Fewer students abroad

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Close to 15 750 degree students from Norway were studying in higher education abroad in autumn 2016, nearly 1 000 fewer than the year before.


The United Kingdom and Denmark have attracted the most students from Norway for a number of years, but both countries were facing the largest decreases from 2015 to 2016.


During the period 2007-2014, the number of degree students from Norway studying abroad gradually increased.

In 2015 and 2016, fewer students were studying abroad. In 2007, there were 11 200 degree students abroad, and this number increased steadily to the peak year 2014 when 16 900 students were registered abroad.

Norway has long had a large share of national students enrolled abroad compared with other OECD countries.

In Education at a Glance 2016, 7 per cent of all students in higher education in Norway were enrolled abroad in the academic year 2013/14. In Iceland, 14 per cent of the national students were enrolled abroad. Sweden (4 per cent), Finland (3 per cent) and Denmark (2 per cent) all had considerably smaller shares abroad.

As an average for EU countries, 3 per cent of national students in higher education were enrolled abroad, and less than 2 per cent among OECD countries.

United Kingdom and Denmark attract the most students
In 2016, most international degree students from Norway were enrolled in higher education in the United Kingdom.

Close to 30 per cent – or 4 450 students – were studying in the United Kingdom. The second most popular destination was Denmark, hosting 2 400 degree students from Norway.

The United Kingdom and Denmark have been the two most popular study destinations since 2006, but both countries have faced the largest decreases from 2015 to 2016 – 17 per cent less in Denmark and 10 per cent less in the United Kingdom.

Australia attracted around 3 000 degree students from Norway every year in the early 2000s, and was the most popular study destination during the period 2001-2003.

In 2016, only 700 students from Norway were studying for their degree in Australia – the lowest number in more than 20 years.

Studying abroad has long traditions, and decisions on whether or where to study abroad are often complex. Students base their decisions on several factors.

The language spoken, tuition fees, financial support to students, quality of programmes, tuition fees, financial support to students, quality of programmes, currency fluctuations and risk may all influence the variation in choice of country over the years.

Ireland and Hungary are most popular among women
Women have outnumbered men among degree students abroad for many years. During the last 20 years, about 6 out of 10 students abroad were women.

The proportion of female students abroad directly corresponds to the proportion of female students in higher education in Norway.

Among the five countries hosting more than 1 000 degree students from Norway in 2016, close to 70 per cent of the students in Hungary were women.

For all countries hosting students from Norway, as many as 74 per cent of the 84 students in Ireland were women. The lowest female proportion has for several years been in Canada, but this increased from 43 per cent in 2014 to 59 per cent in 2016.

3 out of 10 students abroad study health-related programmes
Students abroad choose different fields of education to students in Norway.
Among degree students abroad in 2016, three out of ten were enrolled in health, welfare and sport. Another 20 per cent of the students abroad were participating in social sciences and law, and in business and administration.

Education programmes abroad that are not easily accessible in Norway – such as medicine, veterinary, dentist and psychology – attract students from Norway. The growing number of programmes taught in English in Eastern European countries has attracted students from Norway pursuing a degree in medicine, veterinary and dental studies.

Degree students abroad in business and administration are mainly in Nordic countries and English speaking countries.


Source: SSB / Norway Today



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