.
Just 5 minutes walk from Kringsjå is the lake Sognsvann. This is popular among locals and visitors alike, especially on Sunday when all the shops and supermarkets are closed. It’s a beautiful walk around the lake and there are many hiking trials as well. It is a great place to enjoy the Norwegian nature right in your backyard. This makes it easy to have an active lifestyle, like the Norwegians.
Applying for accommodation is really easy. The student accommodation in Oslo is managed by SiO, the Foundation for Student Life in Oslo, which is affiliated with the university. To apply for accommodation you make an account online with SiO and you put in 6 accommodation preferences, a few personal details and you click submit. On the website it has all the accommodation options and information about each one. Exchange students are offered guaranteed accommodation for one of their preferences, but the application has to be submitted by a specific deadline. This deadline can be found on the UiO website under the information/checklist for international students. The application can be submitted before the deadline, and I recommend submitting your application early. The system works on a first come first served basis, as when you submit your application it is placed in the queue of submitted applications. The earlier you submit your application, the more likely you are to get your top preference.
More pictures of my accommodation: